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Microsoft Corp.’s Zune HD portable digital media player is among the gadgets to get this fall. The device promises to feature not only rich multimedia capabilities and advanced music services, but also support for high-definition video, audio and games. It appears, that the device is only a little more than a month away.

Microsoft Zune HD will be launched officially on the 15th of September, 2009, according to Microsoft’s own billboards from Best Buy stores in the U.S. Initially there will be two versions of the player: with 16GB and 32GB of flash memory priced at $220 and $290, respectively, according to the information accidentally published by Amazon online store.

Microsoft indicated that Zune HD will use flash memory instead of hard disk drive. In addition, Zune HD will be equipped with OLED multi-touch screen with 3.3" diagonal and 480x272 resolution. Thanks to Nvidia Tegra system-on-chip, the Zune HD will have rather rich multimedia capabilities due to integrated GeForce 6-class graphics core and other advanced technologies. It is yet unclear whether the new Zune HD supports 802.11n Wi-Fi or relies on older-generation 802.11g.

The main feature that will distinguish Zune from its competitors, such as Apple iPod Touch, will be HD radio, which provides high-quality music experience. By contrast, Apple iPod does not support any radio at all. Another important feature of Zune HD is gradual integration of Xbox Live and Zune store services into one. For example, the device will be able to output video in 1280x720 resolution (720p) to HDTVs, something, for what relatively high processing power is required and which Nvidia Tegra provides.

Nvidia Tegra 600-series SoCs feature ARM11 central processing unit core, GeForce graphics core with programmable pixel shader and programmable vertex shader support, build-in low-power DDR memory controller, NAND flash memory controller, high-definition video processor that supports MPEG 4, H.264, VC-1/WMV9 decoding, H.264 and MPEG4 encoding and features some other capabilities. Besides, Tegra 600 and Tegra 650 support two displays, 12MPixel camera sensor, USB, Parallel ATA a variety of display outputs, including HDMI, as well as other necessary interfaces.

Tags: Microsoft, Zune

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