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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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Microsoft buying tracks?
By lewisc on 7/11/2006 8:35:51 AM , Rating: 2
I know this isn't to do with the visual aspect of the player (which looks ok in my opinion - is the circular control a wheel or a pad? hmm) but I heard on (episode 75 I think) that media player will scan for any purchased itunes tracks and download them to your (presumably urge) account for free. This does away with any problems surrounding users not wanting to switch because they're locked into a particular service.

Additionally, if what is happening in France provides an example for other goverments, Apple may be considered in violation of anti-trust legislation in the method that it locks users into only being able to use an iPod to play iTunes tracks. This could potentially backfire for France however, with Apple cutting its losses and leaving the French market for iTunes, essentially leaving MP3 users with less choice, rather than the intended opposite.

For a good article on this, read

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller

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