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Microsoft Unveils New Zune HD

August 7, 2009 11:51 AM ET

Microsoft has released their new Zune HD, a 3.3-inch touch-screen display device that will be the company's newest combatant in its war with the dominant iPod touch. CNet has photos of the Zune HD, and the device is pretty eye-catching, with its somehow-sleeker-than-an-iPod design, metallic casing and stunning display screen. As Rock Daily previously reported, the Zune HD is hi-def for two reasons: First, it allows for listeners to access hi-def radio stations and second, it features a high definition output that allows it to transmit in 720p HD on a television.

Other new features on the Zune HD, according to CNet, include a more streamlined menu that allows users to access shuffle, repeat and favorites more conveniently, as well as an option to adjust the EQ of the music playing. There's also a new "pins" feature that serves almost like a bookmark for tracks you want to listen to. As Rock Daily noted back in May, the Zune HD will also be able to tap into Microsoft's XBox Live Marketplace.

The new Zune will also be the first product to make use of the Nvidia Tegra chip, which is essentially an entire computer's worth of functions integrated on a single chip, which boosts battery life. But the coolest new feature on the Zune HD is that when you listen to an artist on the device, regardless of where you may have acquired the song, the Zune will slideshow photos and biographical information about the band.

Considering that there were reports that the Zune was on the verge of extinction a few months ago, Microsoft's digital media device rebounds nicely from its rumored discontinuation. However, while the device will still have to compete against the iPod touch, another product is reportedly on the assembly line that challenges many of the features of the new Zune HD. According to CNet, the Samsung M1 will also carry the Nvidia Tegra chip, FM radio, Bluetooth capabilities and DivX video playback. In short, the market for a digital media player is going to be especially crowded come Christmas time.

Related Stories:
Microsoft Overhauls Zune HD, Announces Xbox Live Integration
Zune Sales Down 54 Percent: Will Microsoft Fight to Save Its Digital-Music Player?
Is the Zune About To Become Extinct?

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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