The Zune is getting three shiny new models in November, Microsoft announced yesterday, including nano-like flash-integrated 4GB and 8GB players, and an 80GB hard drive model, all priced just like corresponding iPods. They’ll sport new features like wireless syncing, touch-sensitive navigation pads and a redesigned, DRM-free marketplace. But they probably don’t have enough to take serious market share from Apple, analysts told CNET.
The problem is that Zune’s features only match the iPod’s. Apple’s latest players have Wi-Fi, once Zune’s differentiator, and touch screens to top Zune’s touch pads. Microsoft’s store, meanwhile, doesn’t have videos like iTunes. But it might gain ground by ditching DRM, a major about-face for Microsoft. The company claims the brand is growing: “It’s starting to mean something to people."