Gates and Allard on hand to launch latest version of iPod competitor

Microsoft unveils new Zunes

Microsoft has taken the wraps off its second generation of Zune players with high hopes at the Redmond-based firm that the new models will be able to put a significant dent in sales of Apple’s iPod.

The new models, which come in 80GB Hard-Drive and 8GB and 4GB Flash-based models, are priced between $249.99 and $149.99. The 80GB will only be available in Black, while the flash based models will be available in pink, green, black and glossy red.

The new models come with a redesigned ‘squircle’ interface and have wireless sync, allowing users to automatically update their Zunes over their home networks whenever they plug it in its dock or wall to recharge.

"Twenty years ago we bet the company on an integrated productivity suite of word processing, spreadsheets and presentations, and we changed the way people work," Bill Gates said.

"Today we’re making big bets on games, music, video and connecting these entertainment experiences to help change the way people play."

The devices will hit shelves in the US later this month, with a European date still to be announced.

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