The evolution of the Zune media player continues. Should Apple be worried?


Tuesday, Microsoft will make available the new Zune 80, and the new flash based Zune 4 and Zune 8. The numbers signify the gigabytes of storage available. Not only is Microsoft announcing the new Zune hardware, but new software as well. Microsoft hasn’t forgotten about previous Zune owners either. They’ll be able to upgrade to the same software used by the new models, at no charge.

So what’s new? With the original Zune 30, Microsoft was saddled with Toshiba’s basic design, and functionality. With these new Zune’s they’ve been able to build them from the ground up. One of the most exciting features is a true challenger to the iPods scroll wheel interface. With the new Zune, you can flick your thumb across the touchpad, or click it. Bringing the best of both worlds. The new firmware, and Zune website will also have more polish. They are more pleasing to look at and use. When the “Zune Originals” site launches on Tuesday the 13th, you will be able to customize free of charge with choice of color, 4 lines of text, and up to 27 original illustrations from 18 artists. Finally, DRM free tracks are rumored to be offered for the same price as the DRM tracks, or .99 each. As always, the Zune includes an FM tuner, and Wi-Fi sharing.

Jason at ZuneThoughts has posted a number of videos if you want to see the new Zune in action, or even the new firmware running on an old Zune 30.