The kids over at Gizmodo are claiming to have inside information that the new Zune price will be $229. They say that three is the magic number, but in the case of trying to compete with the iPod, I’d say “$20 cheaper than an equally-spec’d iPod” is the magic number.
If this is true, I’d say this is an excellent sign. This tells me that Microsoft is playing to win. Now we understand why they delayed announcing the price more than a week ago. As much as I don’t really need another mp3 player, at $229, I’d give this a thought. If the video looks great and if the interface is intuitive — heck, I can find room in my life for another player! (But then again, I’m pretty hardcore.)
Interestingly enough, J Allard (who’s heading up the development of the Zune) was instrumental in the launch of the last two incarnations of the Xbox. This seems very much like a video game strategy in that Microsoft is willing to sell the Zune at an attractive price for the hope that they will recoup the investment on sales of Zune-DRM’d music, movies and games. (Okay, movies and games haven’t been announced for the Zune store, but you just know they’re coming.)
The key to the equation right now is, “was the Apple ‘Showtime’ announcement their last one before the holiday season”? It would be incredibly odd to announce yet another iPod considering the fact that the Sept 12 announcement was a complete refresh of the iPod line. But rumors say that they’re actually ready to ship the real “Video iPod” (not to be confused with the current “iPod with Video”). Also, I’m not sure how much Apple feels threatened by the Zune, but perhaps not announcing the Video iPod was a chance to let Microsoft show their hand and then if and only if a Zune was announced before the holiday season would they unveil the real deal? Maybe this is all smoke and mirrors and they’re still developing it?
Whatever the case, this is proof positive that competition is good. People seeking to buy not only an mp3 player, but a Personal Media Player (PMP) can now do so for less than $240. With the PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, iPod 5th Gen revision, Xbox 360 HD DVD Drive, Xbox 360 Vision Camera and now a Microsoft Zune officially announced for the holiday season, this is shaping up to be one of the most hardware driven technology holiday seasons in recent years. Two consoles launching and a serious competitor to the iPod.
It’s a great time to be a techie.
Image and story courtesy of Gizmodo.com