Microsoft has announced that the pre-order period for its eagerly awaited Zune HD MP3 player has begun, and will continue until 15 September when - later than previously reported on Pocket-lint - the device will go on sale in the US.

The device will be available from Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart, and cost $220 and $290 respectively for the 16GB and 32GB editions. Microsoft says, rather optimistically, "pre-ordering guarantees that you'll get a device".

As previously reported, the Zune HD has HD radio, 720p video output, an OLED touchscreen, built-in Wi-Fi and an internet browser, and packs a Tegra graphics chip. It'll be available in black, silver, blue, lime green, or red/maroon - though preorders are limited to just the first two colours.