Those little hints we came across over the past few days and weeks weren't false. In its press release announcing the availability of the new Zune HD, Microsoft has revealed that downloadable apps and 3D games are on the way for the device.
Here's the dirt in the company's own words:
Later this year, Zune plans to release free applications such as Twitter for Zune and Facebook for Zune, in addition to fun 3-D games such as "Project Gotham Racing: Ferrari Edition," "Vans Sk8: Pool Service," and "Audiosurf Tilt." Games can be added to Zune HD via Zune Marketplace over the Wi-Fi connection or when connected to the Zune PC software.
Project Gotham Racing: Ferrari Edition must be the racing title we saw in that promotional video on Monday. In any case, it looks like Microsoft plans to take the iPod touch head-on.
In related news, Microsoft says version 4.0 of the Zune software for Windows is now out. The folks at Neowin have posted a little walkthrough of the new features, which include Smart DJ (think Microsoft's version of the iTunes Genius functionality), a new always-on-top "Mini mode," and integration with Windows 7's Aero Peek and jump lists.
The new software is available from this page for Windows 7, Vista, or XP in 32-bit and 64-bit versions.