By Richard Menta 9/20/07
The folks at Microsoft took considerable effort to push the original Zune. They have the Zune portable positioned in expensive endcaps at Sears and Walmart and recently hooked up with a Hip-Hop tour to see if they could entice that audience into embracing this iPod competitor. Despite its aggressive marketing Microsoft's Zune has been a relatively flat seller. It took nearly a year after its introduction for the Zune finally hit the 1 million unit mark. True, not many portable entertainment units have sold that many units, particularly for a single model, but Microsoft spent a fortune in marketing to generate that number. The marketing has allowed Zune to achieve decent brand recognition and if the faults of the original Zune can be corrected it can mean solid sales for second generation units.
Thanks to the hype generated by new iPod line the digerati are in full rumor mode and the word is that the new Zune portables will come to light on October 16th. The new Zune will appear in both flash memory and hard drive forms, though it is unclear if that means two distinct portable units or just a single player that offers either on as an option. The flash Zune will offer 4GB and 8GB of capacity, which if true would put it behind the 16GB flash units now offered by the iPod touch, Creative Zen and SanDisk Sansa. The hard drive model will offer 80GB of capacity.
There is also word that Zune 2 will tout a navigation interface called the "squircle" that works with the Zune 2's touchscreen for easier file playback. No price ranges have been offered up for the new Zune.
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