Just as I presumed, Microsoft will do away with the flash-based Zunes that are currently being sold.
It’s disappointing, but pretty logical I guess. The Zune probably hasn’t been making much of a profit in that division, so they’re banking all their resources on the upcoming Zune HD, and not bothering with the other Zune device for awhile, by ‘discontinuing’ them. I’m guessing that if the Zune HD is actually successful as Microsoft hopes it to be, then the non-touch Zunes will pop back up with a hardware refresh and Zunes of all types will exist again.
However, if the Zune HD does awful, then I have a feeling Microsoft isn’t going to bother with Zune anymore. They’ll disband it, and say sorry to people that invested in it, and move on. I really hope not though.
Why should the non-touch flash Zunes still exist? Because:
- Not everyone needs a touchscreen player – I know some guys that like the tactile feel of the dpad/Zune Squircle on their device, and touchscreens on devices often cost higher. Also, they may worry if the screen gets damaged, they might not be able to use their Zune
- People want higher storage capacities – The Zune HD capped at 32GB maximum is not enough for them. They need more. Now personally, I don’t see any point in dropping your whole media library in one device just for the sake of ‘convenience’, but that’s what some guys evidently want. A Zune HD with 120GB will be hard to make with the capacitive screens, and it’s going to cost so much more.
- Microsoft needs a PMP for the lower end of the market – There will be many people that can’t afford something as nice and juicy as the Zune HD, so the Zune 4 and Zune 8 are good matches for them. They’ll probably splurge on Zune accessories when they scrounge up enough cash, and maybe consider buying Zune content on Marketplace. The thing is, instead of buying the generic (and awful) iPod Shuffle and Nano, they’ll have a greater choice if the Zune 4 and 8 are around.
Those are the main reasons, and I think Microsoft should have a presence in all the major areas of the PMP market. Dropping everything to the Zune HD makes me worried how successful this will be.
Do you use a Zune? What do you think of Microsoft discontinuing the non-touch flash players?