Microsoft’s iPod-contender, the Zune HD is shipping now in the US, but the company has played another of its PR master strokes – the products are shipping without software installed.

You’ll have to wait until later – perhaps today – for the world’s biggest software developer to get the code you’ll need to actually use the new device. Though you will get to look at the demo movie on the Zune HD’s OLED screen.

“It’s a pretty unusual move for a company like Microsoft to put devices into the hands of consumers with no functionality at all, but it seems the Zune team was cranking till the last minute,” EnGadget explains.

Now that’s what we call an open public beta test!

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