Microsoft confirms Zune details

Amid a host of leaks, company spills the beans on its new music players, which are due out next week.

Updated 10:20 a.m., with pricing details.

The new Zune showed up a bit early on Fry's Web site. Pictured here is the 8GB blue-on-silver version. Fry's Electronics

With most of its news already leaked out there, Microsoft on Monday confirmed the details of its fall Zune lineup.

On the hardware side, Microsoft will beef up Zune's capacity, expanding the hard drive-based model to 120GB and the flash-based player to 16GB.

More significant are the software and service improvements. Most notably, as is the case with the iPod Touch, Zune owners will now be able to use the device's built-in Wi-Fi to download songs.

Also new, the updated Zune will make recommendations based on the songs someone is listening to and there will also be new Zune "channels" programmed by experts and along themes like "work-out" music.

Zune will also come with two games--Hexic and Texas Hold 'em--and adds support for audio books in the Audible format.

Of course, this all comes a day ahead of an Apple event , at which the market leader is expected to announce changes to its iPod line .

In any case, I'm going to get a firsthand look at the Zune line later Monday and talk strategy with some Microsoft executives. So I should have more to say on the Zune front in short order.

Update: As for pricing, Microsoft plans to charge $249 for the 120GB model, $199 for the 16GB model and $149 for the 8GB flash model. It also plans to chop prices on some of the remaining older devices in the channel.

 

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