It's no stretch to say that the Zune HD is one of the more highly anticipated gadgets in recent memory. Microsoft's new media device has a lot of hype to live up to, but so far Redmond has left us with more questions than answers as to its capabilities.
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Thankfully, the good folks at CNET have found a way to pry some answers out of Microsoft's hide. Ina Fried, their reporter at the D conference, just got a hold of a real, working Zune HD. And he made a video about it. I'm going to clamp down on my intense jealousy for a moment to bring you a summary of what the video shows us.
-The Zune HD's OLED screen is absolutely gorgeous. Everything looks crystal clear and all of the colors are incredibly vivid.
-The HD's user interface looks very similar to previous Zune's, but with a touch screen. Much like the iPod Touch, this new Zune has a rotating screen.
-We still don't know much about the HD's Internet browser, but we do know that is supposed to be based off of Internet Explorer 6.
-The opening menu contains music, videos, pictures, radio, marketplace, social, and podcasts sections (that we can see). The 'marketplace' could very well be referring to the Xbox LIVE market. It is speculated that the HD will be able to download and play several games over LIVE.
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It definitely looks like Microsoft is on the right track with this new Zune. It looks great, navigation appears simple and intuitive, and the UI looks very responsive. Of course, all of its lovely cosmetic features will be useless if the Zune HD can't bring something new to the media player market. Either the Zune's gaming roll-out, or its social features had better be fantastic if Microsoft wants to really compete against the iPod Touch.