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Zune Moves to Cloud; To get Twitter, Facebook

With Zune HD, Microsoft is giving up on the Zune-to-Zune “proximity” sharing feature. At the same time, Microsoft’s promising to come out with Facebook and Twitter applications for the Zune HD by the end of the year, in addition to new games for the device. Games’ll include versions of “Project Gotham Racing,” “Audiosurf Tilt,” and others. Instead of launching open third-party application marketplace for Zune, Microsoft’ll create a limited number of apps itself or work closely with selected companies to bring apps to the device, said Brian Seitz. Microsoft is positioning Zune as an entertainment platform to watch video or listen to music on Zune HD, PC, or TV and seamlessly transition among them. Starting this fall, the Zune service’ll expand to nearly 20 million users of Xbox 360 LIVE. The “squirting” feature has been replaced by the ability to email a link to a song or song clip from one Zune to another over the Internet, using the built-in Wi-Fi on the device. Microsoft is pricing the Zune HD 16GB at $219.99 and 32GB at $289.99. Features of the device include a built-in HD radio, an OLED screen, and HD video output.

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