New Zune software and players available today

Microsoft Zune

Today is the day that Microsoft launches its new Zune players and its Zune software.

Prices for the wew Zunes starts at USD$129.99 for the 4GB Flash player and go up to USD$149.99 for the 8GB (in new blue shade) and USD$199.00 for the 16GB models. The HDD-based 80GB model will sell for USD$229.99 and the 120GB model for USD$249.99. If you want to get either the 4GB or 80GB models, you’d better move quickly as Microsoft has discontinued them.

The new Zunes also come with some new features, including Buy from FM which will let customers identify songs played on FM radio stations and buy them directly from their Zune via Wi-Fi. They also support streaming and downloading music from the Zune Marketplace store via Wi-Fi, and personalized music recommendations and programming. The new Zune firmware also adds two free games (Hexic and Texas Hold ‘Em) and support for audiobooks. It is also available for existing Zune players as a download.

The Zune 3.0 software also comes with new features, including Channels (dynamic playlists generated from radio stations, magazines, and your taste in music), Mixview (a mosaic of connections your selection has to other albums, artists, and listeners) and personalized Marketplace picks based on your own tastes.

Microsoft also announced a new partnership with U.S. McDonald’s restaurants to offer Zune users free, wireless access to the Zune Marketplace.

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