Microsoft’s Zune media player may not be making any
noticeable impact on Apple’s dominance of the personal media player space, but
it does have at least one corporate fan: United Airlines.
The Redmond-based tech giant and United are extending the
Zune partnership they kicked off a couple months ago. On the Zune Insider
podcast, product evangelist Dave McLauchlan noted that the airline will be
providing Zune HDs to passengers on flights to Hong Kong and Australia as part of
the expanded test.
Microsoft is providing 500 of the devices – and to make it
particularly interesting, it’s talking with studios about loading those with
exclusive content, including films that haven’t yet been released on DVD.
It’s a limited test, yes – but the high quality screen on
the Zune HD could convert some travelers. And it’s a big step from where things
started less than three months ago, when United began offering passengers Zune
inflight audio – a series of 21 playlists programmed by the team behind the
course, Apple has its own airline partnership – with Jetstar Airways making the
iPad available as an in-flight entertainment option.