The Zune: hot cocoa-colored Mp3s coming up

So Microsoft let out some pictures this week of the new Zune player. Surely this is meant to draw some buzz away from the new iPods also launched this week with the iTunes 7 and Apple Movie Store.At first glance, this is a damn fine looking piece of hardware. Made by Toshiba for Microsoft, and running some sort of Windows Mobile 5-type of interface (more like Windows Media 11, actually). And the addition of the cocoa-chocolate color (like Verizon) shows that the Redmond behemoth is finally in step with current fashion. (Well, last year’s fashion, anyway, but still better expected).There are some weirdnesses, though: like how it has wi-fi to connect with “other Zunes” over 802.11b, but it can’t connect directly to the Internet or to the Zune Marketplace (Microsoft’s Music Store). You can only connect to the store from the desktop jukebox. This is just like iTunes, sure, but it doesn’t really flex the muscle of having wi-fi built-in.I’m looking forward to seeing if the interface and software are as smooth as the hardware looks to be. Recent experiences with Windows Mobile 5 devices have underscored the importance of the whole kielbasa when you’re trying to create a truly user-friendly device.

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