Zunes hit retail, get all artsy on us

Welcome back to the social, kiddos. Today marks the official launch of Microsoft’s second-generation Zunes, those colorful media players that are poised to take on Apple’s iPods this holiday season (not to mention SanDisk’s Sansas). As we’ve mentioned before, they’re available in 4GB and 8GB flash-based flavors, in addition to an 80GB hard drive model. And as we’ve previously mentioned, these little guys match up with Apple’s new iPod line up ounce-for-ounce in terms of storage and pricing but include a few cool features that the iPods don’t have (namely WiFi–which is only available with Apple’s more expensive iPod Touch–and the wireless syncing and sharing that comes with it).

Additionally, Microsoft has unveiled a cool program called “Zune Originals” that allows you to fully customize your Zune. Anyone who orders a Zune direct from the Zune Originals website will be allowed to customize their Zune with their choice of color, up to 4 lines of text, and one of 27 original illustrations from 18 international artists, which can be etched on the back of the unit. Best of all it’s free, at least for the time being. A quick gander reveals that most, if not all, of the illustrations are pretty cool, so this could prove to be a successful promotion if Microsoft is able to get the word out.

Finally, today also marks the day that all of the first generation Zunes get the second-generation firmware upgrade, so if you’ve got a brown Zune that’s in need of some lovin’, hit up Zune.net for the upgrade.

For more on the new Zunes:
– see Gizmodo‘s first impressions
– check out this Cool Hunting article on Zune Originals
– and see this article on the firmware upgrade

More stories about Microsoft Zune   WiFi   Sandisk   Microsoft   iPod   iPods   Apple  

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