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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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looks plain
By proamerica on 7/11/2006 2:18:18 AM , Rating: 1
It looks like a reject from the iPod design studio. If this is really Microsoft's design it will flop like all the others. Number one its not different enough. Its kind of close but not quite and ultimately gets a big fat "NICE TRY". Second it doesn't have the panache that and iPod has. The iPod has that glassy sheen to it that just screams to be looked at.

Ultimately it doesn't matter what it looks like. Apple's design is too tight, it honestly has no visual flaws. Criticizing an iPod nano would be like accusing the moon of being too spherical. This design however has flaws. Its widely rumored that the next iPod will have a widescreen as well. If that turns out to be true than the ONE functional advantage this player has goes up in smoke. And if Apple can manage to implement the touch screen navigation then kiss MS's pod-killer goodbye. Again, Apple's design is all about harmony, and from a visual standpoint what is more harmonious than a simple rectangle?

This isn't the player we're looking for. You can go about your business. Move along, move along...

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