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Take that, Bono: Microsoft will let you pimp your Zune

A day before its revamped Zune media players are unveiled, Microsoft announces that users will be able to customize them with a whole slew of artist-designed laser-etchings--for free.

Artist Catalina Estrada's laser-etched creation on a new red Zune

Like most news about Microsoft's oddly-named media player, it was leaked well in advance. But now it's official: consumers buying the new Zune devices, which are set to be released on Tuesday, will be able to customize them with laser-engraved text and select artwork.

Now that explains the tag line "you make it you."

Called "Zune Originals," the new Zunes will feature a selection of artwork by 18 artists and design studios: Colletivo Studios, Catalina Estrada, Laurent Fetis, Sam Flores, Klaus Haapaniemi, Pierre Marie, Kenzo Minami, Parskid, Mike Perry, Phunk Studios, Chisato Shinya, Skwak, Iosefatu Sua, Tado, Nobumasa Takahashi, Ramiro Torres, Darvin Vida, and Steve Wilson. 27 total designs will be offered.

In addition, creative Zune buyers can add up to three lines of text (or five lines in place of a design), or a selection of 20 "tattoos" that are independent of the "Artist Series." This will all be offered free of charge.

The Zunes, as previously announced, are going to be available in 4GB ($149.99), 8GB ($199.99), and 80GB ($249.99) versions.

Existing Zune owners will receive a free upgrade to the player's new firmware, which includes revamped search functions and a drag-and-drop organization interface.