Zune is a digital media brand owned by Microsoft which includes a line of portable media players, a digital media player software for Windows machines, a music subscription service known as a 'Zune pass', music and video streaming for the Xbox 360 via the Zune Software, music, tv and movie sales, and the backing software for Windows Phone 7.
Microsoft announced new versions of Zune once in a year prior to 2010. On March 2011, Bloomberg.com published an article claiming that Microsoft would stop introducing new versions of the Zune music and video player. The article has been widely quoted over the internet and by news agencies. However a Microsoft representative for Zune business development denied this rumor saying that the Windows Phone 7 platform introduction should be considered to be the annual Zune update for 2010.
The first Zune model, the Zune 30, was released in the United States on November 14, 2006, featuring a capacity of 30 gigabytes, FM radio, and a 3 inch screen. The Zune 30 was initially available in black, brown or white. Retail packages contained a pair of basic headphones, a carrying case, USB cord, and a software CD.
The Zune 80 was announced on October 2, 2007, along with the smaller Zune 4 and Zune 8 to compete with Apple's iPod nano line. These were to be known as the second generation of Zune devices. The Zune 80 featured a 3.2 inch screen, while the Zune 4 and 8 come with an 1.8 inch screen. Both come with a new touchpad-style input device ("squircle", as fans called it) and new software. Additional file support for H.264 and MPEG-4 formats was also included, whereas the older Zune 30 requires these formats to be transcoded to WMV prior to sync. The ability to sync wirelessly (automatically if connected to a power supply), podcast support, and an upgraded song-sharing licensing are now available on all models. The new software also allows a Zune device to communicate with other Zune devices to share pictures and songs. A free firmware update added the new software features to the original Zune 30, and was released on November 13, 2007. The Zune 80 came bundled with a USB connection cord and premium headphones. The Zune 4 and 8 come with a USB connection cord and basic headphones.
The Zune 30, the original Zune music player, has a 30 GB hard drive, 3 inch screen, and a simple directional pad for menu navigation. The second generation of Zune devices includes the Zune 4, 8, and 80 and. The Zune 4, and 8 are smaller in size and have 4 GB, and 8 GB of flash memory, respectively. The 80 GB Zune acts as a replacement for the Zune 30: it is thinner and lighter than the original. All second generation Zunes have a Zune Pad instead of the original directional pad that was included on the Zune 30. Microsoft released an upgrade for all Zune models, including the Zune 30, to the second generation software/firmware.
On May 26, 2009 Microsoft announced the Zune HD, the first touch screen Zune. The Zune HD has HD Radio and the ability to display video in High Definition through a docking station (sold separately). The screen is multi-touch enabled and uses gestures such as swiping and pinching throughout the player. The device comes with 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB of flash memory. The screen is OLED, 3.3 inches, and has a 480x272 16:9 resolution. Also included are WiFi, a custom Internet Explorer browser, and an accelerometer.