Let's just be nice and feign surprise, okay? Good. With that out of the way, Microsoft has announced a 64GB version of Zune HD, due out April 12th via the Zune online store (and later via other retailers) with a handful of color options and a strapping $349.99 price tag. Not to be outdone, the 16GB and 32GB will each receive a $20 cut on the MSRP, to $200 and $270, respectively -- whatever Amazon and Newegg slash beyond that is up to them. It seems "as soon as possible" is the motto for when the price drop is taking place, so if your favorite online / brick-and-mortar retailer isn't yet honoring the extra Andrew Jackson in your pocket, have patience. So now we're left with a v4.5 firmware release date as the remaining piece in this puzzle, but Microsoft promises to solve that riddle wrapped in an enigma "in the coming days." Right. Press release after the break.
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We're excited to share that Zune fans will be able to purchase a new 64GB capacity of the popular Zune HD device for $349.99 starting April 12th through ZuneOriginals.com. By increasing the Zune HD capacity to 64GB, users will be able take up to 16,000 songs, or 20 hours of high definition video from Zune Marketplace, or 25,000 pictures* on the go! Customers will be able to customize their Zune HD 64GB through ZuneOrginals.com, available in their choice of Platinum, Black, Blue, Red, Green, Purple and Magenta colors.
In addition to introducing the new 64GB capacity, we are also reducing the prices of the 16GB and 32GB devices. Starting today, price lists are being distributed to retailers, setting the Estimated Retail Price (ERP) for the Zune 16GB device at $199.99 and the Zune HD 32GB device at $269.99.
With its OLED multi-touch screen, built-in HD radio, HD video out capabilities and Internet browser, Zune HD is a full-function media player which has received accolades from press and consumers. We've also announced details of an upcoming firmware update which will add even more features to the device, such as Smart DJ auto-playlists directly on the Zune HD, ability to browse, stream and acquire music from Zune Marketplace on your TV (while the device is connected to a TV set through the A/V dock) and expanded codec support allowing users to play more video formats natively from the device.
We are excited to be offering a great range of storage capacities for the Zune HD at a competitive price point and will be sharing more news on the availability of the 4.5 firmware in the coming days.
*Music estimates based on 128 Kbps WMA files with length of 4 minutes each. Pictures transferred to Zune will be optimized for Zune screen size; video estimates based on 500 Kbps WMV files with 128 Kbps WMA audio tracks.