Thanks to our compatriots over at the Gizmodo, we have some new details on Microsoft's upcoming Zune media player, including what to expect and which details are really just fantasy. As you know by now (and if you don't, come out from underneath that rock of yours), Microsoft's Zune media player is looking to take the iPod head-on for music/video player supremacy. Unlike other competitors that are trying to go head-to-head with the same feature set as the iPod, Microsoft is taking their player in a completely different direction, trying to outmaneuver the iPod with features lacking from Apple's players.
At the top of the feature list is the Zune's ad-hoc Wi-Fi networking capabilities. Basically, this will be used in two way; you can hook up to other Zune users wirelessly and trade music, and will also allow users to listen to a sort of Internet radio. The rumored system will grab as much of a radio stream as possible while connected to a Wi-Fi access point. Once you venture out of range of the signal, hopefully the player will have enough of the stream to keep the music going for a while. Unfortunately, according to the Gizmodo report, this feature might not make the final cut.
There are some other noteworthy features; the gaming support we touched on will be there, but the Zune will by no means be a portable Xbox. More than likely we'll see a number of simple, casual games instead of the PSP/DS-style games that we've heard about. Zune will include some Xbox 360 integration, however, allowing you to hook up your Zune to an Xbox 360 and allowing it access to your Zune's music. However, the feature we previously commented on where the Zune would redownload all your iTunes Music Store music is probably not going to happen for legal reasons (like Apple slapping them with a massive lawsuit).
The Zune is only part of a wide range of Xbox-branded devices that will hit the market at some point, with a second, iPod nano-sized media player as the only other rumored device. Once again, Microsoft will be focusing on the features that the nano lacks; in this case, their mini media player (tentatively named the Pixas) will feature video playback. Only time will tell as to what Microsoft has in store for the masses, so we'll have to wait and see what they decide to bring to the table. And how long it takes Apple to top it.
NOTE: According to UrbanDictionary.com, a pixas is an "evil person who loves to rule" or "a legend, known for his cruelness." Kinda fits Microsoft well, don't ya think?