Microsoft have come clean about their Zune PMP refresh, after details of the blue 8GB flash-based version was accidentally pre-announced on Fry’s website. As expected, both the flash and HDD based Zunes will get more capacity, with a 16GB version of the former and a 120GB version of the latter.
However significant changes have also been made to the software, with the most interesting being the ability to use the PMP’s built-in WiFi to download new tracks. While the Zune had WiFi before it was added to the iPod range, Apple brought their mobile iTunes download store to users first.
The new Zune software will also make the PMPs compatible with the Audible audio-books, as well as introducing new playlist tools. Microsoft is planning “Zune Channels” of themed tracks – for instance “work out” music – that will be compiled by so-called experts. The PMPs will also be able to make track recommendations based on the current playing song.
Two games will be preloaded, Hexic and Texas Hold ’em. The 120GB HDD Zune will be priced at $249, the 16GB flash Zune at $199 and the 8GB flash Zune at $149. Microsoft has also confirmed that older versions will see price cuts until stock clears retail channels.