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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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RE: iWhat?
By Ralph The Magician on 7/10/2006 8:33:47 PM , Rating: 0
You're kidding, right? Since the Intel switch, Apple has been gaining desktop market share like a wildfire. In terms of pre-built desktops, there is little reason NOT to get a Mac.

I'll admit, if real, this player looks like it could be pretty snazzy. The big screen is definitely nice. However, the iPod itself is only half of Apple's success story in the portable music market. iTunes is that other half. What good is a giant screen if you have no content to put on it? Most iPod users don't have stacks of DVDs that they've ripped to ther iPod. Most of the video on iPods comes from the ITMS.

While it's true that WMP11 will be standrad on the Vista platform, it's going to be a while before we see if Urge and WMP11 can really make it. So far, DRM WMV/WMA and the portable market have been an overall failure in terms of ease of use and stability. Services like Napster, Rhapsody, and Yahoo! have all sorts of problems with the music needed to be re-licensed and expiring on peoples' players. I'm sure someone will reply, "It works great for me!" I'm sure it does, but you are not in the majority.

The reason that Apple can sell 14 million iPods is because the whole packages works so well. Once you buy songs through the ITMS, you don't have to do anything else. You just plug the iPod in and everything transfers itself. Microsoft is going to have to be able to compete with that as well.

With Macs now able to run OS X and Windows (in some cases better than off-the-shelf PCs), Apple isn't going anywhere. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if by the end of next year Apple is still the market leader in digital music, and they take a huge chunk out of Microsoft's desktop market share.



"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA










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