The Zune HD is one of the most interesting, possibly fake, products in the portable player market. Almost every week there's a different rumor swirling about the device. And yet, we still have no idea if it will ever hit store shelves. But if the latest rumors are true, the Zune HD will be the best portable music player on the market.
According to a report at Windows Mobile Power User, the Zune HD will sport a multitouch OLED screen, playback of HD media from the Zune Marketplace, TV-out with a mini-HDMI port, HD radio, and wireless sync. It will come in 16GB or 32GB flavors, offer a browser that supports multitouch, and support 3D Xbox games. Though the report makes no mention of price, it claims the device will be made available in September. And just look at that picture--it's gorgeous.
I know this all sounds fantastical. I'll be the first to admit that we need to be wary of all rumors. But for the purposes of this column, let's assume for a moment that this really is the Zune HD. Judging by those specs, wouldn't you want one?
I certainly would.
When you compare the rumored specs of the Zune HD to the iPod Touch, it's clear that they're similar on many levels. They both sport multitouch capabilities, they offer the same storage, and you can play games on either device.
Where the rumored Zune HD trumps the iPod Touch is on the extras like HD radio and wireless sync, which could become a major selling point for the device. Plus, its mini-HD port could transform the way you enjoy video through a portable music player. We also can't forget that Microsoft has teamed up with Nvidia as a featured partner on its Tegra chip, which is specifically designed for mobile devices. It supports HD video and could be the power behind the Zune HD. And if its "3D gaming" capabilities bring XNA into the mix, we could have a serious gaming device sitting in our pockets.
But the major issue with the Zune since its release has little to do with the device itself. The Zune Marketplace is, in many respects, a joke. I've used it on numerous occasions and each time I end up missing the iTunes store. But now that iTunes is DRM-free, I finally have the option to use it as my music store, port the tracks to my Zune HD, and only use the Zune Marketplace for games and video.
Meantime, I can use any device that might be better than the iPod. The Zune HD looks like just that device.
Once again, there's no way to know if the Zune HD is real. And if it is, there's no way to prove that it will feature that design or boast those specs. But if the rumors are true, I'll be the first in line for a Zune HD. Look for my iPod on eBay.