The MicroPod, aka Zune.

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http://theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=33204
MICROSOFT HAS confirmed to Billboard what The INQ has been reporting over the last few weeks - the volePod is finally official.

Chris Stephenson, Microsoft's GM of marketing for MSN Entertainment Business, says the company will later this year launch Zune, an umbrella brand for "a family of hardware and software products". Interestingly the Zune service and device will not be PlaysForSure compliant, meaning that Creative, Philips, Napster, et al, will probably be feeling very miffed by Microsoft's new initiative. PlaysForSure will continue to be supported and developed, but there will be no cross-over with the existing devices and providers.

As reported previously, the wireless features of the Zune device will feature predominately in Microsoft's marketing spiel. "The ability to connect the different devices is a key part of the strategy," Stephenson says. "Whether it's a portable media device, or a phone, or the Xbox or Media Center PC, the idea is you can access your entertainment from anywhere."

The initial device will utilise a hard-drive, similar to the standard offerings of Apple's iPod, and will be shown off at the end of the month with a launch date of 'around November'. Further details have leaked from other sources giving us 'Pyxis' as the codename for their nano competitor (that will also include video capabilities), and 'Alexandria' as the codename for the software that powers the Zune experience.

To begin with music will be the primary content for the Zune, but will eventually expand to include video. Sources say there currently aren't any licensing deals in place with music or video-content companys - considering the problems other providers have had negotiating with media corporations, and the promised launch date of Zune, Microsoft should be looking to start and conclude these deals very soon.

Microsoft has also launched a viral-marketing site called comingzune.com where after an odd short animation you can submit your email address for further details. The site also confirms the Zune logo above, which has been doing the round on the net for some time. If you fancy keeping up-to-date with an 'insider' blog, you can catch that here. ?
I wonder if the Zune will be an ipod killer ;O. I highly doubt it at this stage.
 

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