Microsoft is expected to lift the curtains today at around 5pm UK time on its highly-anticipated Zune media player.

The speculation and rumour that has surrounded the device is testimony to how hungry the market – or at least the media – is for a device that can compete with Apple’s iPod.

Already many of the specifications have been leaked. It’s expected to have a 30GB hard drive, as well as an FM radio, wifi connectivity, and a 3-inch screen.

The device is believed to be manufactured by Toshiba, according to an application submitted to the FCC and unearthed a few weeks ago. The idea behind Zune is that it will build a community of Zune users, who can share playlists and other information through its network.

The price that’s being bandied about today ahead of the anticipated launch is $300, but all will be revealed later today.