Microsoft's Zune HD Coming in September

Microsoft has begun taking orders for its next-gen model of Zune, its MP3 player set to hit shelves in Mid-September in North America and parts of Asia and Europe. Zune HD will include output capabilities for 720p.

Zune HD, both in 16GB black and 32GB platinum (with MSRPs of about $220 and $290, respectively) is the first Zune model to feature a touch-screen interface (similar to the Apple iPhone) and offers another "HD" option, albeit not of the video kind: a built-in HD Radio receiver.

Along with 720p HD video options, the new Zune will also provide a Wi-Fi antenna and an Internet browser using an Nvidia Tegra chip.

Previous versions of Zune have not exactly set the world on fire. Sales of earlier generations (and similar non-video game Microsoft products) dropped by more than 40 percent in the past year, thanks almost entirely to the dominant positions enjoyed by various models of the iPhone and iPod from Apple.

But so far, reviews of Zune HD's capabilities at various tech Web sites have ranged from generally positive to enthusiastic.