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Image courtesy Engadget
Microsoft's Argo and the master plan behind the portable media player -- and possible gaming unit

Engadget has posted a picture of what looks to be Microsoft's much talked about iPod competitor. The site claims that they were sent the image from an insider working on the project -- if true, they'll likely be looking for a new job if J. Allard gets wind of this. According to a recent article from The Seattle Times, the internal codename for the new portable media player (PMP) is Argo; Microsoft's homage to Greek mythology.

While most people have been talking up the audio and video capabilities of the player, Brier Dudley of The Seattle Times points out that Argo could possibly double as a portable gaming unit similar in spirit to the PlayStation Portable and Nintendo DS. The scarcity of front-side buttons plays against this idea, but anything is possible. Dudley also points out that Argo could serve as a showcase for Microsoft's XNA toolkit. From The Seattle Times:

Argo could help the December quarter and give executives something to discuss with analysts other than product delays, Bill Gates' departure and the high cost of doing battle with Google. I had thought Microsoft would put its holiday marketing effort behind Urge, a music service it developed with MTV and bundled into Windows Vista's new media-player software. It's helping device makers produce players that show off Urge and the software. Now, those efforts are in parallel with Argo.

Microsoft's Argo looks to be reasonably stylish, which is a key factor in taking on the Apple iPod. Although this is just a mockup and design details are likely not yet finalized, it looks to be a step in the right direction.

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By Josh7289 on 7/10/2006 5:59:07 PM , Rating: 0
That's not an iPod killer. The design just isn't there. The majority of people that buy iPods do so because of the simple design -- for admittedly superficial reasons. That's why the thing is so successful. This new Microsoft player does not have that clean simplicity of design that Apple's player has, the design that so many have fallen in love with and tried to copy (even Nintendo). Basically, that is why this new device will not "kill" the iPod.

RE: Yep
By vijay333 on 7/10/2006 6:02:55 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, this design is much more appealing to me than that of the ipod. The white color scheme of the latter has gotten very tiresome and its good to have a few shades of gray. Not usually a MS fan, but this player (if it really is theirs) looks very good...

RE: Nope
By Jiggs1337 on 7/10/2006 6:04:19 PM , Rating: 2
I like the design. A LOT. I love the big space usage for the screen and the small space the buttons occupy. I'd buy that, and its most likely not even the final design. I prefer it to the iPod video by far. very much so

RE: Nope
By bunnyfubbles on 7/10/2006 6:08:49 PM , Rating: 1
yeah, its obvious this design is arguably even more simplified than the iPod. Good argument, I hope you were being sarcastic (if you were, you weren't very good at it)

RE: Nope
By Josh7289 on 7/10/2006 6:13:02 PM , Rating: 2
What are you talking about? This Microsoft player is ugly. I'm not being sarcastic. How can you like something like this? It's much too utilitarian, or simply too plain. It doesn't "jump out" when looked at.

Oh, and about the game thing, I don't believe it at all. There are simply not enough buttons, and holding it to play a game would be uncomfortable. Even if that is a touch screen, it would still be severely lacking compared to the Nintendo DS, not to mention the software lineup.

RE: Nope
By MrPieGuy on 7/10/2006 6:17:13 PM , Rating: 2
Ya I have to agree this thing is not simplisitc enough... a whole 2 buttons.

RE: Nope
By Jiggs1337 on 7/10/2006 6:21:54 PM , Rating: 2
lol, yes :). THATS sarcasm

RE: Nope
By Josh7289 on 7/10/2006 6:32:03 PM , Rating: 3
The iPod is more simplistic than the Argo, and this is not sarcasm. What's up with that stupid black line and silvery color of the system? It just looks "blah".

RE: Nope
By The Space Janitor on 7/10/2006 6:40:55 PM , Rating: 2
You think the iPod Mini looks better?

RE: Nope
By Josh7289 on 7/10/2006 6:47:32 PM , Rating: 3
I said nothing about the iPod mini. In fact, I don't like the design of the iPod mini. The iPod and especially the iPod nano, however, look excellent.

RE: Nope
By ktlewis02 on 7/10/2006 7:30:18 PM , Rating: 2
As an iPod with video owner I can honestly say I like that concept better. I am disappointed with my iPod for a few reasons:

1- Battery life
2- Screen size (too small for videos)
3- Scratches like mad (I use an agent18 case but I've seen iPods without a case... not pretty)

RE: Nope
By The Space Janitor on 7/10/2006 7:43:04 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly same boat as you. Except my battery life is still okay. But the software and firmware bugs make me want to tear my hair out sometimes.

RE: Nope
By IMPoor on 7/10/2006 7:48:44 PM , Rating: 2
I am down with this for sure. I have a ipod 30GB Video and it is still a kick as mp3 player but the screen size leaves much to be desired. I buy widescreen movies and when I convert them to my ipod it makes the screen even smaller. This thing look cool enough for me. I say more screen size and equal or better battery life and I am in. Hopefully they don't lock it down to one type of service like iTunes and apple. But even so I am looking for a new player on the market. Let see what they can do.

AS a side note: Did Microsoft run over your cat? Did they date you mom and then kick her to the curb? How come you hate them so. If you told everybody in this forum the screenshot was from and archos player they would all love it. But since it is a microsoft one 50% automatically hate it. Grow up. Your mom is stank anyway.

RE: Nope
By Josh7289 on 7/10/2006 9:17:44 PM , Rating: 3
Never did I say that I hated Microsoft. If that were so, why would I buy Windows XP? Just because I don't like one of their products and I don't think it will "kill" the iPod does not in any way mean I hate the company that created it.

You are the one that must grow up and stop calling others, basically, fanboys for whatever problems you may have.

RE: Nope
By tdawg on 7/10/2006 8:11:15 PM , Rating: 4
The real key to competing with the iPod is usability. Sure form (aka style) certainly helps, but form alone will go nowhere. It needs to be easily usable to anybody that picks it up. The intuitiveness of an iPod is what makes it successful, not the simple style. If the iPod had been released with the looks it has, but a poorly designed user interface and general ease of usability, it would have fallen flat.

That's what all the new players seem to miss. Sure other devices may have more functions, but if they can't be used intuitively, what's the point. There's an entire field dedicated to usability and those companies that adhere more closely to its principles when creating their products will tend to find more success.

I'm sick of everybody saying that iPod owners own iPods simply because they are "pretty". The bottom line is that the iPod is the most user friendly PMP to hit the market and no company has come up with a stronger, more intuitive design.

RE: Nope
By Josh7289 on 7/10/2006 9:20:22 PM , Rating: 2
True, but intuitiveness is not the only factor. If the iPod was as ugly as some of the other players, even if it had the same functionality, there would be no way it would sell as much as it did.

So, even if the Argo has the functionality and usability, its looks are enough to keep potential buyers with Apple and the iPod.

RE: Nope
By arod on 7/11/2006 1:05:28 AM , Rating: 2
go try the toshiba gigabeat S using microsofts portable media center ui. it is excellent and much better imo than the ipod ui. i would expect this to use the portable media center ui with maybe a few modifications.
(here is a video of said interface in action)

"We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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