Yesterday Microsoft announced a couple of updates and upgrades to their current Zune lineup. New capacities such as a 16GB flash model and a 120GB HDD version will hit store shelves in about a week. The new firmware upgrade will allow “tagging and purchasing” songs that you hear on the player’s built-in FM radio, offer wireless access to the Marketplace store, recommend music using a newly developed engine, and works with the upcoming Zune Pass subscription. This is a fairly decent upgrade and most existing Zune customers will truly appreciate it, however I wouldn’t yet say it’s a good enough of a reason to purchase another Zune. It is still satisfying to be able to purchase songs on the go at hot-spots like you would be able to do on Mobile Phones or on the iPhone. I probably wouldn’t be using the FM tagging feature too much, but the Zune Pass sounds appealing. For a flat rate of $14.99/month you can download or stream as much music as you would like.
The Zune desktop software will also be getting some improvements with Mixview and a new Now Playing page which both offer new graphical and interactive ways to browse and view your library. And the new firmware will also bring support for a couple of games, audiobooks (supports Audible), and real ebooks through OverDrive. Most of those are great, but I wouldn’t recommend trying to read a whole book on a Zune. Anyways if you are interested in getting a new Zune, starting on September 16th, pricing will be set at $250 for a 120GB HDD model, $229 for a 80GB HDD model, $199 for a 16GB SSD model, and $149 for a 8GB SSD model. Apple is also rolling out new iPods today, so I might suggest holding off until the end of the day if you happen to be deciding between the two.