64GB Zune HD Will Cost $350; Other Models Slashed By $20

Well hey, here's a nice little complement to the Zune's updated software: As expected, there's a new 64GB model, which is otherwise unchanged, and sells for a hefty $350. As for the 16GB and 32GB models, they're $20 cheaper now.

That brings the 16GB model down to the $200 sweet spot, and leaves the 32GB model at $270. The cuts may seem modest, but now that the software is showing signs of maturity—the last update brought Xvid support, a Smart DJ function, and TV-based Marketplace browsing, and a previous update added free 3D games—the they help keep the Zunes firmly in buyable territory, and most importantly, inline with (and in the case of the 64GB model, $50 within) what Apple charges for equivalent iPod Touches. Of course, there's a good chance a Windows Phone 7-ish Zune HD2 could render your $350 purchase obsolete this year, but hey: Maybe not? Official press below:

We're excited to share that Zune fans will be able to purchase a new 64GB version of the popular Zune HD device for $349.99 starting April 12th through ZuneOriginals.com. By increasing the Zune HD capacity to 64GB, users will be able take up to 16,000 songs, or 20 hours of high definition video from Zune Marketplace, or 25,000 pictures* on the go! Customers will be able to customize their Zune HD 64GB through ZuneOrginals.com, available in their choice of Platinum, Black, Blue, Red, Green, Purple and Magenta colors.

In addition to introducing the new 64GB capacity, we are also reducing the prices of the 16GB and 32GB devices. Starting today, new price lists are being distributed bringing the estimated retail price (ERP) for the Zune 16GB device to $199.99 and the Zune HD 32GB device to $269.99.

With its OLED multi-touch screen, built-in HD radio, HD video out capabilities and Internet browser, Zune HD is a full-function media player which has received accolades from press and consumers. We've also announced details of an upcoming firmware update which will add even more features to the device, such as Smart DJ auto-playlists capability directly on the Zune HD, ability to browse, stream and acquire music from Zune Marketplace on your TV (while the device is connected to a TV set through the A/V dock) and expanded codec support allowing users to play more video formats natively from the device.

We are excited to be offering a great range of storage capacities for the Zune HD at competitive price points and will be sharing more news on the availability of the 4.5 firmware in the coming days.