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iPod?s cheaper rival to be launched in September

Microsoft Zune HD available for pre-order

Microsoft began taking pre-orders for its new Zune HD music and video player yesterday, pricing it at almost $80 less than rival iPod devices.

The Zune HD, which is the first Zune to have a touch screen, is available at $219.99 for the 16gb version or $289.99 for 32gb. Comparable iPod Touch players are priced at around $275 and $369 respectively.

The devices are not available in stores until Septmeber 15, but are available for pre-order from a number of US websites.

The Zune HD comes in five different colours with a choice of customised engravings by guest artists. The device features a built-in HD radio receiver, WiFi and an HD video output function, which allows the user to play content from the Zune on an HDTV.

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