08:39 AM

'Underwhelming' Zune will be on shelves for holidays

By Richard Koman for SiliconValleyWatcher

Microsoft confirmed plans to deliver its iPod-knockoff Zune music player for the holiday season, Red Herring reported.

What's cool: Wi-Fi capability, a built-in FM receiver, a screen that tilts for letterbox-like viewing, and an all-you-can-eat option.

What not: A control that appears to copy iPod's early controls, a brown option, a 30GB hard drive, and according to analyst Shawn Wu, it's a retread of the Toshiba Gigabeat.

Microsoft Zune appears underwhelming. Microsoft had hinted of an all-new design from the ground up, but from our analysis, it appears that the Zune is essentially a repackaged Toshiba Gigabeat that has seen limited success.

The other Apple-like aspect is a music store called Zune Marketplace, but really, why not just call it iZunes? I do like the all-you-can-eat Zune Pass option, which, according to Red Herring, offers "unlimited downloads for a flat feet." [sic] (Not that we are typo-free here at SVW, but that's a cute one.)