In the war of the Personal Media Players Apple is king. Not always because they have the best product, but in terms of sheer marketing and market position. As of this writing Apple holds something like 89% of the PMP market; this is combined market share that includes all of the iPod products as well as the iPhone. Any company wanting to get into this market cannot afford to simply have a good player. They have to bring an amazing player, the product has to do things that the iPod just cannot do.
Enter Microsoft; in the beginning Microsoft sought to complete head to head with Apple. They released the Zune, which was a good player. It equaled the iPod [at the time] but it carried the stigma of being not only a copycat product but also one from Microsoft. This hurt sales right out of the gate and Microsoft’s horrible marketing did the rest of the job. In the end the Zune was a failure in terms of sales and market share. Now a few years later Microsoft is getting back into the game. This time they did their homework and pulled out all the stops [well almost all]. The enlisted the help of graphics and media giant NVIDIA and built something new and impressive, the ZuneHD. We have had one of these along with the AV Dock in our lab for a week or two and put it through its paces. But we did not simply try it out in the lab; we took it out and showed it to people to get their reaction and opinion. How did the Zune HD fair? Read on to find out.
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