After much speculation on prices ranging from $229 to $299, the Microsoft Zune media player has been officially announced for a November 14th release date at a price of $249.99.
This places it head to head with other 30GB media players such as Apple’s iPod. The Zune features a couple of capabilities not present on the ubiquitous iPod including an FM tuner and wi-fi music sharing capabilities. In addition, the Zune marketplace will offer both pay-per-download songs for 79 Microsoft Points each (99 cents) and a $14.99 per month “unlimited” music download option. The Zune will also come preloaded with a handful of music videos and tracks, most of which will likely be disgarded by users. (That said, I’m happy to see one of my favorite bands, Grandaddy, has made the cut.)
While these could definitely be seen as advantages over Apple’s players, it’s way too soon to know if Zune will even make a dent in the market share of other digital music players.