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|New Zune models, including an 80GB version and one with a Flash-based memory, are expected to be released in time for the holiday shopping season
Microsoft hasn't divulged detailed plans for the next release of its Zune music player, but a company executive last week offered hints that seem to support reports that a flash memory-based Zune and an 80GB device could be in the works.
It hasn't been a matter of if Microsoft plans to expand its Zune product line beyond the several 30GB players it has on the market, it's been a matter of when. At its annual financial analyst meeting last week, Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices Division, said Microsoft plans to "broaden" the Zune brand with new styles, capacity sizes, and price points as well as new features, though he did not reveal the timing of releases or exact product specifications.
Matt Rosoff, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, said Microsoft is definitely working on a flash memory-based Zune and models with higher capacity than the current 30GB version, but the company has not yet discussed specific details of the forthcoming Zune models.
He also confirmed that Microsoft hopes to get the new Zunes to the market in time for the busy Christmas shopping season, which typically begins in late November. "They're cranking to get them out in time for the holidays," Rosoff said.
In the meantime, several device-centric blogs, including Zune Scene, Whiz Byte, Gadgetell, and others reported that an 80GB Zune code-named Scorpio and a flash memory-based Zune code-named Draco are currently in the works.
Zune Scene also has reported a production snag that could delay the release of the Scorpio device. According to a post on the blog late last week, the production schedule of Scorpio has been delayed due to problems with wiring. The blog also said that production on Scorpio was expected to be completed on Aug. 31 but has now been pushed back to September.