Monday, September 20

Zune HD, the latest multimedia player from Microsoft | Digital Trends Spanish

Until a little over a decade ago, the consumption of multimedia in portable format was not as it is today. Before mobile phones were standardized as we know them today, there were devices specifically designed for listening to music or watching videos. And one of them was released on a day like today in 2009: the Zune HD.

The Zune family was another of the many efforts that Microsoft has made in the hardware world, with unspectacular results. The Zune HD, in particular, was quite a capable device and the first of the brand to include a 3.3-inch OLED-like touchscreen, completely expanding the capabilities of the Zune to date.

The Zune HD was basically the way Microsoft wanted to compete with the iPod Touch, developing a series of applications and video games that went beyond playing music or videos.

The Zune HD allowed, for example, to surf the Internet using a factory-included browser, install applications through the so-called Zune Marketplace and it could even connect to a television and play content through a video output.

Internally, the Zune HD was a very powerful device for its time, thanks to a Tegra APX 2600 processor, which at that time was more than enough and even allowed the existence of some titles such as Project Gotham Racing: Ferrari Edition or a special version of the classic Doom.

Microsoft released the Zune HD with relatively competitive prices for the time. The 16GB version was the smallest and debuted for $ 220 in the United States, while the 32GB version had an introductory price of $ 290. However, both versions received some criticism for reducing the storage size of the predecessor Zune, whose storage options reached up to 120 GB.

For this reason, Microsoft would release a new edition of the Zune HD with 64GB of storage a few months later (in April 2010) for $ 350. But despite this, the Zune’s destiny as a brand seemed to be written before the Zune HD existed.

Two years after the launch of the Zune HD, the company announced that it would stop manufacturing all devices in the Zune family. In 2009, the market share was 2 percent in the United States and the device was never sold outside its borders, with the sole exception of Canada.

The problem with the Zunes is that they weren’t bad devices. Microsoft created the Zune as a way to compete with Apple in the world of iTunes and iPods, but it was never really able to do so because its products were always late. The Zune HD was perfectly able to go head-to-head with the iPod Touch in terms of capabilities, but it hit the market in a world that already knew the iPhone and had already seen a small preview of the future.

Once all the Zune (Zune HD included) were discontinued, Microsoft prepared what would be its next step in the mobile world: the Windows Phone and the Lumia phones. And we all know how that story ended.

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