Zune price, launch date finally announced

Microsoft has finally unveiled the launch date and price for its upcoming Zune portable media player. The Zune will hit stores on November 14, and despite rumors of a $229.99 price tag, the device will cost $249.99 at launch. That price is $0.99 above that of the new 30GB iPod, but the Zune will have the advantage of a bigger screen (3.0" vs. 2.5",) built-in wireless connectivity, the ability to share songs with other Zune owners, and preloaded content. In total, the Zune will come preloaded with nine songs from lesser-known bands, 12 music videos, three film shorts, and "a variety of images."

Along with the Zune price and launch info, Microsoft has shed some light on the pricing scheme for the accompanying music store. The Zune Marketplace will use the same Microsoft points system as the Xbox Live Marketplace. Individual songs will cost 79 points ($0.9875) each, but users will also be able to purchase a Zune Pass subscription that grants them unlimited "access" to the music archive for $14.99 a month.

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