updated 03:15 pm EDT, Tue August 11, 2009
Flash Zunes Vanish
Microsoft dropped a hint of the imminent Zune HD launch on Tuesday by pulling all of the existing flash-based models from the official Zune store. The move just leaves the full-sized hard drive models and implies that at least the Zune 120, and possibly the now two years old Zune 80, will sit alongside the Zune HD when it goes on sale in September. No official explanation has been provided for the removal, though the Zunes show elsewhere on company pages and include links to third-party stores.
Since its official confirmation of the Zune HD's existence, Microsoft has readily admitted that the multi-touch player would replace flash models but has never provided much explanation for the rest of its line, other than to say it would continue on. Keeping the Zune 120 listed implies Microsoft is more likely to cut the price of the large-capacity player rather than upgrade its storage.
The strategy partly mimics Apple's approach last year of relegating the iPod classic to a single model and putting most of the company's weight behind its touchscreen hardware. Either is considered a logical step as the pressure to provide an Internet-focused device and support for non-media features like games and web browsing.