The old Microsoft rule is that it takes three tries for the company to really nail a product. It looks true to form with the upcoming Zune HD, the third and apparently best version of the company’s underdog digital music player.
Microsoft is clearly excited about the device, which it has been showing off for months at semi-private events.
Details are also leaking out from retailers. The device will go on sale Sept. 15, according to display material that Gizmodo received.
Amazon.com helped its cross-lake neighbor promote the upcoming gadget by disclosing prices early, briefly listing a black 16 gigabyte model for $220 and a platinum 32 gig model for $290, according to PC World.
The prices undercut the equivalent iPod Touch models targeted by the HD, which includes a touchscreen, Wi-Fi, a browser and high-def video (720p) that’s output via HDMI.
The HD feels good — it has a solid, machined metal feel and a great interface — but it’s also much lighter and more pocketable than its hard-drive-based predecessors.
Of course its success will probably depend in part on whether Apple lowers Touch prices and comes up with cool new iPods this fall, if it’s not too focused on the rumored iPhone Nano and Web tablet.