Microsoft drops new Zunes

The rumours were true: Bill Gates has unveiled his three new Zune babies bang on cue.All sitting under the Zune 2 umbrella there's the new all-black h

The rumours were true: Bill Gates has unveiled his three new Zune babies bang on cue.All sitting under the Zune 2 umbrella there's the new all-black hard disk model (far left) which grows to an iPod Classic-matching 80GB. But now it's joined by mini 4GB and 8GB flash-based players with pink, green, black and glossy red cases.That'll disappoint those who were hoping for a Nano-beating 16GB player but Microsoft has been listening to the fans elsewhere. Gone is the petty time-limit on wirelessly shared tracks – though they'll still only work for three plays before demanding payment. And now we'll also be able to use the Wi-Fi function to sync with Windows Media Player – bravo!Surprisingly they both sport the same 320x240 resolution, with the 80GB Zune stretching the screen to 3.2in (bigger than iPod Classic's, smaller than iPod Touch's) and the flash-based Zune’s to 1.8in – a shade smaller than the new Nano.Both get FM tuners and video ability but opting for the 80GB version will bag you some rather natty 'Premium Zune' earbuds rather than the standard fare.Zune Marketplace, Microsoft's version of the iTunes Music Store, has also had a revamp. It's joined the switch to DRM-free tracks with a million now available alongside its standard WMAs.All of which is just terrific, except for one small issue: there's no UK or European release date. Come on Microsoft. Watcha scared of?EssentialsMicrosoft Zune 2 4GB, 8GB, 80GBPrice: £TBA ($150, $200, $250 in US)On sale: TBA (November in US)Contact: MicrosoftRelated stories:New Zune announcements this week?Zune 2 due next month?The iPod Touch is here – and it's Wi-Fi