Toshiba will build Microsoft Zune players

Toshiba will build Microsoft's iPod rival, the Zune music player.

Microsoft confirmed Friday that Toshiba will manufacture its Zune music player, a product the company aims to take on Apple's successful iPod.

The confirmation follows reports of a regulatory filing Toshiba made to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that mentions the device and its features. The filing documents can be found here.

"Toshiba is manufacturing the device and the [FCC] report is legitimate," a spokeswoman for Microsoft's public relations firm said Friday.

She declined to say if other hardware makers also would be building Zune players, adding that Microsoft will reveal further details of Zune in the next few weeks.

In addition to the name "Zune," the device also is referred to as "Pyxis" in Toshiba's filing. A collaborative service for Zune users, something akin to Apple's iTunes software and service, is called "Argo."

The FCC filing contains photos of what Toshiba's Zune player will look like. The photos, which show a device that looks similar to Apple's original iPod, but bigger, can be seen here.

According to the Zune "user's manual" included in the filing, the Zune device will include 30G bytes of storage, wireless capabilities and an FM radio tuner.

The wireless capabilities will allow users to search for other Zune devices in range and share music, photos, playlists and other media contents with those devices.

After months of speculation, Microsoft confirmed in July that it was developing a music player and service to rival Apple's iPod and iTunes. If other attempts to unseat the iPod are any indication, Microsoft will have a tough road ahead. Earlier this week, Dell stopped selling its DJ Ditty music player on its Web site and ended development of its own line of music players.

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Elizabeth Montalbano

IDG News Service

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