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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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integrated with what software?
By dgingeri on 7/10/2006 6:25:12 PM , Rating: 2
I bought my ipod because of the pleasant integration to iTunes. Sure, iTunes has problems, probably more than MS's media player, but I can buy tunes online, or rip them from a CD I just bought, and then hook up the ipod and it's updated automatically. no issues. it works wonderfully. I don't see that happening from MS. I don't see that happening from anyone.

I don't really like the way the ipod looks, because it's surface just gets messed up within a couple weeks anyway. scratches and fingerprints are so obvious on it. I eventually covered it with a black cover to hide the scratches and fingerprints.

If MS can integrate it with a good app, keep it stable and secure, and make the cover more durable than Apple, then they'll have the ipod killer. The only ones who'd buy an ipod after that would be the ones who just hate MS for being MS. My thing is, I bet they would never think of many of those things and overinflate it with garbage, making it much less appealing than an ipod.




RE: integrated with what software?
By Josh7289 on 7/10/06, Rating: -1
RE: integrated with what software?
By The Space Janitor on 7/10/2006 6:43:12 PM , Rating: 2
They think of an MP3 player.

I really don't see how you could vehemently defend the iPod and oppose this product having seen a leaked concept photo of it, turned off. You're basing its market potential on the fact that you consider it worse looking than the iPod, though your opinion even here is currently outnumbered.


RE: integrated with what software?
By Josh7289 on 7/10/2006 6:49:20 PM , Rating: 2
Whether or not my opinion here is outnumbered is irrelevant. What matters is what the mainstream likes, and if up until this point, most companies have been trying to copy the iPod's design, then what makes you think that this design would be more successful than the iPod's? The Argo looks very generic.


RE: integrated with what software?
By The Space Janitor on 7/10/2006 7:03:46 PM , Rating: 2
Irrelevent? How so? Not as relevent as taking a broad poll of thousands, but still a polling of several individuals.
Again, in your outnumbered opinion, it looks generic.
And again, if looks alone determined a player's success, the iPod would surely not have been as successful. It also had an excellent (or at least easy) music transfer method, an appealling way to buy low-bitrate music off the internet, and a gigantic marketing campaign that no other company has yet to match. Remember, all those black coloured people jumping around with their white ipods on solid-colour backgrounds? How many iRiver ads do you recall seeing?

And this still has nothing to do with the actual functionality of the device, which you know nothing about. The only visible trait I see is a widescreen display, which makes it possible to watch an actual movie on the screen without cropping it or squinting.


RE: integrated with what software?
By The Space Janitor on 7/10/2006 7:05:59 PM , Rating: 2
Scratch last comment - I don't believe it's widescreen.


RE: integrated with what software?
By Jiggs1337 on 7/10/2006 7:25:29 PM , Rating: 1
why not?


By The Space Janitor on 7/10/2006 7:44:53 PM , Rating: 2
Because I just measured the aspect ratio :) It does look widescreen when you see it in portrait mode though.


RE: integrated with what software?
By Josh7289 on 7/10/2006 7:52:25 PM , Rating: 2
"And again, if looks alone determined a player's success, the iPod would surely not have been as successful. It also had an excellent (or at least easy) music transfer method, an appealling way to buy low-bitrate music off the internet, and a gigantic marketing campaign that no other company has yet to match. Remember, all those black coloured people jumping around with their white ipods on solid-colour backgrounds? How many iRiver ads do you recall seeing?"

Now, these things are all factors in the iPod's success, for sure, but you can't say that Microsoft will do the same, so as it stands right now, the Argo cannot kill the iPod.


RE: integrated with what software?
By MrPieGuy on 7/10/2006 9:42:01 PM , Rating: 2
So because you can't know what MS is doing you can't say they will kill the iPod? But by that logic you can't say they cannot kill the iPod... so in effect all you're saying is we need to wait and see what else MS does for the player?

With WMP11, likely a good marketing campaign (due to deep pockets) a sleek design everyone but you seems to like, there's nothing to say it cannot compete.


RE: integrated with what software?
By ajdavis on 7/10/2006 6:44:41 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft is integrating this player into the new Media Player. A big feature of the new Media Player will be the URGE music service. Check out the beta and see how far they've come.

As far as ease of use for transferring music, I don't think Media Player's ever been any harder than iTunes.


RE: integrated with what software?
By ksherman on 7/10/2006 6:46:53 PM , Rating: 2
I especially loved those old concept pictures f the PSP... a bunch of 100lbs Japs wearing them around their necks... the PSP is WAY to big to do something that quacky... maybe im just not one for wearing things around my neck


RE: integrated with what software?
By arod on 7/11/2006 1:09:08 AM , Rating: 2
WMP 11 beta is just as easy to use with the urge integration and can rip all your cd's and you have even more options to tip into.

I have had my toshiba gigabeat S and the one thing that has suprised me the most is how scratch resistant it is.... I had an ipod video before it and you cant even use the thing w/o a case because it scratches so easily but Ive had the gigabeat for 3 weeks now and I just keep it in my pocket w/o protectors for it at all and there are no scratches yet. VERY happy with that aspect of it so far.


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