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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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It's a tough road to success.
By MonkeyPaw on 7/10/2006 10:54:48 PM , Rating: 2
I have a lot of questions about any MS player at this point.

First of all, I hope it's not intended to offer lots of gaming potential. iPods have some games, but they are barely playable due to the interface and size of the unit. MS will not do any better, IMO. Apple sells iPods as music players, and they sell millions of them this way. For MS to employ a more complicated model will leave the final product unfocused and less than successful.

Second, what kind of GUI will MS offer? Are they going to rip off Apple, or are they going to be original? Considering how MS has a track record of getting things right (or at least much closer to right) on the second try, will PMP-OS 1.0 be good enough? Will PMP interface well with MediaPlayer? Remember the first versions of ActiveSync for Windows PDAs? It was an aweful program. The first Xbox was a bit of a comprimise, but the 360 is more of a true, developed console. Seeing a trend? MS has a lot to prove here, and hopefully they can deliver.

“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads
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