64GB Zune HD announced launching April 12th for $350

Ever since the launch of the Zune HD people have been asking for a 64GB version of the player, today Microsoft is finally announcing it for $350:

We’re excited to share that Zune fans will be able to purchase a new 64GB capacity of the popular Zune HD device for $349.99 starting April 12th through ZuneOriginals.com. By increasing the Zune HD capacity to 64GB, users will be able take up to 16,000 songs, or 20 hours of high definition video from Zune Marketplace, or 25,000 pictures* on the go! Customers will be able to customize their Zune HD 64GB through ZuneOrginals.com, available in their choice of Platinum, Black, Blue, Red, Green, Purple and Magenta colors.

In addition to introducing the new 64GB capacity, we are also reducing the prices of the 16GB and 32GB devices. Starting today, price lists are being distributed to retailers, setting the Estimated Retail Price (ERP) for the Zune 16GB device at $199.99 and the Zune HD 32GB device at $269.99.

With its OLED multi-touch screen, built-in HD radio, HD video out capabilities and Internet browser, Zune HD is a full-function media player which has received accolades from press and consumers. We’ve also announced details of an upcoming firmware update which will add even more features to the device, such as Smart DJ auto-playlists directly on the Zune HD, ability to browse, stream and acquire music from Zune Marketplace on your TV (while the device is connected to a TV set through the A/V dock) and expanded codec support allowing users to play more video formats natively from the device.

We are excited to be offering a great range of storage capacities for the Zune HD at a competitive price point and will be sharing more news on the availability of the 4.5 firmware in the coming days.

*Music estimates based on 128 Kbps WMA files with length of 4 minutes each. Pictures transferred to Zune will be optimized for Zune screen size; video estimates based on 500 Kbps WMV files with 128 Kbps WMA audio tracks.

The only unknown now is what is exactly going to happen to the Zune HD ounce the Windows Phone 7 Series handsets launch later this year? Remember that applications build for WP7 won’t be compatible with the Zune HD  players. Thankfully the release of the upcoming 4.5 firmware update tells us that Microsoft is still support the player…for the time being.

Firefox Mobile (Fennec) for Android leaked


An early build of the Android version of Firefox Mobile (Fennec) has been leaked 2 days ago. In true Fennec fashion the whole thing is slow, crashes and might not even work on you Android handset. Remember that this is an early unofficial build and lets hope that the thing improves in the coming months unlike the Windows Mobile version (it remained un-usable even after several release until Mozilla decided to ditch the whole thing..meh).

Source: Android Forums & XDA

Windows Phone 7 Series advertising campaign

Mary Jo Foley is reporting some relativily interesting info about Microsoft’s futur Natal, Office, Windows Phone ad campaigns which should start in the coming months. When asked about Windows Phone 7, David Webster ( chief strategy officer in Microsoft’s central marketing group ) said that the product planning teams and the marketing teams have been working side by side “to devise the “story telling” for that product from the very start”.

Microsoft wants the new phone ads to attract customers who may never have used (or didn’t realize they were using) a Windows Mobile phone. “The ‘people’ focus was a big part of the (Windows 7) branding” and will be a continued emphasis for Windows Phone 7, Webster said.

The messaging “needs to reflect customers we have and customers we don’t,” he said. It also needs to explain why Microsoft is opting for a different phone model with elements like hubs and Live Tiles, instead of the app-centric approach of its competitors, Webster said. Windows Phone 7 also is the perfect vehicle for Microsoft to highlight the interdependence and convergence of different Microsoft brands and technologies, since Windows Phone 7 devices will be running Bing, Office Mobile, Zune services, Internet Explorer, and Windows Live, Webster pointed out.

Smartphones are a lot like search, Webster said, in that users, when asked, say they are mostly satisfied with their phones but then actually have a litany of complaints (like they don’t like having to come in and out of six different apps to perform a particular task). Other phone vendors are locked into certain models and messages, he said. “They’re solving for a problem from four years ago,” he said. Microsoft has the advantage of being able to come in with a new model and message because it is basically starting over with Windows Phone 7.

I’ve never been a big fan of Microsoft’s advertising camaings (onther that XBOX related ones) especially the latest Windows Phone ads… The latest WP7 promo ad launched at MIX is a good start though…

Windows Phone 7 Series Developer Training Kit

The official Windows Phone 7 Series Developer Training kit is now online over at Microsoft’s Channel9 site.

This Training Kit will give you a jumpstart into the new Windows Phone world by providing you with a step-by-step explanation of the tools to use and some key concepts for programming Windows Phones.
This training kit is geared for beginners who want to get started with developing applications for the latest Windows Phone operating system. Even if you don’t know Silverlight or XNA Framework, you’ll find this Training Kit useful. More seasoned Silverlight developers should also find this kit useful, as it explains some of the differences between Silverlight and Silverlight for the phone.

Head over here to begin your WP7 development journey.