So the Zune HD has been announced. I’m sure the Zune fans are very excited by the news, but gosh, you’d think they could have made it look a little less like the Apple product…

And yes, I will admit that I have an iphone (I’ve mentioned it before), but I’ve had a lot of mp3 players in my time. I remember my Rio Karma. It was a great player except for the fact that you had to smack it every few days in order to get the hard drive to spin up and it took FOREVER to transfer your music to the thing. Simple lcd display and joystick control, but it fit the hand, and I liked it. I replaced it with a series of iRiver players. I like iRivers. Very nice file management, most of them play off files, and they’re nice to look at, but iRiver has stepped away from large capacity players and only supports a player for… about an hour before dropping a new one on the market.

When I finally broke down and bought an iPod, it was for the very simple reason that it had a large enough hard drive and was cheaper than the other options (Cowen, etc). I actually never liked the click-wheel interface, but it worked as advertised and was easy to rip and transfer music to with iTunes. I upgraded to the iphone so that I only had to carry one device around (though I gave up storage space which means I have to manage playlists (ugh)… I would LOVE a 60gb iphone, but a hard drive is a battery drainer).

The built-in HD radio in the new Zune is a neat feature, but I can’t imagine it being enough to convince me or others to start carrying a second device again. Going against the iPod Touch, I expect a lot will depend upon whether they’ve gotten IE mobile to be a decent browser experience. Mobile Safari is a tough act to follow (though I suppose if the Zune had… you know… flash support, that would probably go a long way). I’m not sure I can be made to care about the HD (720p) output capabilities of the Zune HD. They are marketing as the perfect integration with the Xbox 360, and if I already had an xbox 360, why would I be playing files on my TV from the Zune?!? That’s just another set of cables to manage, thank you very much.

In any case, I’m open to surprises, so maybe this third iteration of the Zune will just be super fantabulous. I guess we’ll find out in the fall.