Ars Technica Interview with Zune's Brian Seitz
"Microsoft last night announced (officially) the Zune HD, even though the device won't be available for several months. While the product itself looks nice, it's the "platform" behind it that is finally coming to fruition and may be Microsoft's best chance at capturing a bigger slice of those home entertainment dollars. We spoke with Brian Seitz, the group marketing manager for Zune, about the new product and Microsoft's larger strategic ambitions. Here's everything you need to know..."
Brian Seitz fills in a few of the blanks that we've been wondering about. First, the connector on the Zune HD is the same as other Zunes, so that means all those Zune accessories out there right now will work. Excellent news! That's what I was hoping Microsoft would do, but you never know sometimes with these big corporations. The Web browser is based on IE6, but unlike the browser in Windows Mobile 6.5 (which it has to be related to), it probably won't have Flash support - but Seitz says it's possible. They're still working on the software it seems - which isn't surprising given the Fall release date.
There's a confirmation that there's no email client - which doesn't surprise me. This isn't a PDA, this is an entertainment device. That will disappoint those of you who were hoping for a device that competes with the iPod Touch on every level - the Zune HD doesn't have the software to do that. However, with a decent Web browser, Web-based email should work pretty well.
Will there be an app store? Probably, but it looks like it will be based off the Windows Mobile application store - meaning it will be down the road, and not driven by the Zune team. Still no word on storage capacity, but those people expecting a 64 GB Zune are going to be dissappointed I think - if Apple is charging $399 USD for 32 GB of Flash storage, and we know they get the best Flash storage prices in the world, you've got to figure that a 64 GB Zund HD would cost $499 or higher. There's not a big enough market to justify a device that expensive, so I doubt we'll see a 64 GB Zune. My hope is that the Zune HD will undercut the iPod Touch by at least $50 and still deliver 32 GB of storage. We'll see...