Microsoft refreshes Zune with 4, 8, and 80 GB models

Posted by Mark Raby

Redmond (WA) - Microsoft officially announced details of its new Zune devices late last night after a whirlwind of rumors about the portable media player.

The big announcement, and the most faithful successor to the original Zune, is a sleeker, higher-capacity model that stores 80 GB of content, as well as a bigger screen.

Additionally, Microsoft announced new flash memory Zunes that ring in at 4 GB and 8 GB.  It is Microsoft's first move to bring segmentation to its portable media device, much like Apple has done with its many different layers of iPods.

The original Zune carried 30 GB of storage and like the new models, included a built-in FM tuner.  The new devices also contain Wi-Fi compatibility to allow wireless PC syncing.

The 4 GB and 8 GB flash players will retail for around $150 and $200, respectively.  The 80 GB one is set to be priced at around $250.  The 30 GB model will stay, receiving the title "Zune 30".  It currently sells for around $200.  Microsoft has not said what its price will be after the new models launch.

All of the new models will be available in mid-November, pretty much one year to the date after the original Zune first hit store shelves.