Microsoft just announced their international roll-out of the Zune music and entertainment service to more than 20 countries this fall. Seeing as the Zune marketplace and software is at the core of Windows Phone 7, this announcement is not too surprising, but it is welcomed nonetheless.
Beginning this fall (we bet October), Microsoft will make the Zune services available in U.K., France, Italy, Germany and Spain and 15 other European countries (part of that EFIGS list, no doubt). In addition, we'll see the new Zune software bumped to v4.7 which will add the Windows Phone 7 device support (goodbye ActiveSync!).
The Zune marketplace allows syncing of music, videos, podcasts (audio and video), pictures, games/applications and will now includes the ability to watch HD movies:
The updated Zune software will also enable instant streaming of high-definition movies, allowing you to watch some Zune Marketplace movies in HD, with no download time, directly on a Windows PC.
Consumers will now be able to purchase movies to download and watch anywhere — on the big screen in the living room with Xbox LIVE or their Windows-based PC as well as sync it to their Windows Phone 7 to enjoy on the go.
Huzzah! We like this a lot.
Prices in the U.S. will remain the same at $14.99/month for the Zune Pass (not required), which gives unlimited music downloads and the ability to "keep" 10 MP3s a month. (So much for that price reduction rumor).
No word on Mac support, but we're assuming Microsoft will do something about that in the future as well--after all, large updates to our new phones are reliant on desktop-syncing (with small updates available OTA).
What can we say? We love the Zune marketplace, Zune Pass and the ability for '3 screen' support of all our music, podcasts, pictures and now HD movies and TV. We can't wait till this all comes together in a few weeks...you?
Read the full presser after the break.