A flurry of Zune-related fan art has coursed across the tech blogs this week, most of it aimed at predicting the form and function of a Zune “HD”–an alleged full-screen Zune that Microsoft may release later this year. Today the movement got its most convincing rendering of the device courtesy of WMPowerUser, and now Engadget is being told by sources that the art is legit.
The Zune HD, as seen in renderings that Gizmodo says were commissioned by Microsoft, will have integration with XBox Live gaming, built-in HDMI, and HD radio. Storage would likely be between 8 and 32 GB, if it’s to be on par with iPods in the $250 to $400 range.
Although the form-factor is drool worthy, the real test will come in the Zune HD’s interface. That will need to be re-designed from the ground up as a touch-based UI with serious graphical rendering horsepower if the device is to truly compete. Whether or not Redmond’s Zune operation has enough scale to build this thing right, and build it cheaply, remains to be seen.