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Zune interface details revealed

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Somebody or other has been spending some time with Microsoft's Zune, and have spilled the deets to iLounge. It sounds like the general target in most aspects was iPod design and functionality, but there are plenty of departures, some hotter than others. The basic menu navigation is the standard heirarchal method popularized by the iPod, but with white text on black and fewer design elements. There are a few flashy elements, however, like a gradient highlight bar that fades in and out, and the option for user-customizable wallpaper. Scrolling is enhanced by a WM5-style overlay (pictured) that lets you know what letter you're at on the list, but that wheel is only for looks: it's a mere four-way button which allows you to push up and down to scroll. With that notable blow to any hopes of ripping off the iPod wholesale, the Zune goes on to outsize the 30GB iPod, and its all plastic casing doesn't sound as glam either. Some plusses are a snazzy FM interface and sizable album art, but of course the Zune's killer app is WiFi. iLounge says that you'll be allowed to "loan" songs to other users for a day, which they can proceed to buy from the Zune music store, and you'll also be able to stream music to a WiFi-enabled Xbox 360, but we're not sure if a hard drive will be required to pull it off. At a purported $300 pricetag, we can't tell if the Zune will have what it takes to challenge the iPod -- iLounge, naturally, has their doubts -- but from the writeup it does seem like the Zune will have at least one heavily bandied feature: video.

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