Vamshidhar Kommineni

October 7, 2006

Zune release on Nov. 14

Filed under: Microsoft — Vamshi @ 6:29 pm

Lot’s more details since my last Zune post. Release date is Nov. 14. Pricing is as follows (from Engadget):

  • Device: $249.99
  • Songs: 79 Microsoft points (80 points = $1)
  • Zune pass (subscription music): $14.99
  • Zune Home A/V Pack ($100 – dock, remote, AV cables, extra battery, sync cable, adapter)
  • Zune Travel Pack ($100 – Dual Connect remote, premium headphones, bag, cable, and adapter)
  • Zune Car Pack ($80 – FM tuner, car charger)
  • AV cable ($20)
  • AC adapter ($30)
  • sync cable ($20)
  • car charger ($24)
  • dock (with AV output, but no AV cable for $40)
  • wireless remote (for control of zune dock, $30)
  • Dual Connect remote (for inline control and splitting the audio out for two people, $30)
  • Zune FM Transmitter (with autoseek, which finds the optimal station, $70)
  • gear bag ($30)
  • … and premium earphones (sound isolating canalphones for $40)

Nothing too surprising.

I wish they had matched Yahoo’s prices for the subscription model (Yahoo charges $9.99 per month when billed annually or $11.99 when billed months). But the real challenge with the model will be getting the collection of music and the user experience correct (Yahoo’s music client is a major impediment to their service).

The accessories are a bit pricey (the three packs together cost more than the player) given that Zune is the challenger in this market. I guess time will tell how it does.

Another interesting thing is the use of MS points a la XBox, instead of real $. I guess they didn’t need to re-invent the micro-payment model the XBox team came up with, and it makes giving and receiving gift certificates that much easier for both entertainment devices (a number of retail and online stores already have points cards for sale, and points are tied to your Live ID account rather than something XBox specific, so it would be easy to share across devices).

Definitely getting one of these before Christmas this year as well. I’ll try to put up a review once I’ve had a chance to play with it.

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