Hot on the heels of Apple’s iPod announcements, Microsoft has officially taken the wraps off of their Zune media player. As expected, the player can handle both audio and video playback on a 3″ LCD screen that can work in either portrait or landscape mode. The player can handle media in h.264, MP3, AAC and WMA formats. AAC is a surprise for sure, but I doubt we’ll see an ability to playback iTunes DRM’ed music without a hack.
As we reported previously, the initial models will come with a 30GB hard drive, built-in wi-fi, an FM tuner and the ability to stream tunes to other Zune players. In addition, the player will ship in three colors: black, white and a rather odd chocolate brown.
More has been revealed regarding their music store, to be known as “Zune Marketplace.” You’ll be able to buy individual tracks (ala iTunes) or purchase a “Zune Pass” for an unlimited download subscription (ala Napster). The exact details of the DRM policies haven’t yet been revealed.
Pricing and release date haven’t yet been set, but with the new iPods running $249 for 30GB, I’d assume Microsoft will try to match that price rather than charge a rumored $299.
As a side note, Microsoft’s viral marketing site, Comingzune.com has been updated today, but is still as cryptic as ever.