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Zune HD is a sellout, but is it better than an iPod Touch?

Early indications tell us that the Zune HD has been selling out at Amazon, BestBuy and Newegg. Is it actually a more desirable device than the iPod Touch or is this just an initial flurry of fan purchases?

I’m not going to review the two devices here, as plenty technical articles have already been written about how the Zune HD has both the design and quality playback edge over the iPod Touch. From a pure stored media reproduction perspective the Zune HD seems to be the superior PMP with slicker hardware and cooler software.

But consumers now expect more than just media playback, and this is where the iPod Touch fights back. Yes the Zune HD has a browser, but Safari on the Touch is better. The Touch also offers an email client and YouTube playback. The Touch might not have got it’s camera yet, but let’s not forget it is a gaming platform.

This flexibility, rooted in the App Store, ultimately makes the iPod Touch a stronger platform than the Zune HD. The Zune HD does have a selection of applications available, but its ad-based revenue model makes little sense in the face of ad-free 99 cent apps for the Touch.

Ironically the largest thorn in the side of the Zune HD’s third party app growth may be Windows Mobile. It makes every bit of sense for the Windows Mobile and Zune platforms to merge, just like the iPhone and iPod touch share the same OS. But right now Windows Mobile and Zune feel too far apart, which may ultimately harm third party app growth on both platforms.

As I said prior to the Zune HD’s release, the device brings technical superiority, but the iPod Touch is probably a more fun and flexible platform even without the camera we were hoping for. Ultimately the buying decision depends upon what you want to do with your device, but it’s now a harder decision than ever.

Neil Berman


Sep 20, 2009 - Posted by | Analysis, Apple, Audio, Microsoft, Mobile | ,

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