This past week, Microsoft launched the Zune HD, which won’t become available until the fall. In the meantime, a few sites (Engadget, Gizmodo) have had a chance to see the device in action. I’m not sure if these are prototype devices or actual production units, but the software seems well-polished. On the other hand, fall is quite a whiles away, so you’d imagine Microsoft wants that time to fix up some things.
Gizmodo posted this ‘hands on’ of the Zune HD. Unfortunately, the video camera seems to be focused on the carpet instead of the device, but you get the idea.
All the animations and transitions are oh so smooth. There’s no lag when accessing the different functions. The photo album flips to landscape mode without hesitation and extremely smoothly, which is more than can be said for the iPhone. There’s buzz that NVIDIA’s Tegra may be behind all this action, which could presumably allow some Xbox-level games to the played on the device. The most surprising aspect of the iPhone/iPod Touch has probably been its uptake by casual gamers, and I’m sure Microsoft has that on its radar. NVIDIA’s Tegra may also be why the device won’t be ready until the fall, as production of the Tegra isn’t supposed to start until this summer.
On another note, WMPoweruser.com had rumoured Zune HD specifications and a 3D render from a month and a half ago. Back then, most other sites rejected them as ‘fanboy specs‘, but now that the real deal has been launched, the available specifications as well as the render were spot on. That makes me think whoever leaked the specs knew what was going on. With that in mind, the only major feature from the rumoured specification, not yet made public by Microsoft, would be the 3D Xbox games, although even the rumour isn’t sure what form that would take.
Whatever the case, with the E71 having replaced the iPhone in my day-to-day use, I would definitely consider an upgrade from my Zune 8GB for portable music purposes.
Oh, I sure hope they give these to the interns in the fall!