Second Generation MS Zune Review

by Michael Kwan on January 9, 2009

Canadian Launch Details

MS Zune

Canadians can expect to get the first shipment of the second-generation Microsoft Zune — in all three capacities (4GB, 8GB, and 80GB) some time in Spring 2008. Microsoft has yet to set a firm launch date nor have they indicated what the Canadian pricing will be. Given the relative parity with the US dollar, I’d imagine that Canadian pricing for the Zune will be pretty similar. Spring is pretty much here, so the Zune should be arriving at stores like Future Shop and Best Buy pretty soon.

They do not plan on having a huge launch party for the Zune, largely because the Canadian release does not represent a worldwide reveal. The Zune 4GB, 8GB, and 80GB are all available in the United States already, so it’s not like it’s a new product. Instead of introducing the product with a bang, Microsoft says that they want to firmly establish themselves as a legitimate alternative to the iPod and they plan on fighting it out over the long haul. In their own words, they’re approaching the Canadian launch of the Zune as a marathon, rather than as a sprint.

Strangely, the Canadian launch of the Zune player will not be accompanied by the Canadian launch of the Zune Marketplace. They say that consumers will need to look elsewhere for their content, but Microsoft plans on making an official partnership with a provider — possibly Rhapsody — for this purpose in the interim. The Canadian version of the Zune Marketplace will arrive eventually though.

When the Marketplace does launch, Canadians can choose to either purchase their music a la carte, including DRM-free MP3 files, or they can opt for the $14.99 monthly subscription which grants users access to the entire library for however long they maintain the subscription.

Even though the Zune Marketplace won’t be there at launch, the social aspects of the Zune will be there. Users will be able to create online profiles, not unlike Facebook and MySpace, and share their listening habits and personality with other Zune users.

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