Following earlier news
from Microsoft concerning its upcoming all-in-one portable Zune 30 gigabyte media player, the company today announced that the device will ship to retail on November 14, and carry an MSRP of $249.99, a price identical to Apple's 30 gigabyte iPod.
As earlier reported, the device will come equipped with wireless functionality for file sharing between Zune devices, a three-inch LCD video screen that works in portrait or landscape mode to view pictures and videos, and a built-in FM Transmitter. In addition, Microsoft notes that the device will be available in three colors: black, brown and white.
Today's announcement again made no mention of long-rumored games functionality, instead focusing on the devices' media capabilities and the Zune Marketplace, where users will be able to browse and purchase individual songs, or download music in bulk. Zune users will be able to purchase a Zune Pass subscription for $14.99 per month, which will allow for the download of any songs from the available online library. Users will also be able to purchase individual songs by using Microsoft Points (each track will cost 79 Points), in a manner identical to and with the same universal currency popularized by Microsoft's Xbox Live Marketplace.
While the company did not go into specifics, it did allude to a single reservoir of Microsoft Points per user being used at a variety of stores, a concept that would seem to lend credence to the idea of the Zune line of products playing a key role in Microsoft's Live Anywhere solution
, which was first announced last May at E3.
"On Nov. 14 we're delivering not only a device, but a shared, social experience that will be shaped by the collective imagination of consumers," said Chris Stephenson, general manager of global marketing for Zune. "We're infusing the spirit of discovery and sharing into everything we do – from the experience we crafted around the device and service to pre-loading music and videos on every device to expose people to something new."