Monday, March 20, 2006

Microsoft's new Ipod killer?

There have been rumors floating around for months that Microsoft was developing what some have dubbed an "iPod killer," a device that would download music and also be used to play video and videogames.

This week, San Jose Mercury News writer Dean Takahashi put out some more credible information. Takahashi has just finished a book, "The Xbox 360 Uncloaked: The Real Story Behind Microsoft's Next-Generation Video Game Console."

While reporting for it, he got serious wind of Microsoft's new project and just who the company has coordinating the effort: the director is Greg Gibson, system designer on Xbox 360, and Xbox finance chief Bryan Lee is handling the money side of the project.

Takahashi thinks the Microsoft handheld device would resemble the PlayStation Portable unit, would probably debut in 2007 and could probably run many of the original Xbox games at launch. The code name for the Microsoft's "iTunes"-like music service? "Alexandria."

1 comment:

clayj said...

I used to work for Microsoft, actually...

Labeling anything an "iPod killer" seems to be a favorite pastime of the journalistic community. There have been SO many "iPod killers" released in the past few years, and most of them have faded before the iPod. Certainly none of them have lived up to the promise of that label. Say what you will about Apple (fair disclosure: I have Windows machines AND Macs in my office), but the iPod has proven an exceptional design. I find it hard to imagine what could come along that would displace it as the #1 portable music player.

Still, a portable gaming device (Xbox Anywhere) would be pretty cool, especially if it played old Xbox games and new Xbox Live Arcade games. (I wouldn't expect it to play new Xbox 360 games... that's pushing what's reasonable.) Going up against Sony's PSP (I have one of these) would be the logical arena, especially since the war between the Xbox 360 and the PS3 will be heating up later this year, and the PSP is soon going to have an emulator to allow it to play old PS1 games.

2007 is a ways away, though... so it'll be interesting to see how things change between now and then. Could be this time next year we'll be talking about how the PS3 flamed out and the Xbox 360 won this round of the Console Wars.