The Microsoft Zune HD portable media player is officially available for preorder today. Outlets ranging from Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon, and Microsoft itself are taking preorders on a black version of the 16GB Zune HD, or a silver version of the 32GB model. As Tuesday's pricing leak suggested, the players are retailing for $219 (16GB) and $289 (32GB). Preorders of the Zune HD are expected to arrive on September 15, the same day we expect they'll hit store shelves.
Also on sale today is the Zune HD AV Dock, which allows you to connect the player to your television or home entertainment center and output videos and menus at 720p HD resolution. The dock retails for $89 and includes an HDMI cable, power adapter, and a remote control.
Microsoft has also sent out an e-mail (see above) showing off three additional color options (blue, green, and red) of the Zune HD along with 10 designs, that will be available from the Zune Originals online store starting September 15.
But Microsoft may be shooting itself in the foot by not offering these custom colors and designs for preorder. By not doing so, it's effectively telling customers that they can preorder a dull version of the Zune HD now, or wait to order a cooler version on September 15. With new iPods likely to drop in September, I would think Microsoft would want to put its full weight behind preorders before Apple potentially spoils the enthusiasm.
For more on the Zune HD, check out CNET's Zune Central.