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Microsoft's Handheld Codenamed Argo 101

Posted by Zonk
from the break-out-the-oars dept.
The Seattle Times reports that details on Microsoft's handheld gaming/music device are finally slipping out. The Argo project looks to be Microsoft's hedge against angry analysts, upset that the next versions of Office and Windows have slipped yet again. From the article: "As reported last week, initially by Bloomberg News, the device is expected to go on sale by Christmas. It has Wi-Fi capability so it can connect wirelessly to home and public networks and other players. Wi-Fi sounds like a big deal if you're comparing the player to the wire-bound iPod. But this is more than just another MP3 player. It will also compete with game players from Sony and Nintendo that have long had Wi-Fi and work as media players, Internet terminals and communication devices. Argo is likely to showcase another Allard project — XNA, a new toolkit that helps game developers create titles for multiple platforms."
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Microsoft's Handheld Codenamed Argo

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  • Umm... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by steveo777 (183629) on Monday July 10, 2006 @05:43PM (#15694047) Homepage Journal
    A bit off topic, but I fail to see why this article would appear under the Apple section. I suppose one could agrue that because it likely is a product made to go tete-a-tete with an Apple product, one might want it mentioned there. But shouldn't this be under Microsoft's section? Or handhelds?
    • Re:Umm... (Score:2, Insightful)

      If this is what is being described, it is going against what the Ipod & PSP SHOULD be now, rather then what they are. Right now the Ipod is for music. The PSP does everything, but nothing good. What the market wants (and don't know it) is true convergence, the one device to unite them all...the OS of the pocket.

      It's hard to be humble, but I have to hand it to myself in a post from May 28th....

      Apple should be in handheld gaming. They should be shooting for the inevitable, a true convergence

      • Right now the Ipod is for music. The PSP does everything, but nothing good.

        I don't want my iPod to do anything but play music. It's great for it.

        My PSP is very fun for playing Katamari & GTA, and also plays my Doctor Who videos in wide-screen mode when I'm away from home. Nothing against the DS Lite, which a great little game box, but I'm very happy with the PSP so far.

        Pardon me for not having much faith in Microsoft to come up with something that does any of those tasks better.
  • by VikingThunder (924574) on Monday July 10, 2006 @05:43PM (#15694050)
    Did I read that correctly? The media forgot to call it an ipod-killer!? Heads are going to roll down at the Seattle Times.
    • I think the issue is that they can't decide what it's supposed to kill. It's an iPod that acts as a cell phone, digital camera, Gameboy, universal remote, garage door opener, GPS unit, all while running off wireless power!

      I'm calling it a Fry's Killer.
    • Did I read that correctly? The media forgot to call it an ipod-killer!? Heads are going to roll down at the Seattle Times.

      Not at all. Haven't you noticed that calling something an "iPod Killer" is the kiss of death?

      I know if I were a portable device maker the last thing I'd want the media to do is decide my device is an "iPod Killer". I'd rather let the consumers decide that by making a device that appeal to them (you know, like the iPod itself).

      Yaz.

      • Everything is called *Insert biggest thing* killer

        every FPS that came out after Halo was dubbed the "Halo Killer" and not one of them worked.

        Every MP3 player that came out after the iPod was dubbed an "iPod killer" they never managed to put a dent in it.

        it never fails, whenever there is something big people will associate The Next Big Thing from a Big Company as the killer of the competing product.

        I doubt this will hurt sales of the iPod or PSP in any way, The main point is that you know it is g
    • Presenting the next-generation iPod killer.

      (Redmond, WA) Today amid thunderous applause, Microsoft's CEO Steven Balmer has unveiled the 'bigger, better, stronger,' next-generation PDA/mediaplayer nicknamed Argo, designed from the ground-up to address customer needs and built upon numerous shortcoming of its rival iPod.

      Argo features a consumer-replacable 400 VAC lead acid battery, not only cheap to replace, but also ultra-portable at 10 lb.

      Living up to its reputation for building sold, reliable hardware, Mic
    • Heads are going to roll down at the Seattle Times.

      You misspelled "chairs are going to fly."
    • Don't worry, other media has labeled it correctly [little-gamers.com]!
    • No, no, no. Heads are not going to roll down at the Seattle Times. The heads will get mangled into squishy, bloody, grey blobs by the flying chairs and their leader, Mr. Ballmer.
  • AirTunes (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lord Satri (609291) <alexandreleroux@nOsPAM.gmail.com> on Monday July 10, 2006 @05:46PM (#15694077) Homepage Journal
    "Wi-Fi sounds like a big deal if you're comparing the player to the wire-bound iPod."

    Not exactly the same result, but AirTunes [apple.com] provides something most of us simply want...
    • Re:AirTunes (Score:3, Interesting)

      by necro81 (917438)
      I've been waiting for the day when the iPod will have WiFi capabilities that allow it to beam music to an Airport Express module via AirTunes, and then on to the stereo. The iPod then becomes not just the source of the music, but a wireless remote control for it as well. I believe that such things exist - add ons for the iPod Dock, etc. - but I don't think they use WiFi (and so have reduced range or are just line-of-sight), nor can they display the iPod menus to you as you navigate the music collection.
      • Imagine hosting a party, walking from room to room, shmoozing, with your iPod in your pocket. You want to change the music playing throughout the house, you just pull it out and flick through the menus as you would if you alone were listening to it with headphones.

        Huh. You can do exactly that with your Mac, your Bluetooth phone, and Salling Clicker. The music streams from your Mac, not your phone, but Clicker's iTunes interface works just the way you'd expect an iPod to work with buttons replacing the

      • Re:AirTunes (Score:3, Interesting)

        by topham (32406)
        Considering the amount of time batteries last when using Bluetooth (for data transfers, not the occasional click), or WiFi what the heck is the point of having it 'wireless'?

        I have an iPod and, except for the anemic battery life, love it. I just don't see the point in adding wireless capabilities to it.

        I have a PocketPC, and I at one time wanted to use it to control whatever computer I had which was acting as my music server. To me that makes perfect sense and the connectivity already exists, etc. The probl
      • Wi-Fi kills battery in no time. 20 minutes of wireless browsing on Nokia N80 and the battery is empty. Why would you want to sacrifice battery life for a non-essential feature? Can't you listen to music without Wi-Fi? Or is this like a hot trend every iPod killer device must have? (Microsoft got transparency in the UI now, there's a hot trend for you, and look what they've done with it in Vista--it's everywhere, it's useless, and it requires a lot of GPU power to run properly...)
    • Re:AirTunes (Score:4, Insightful)

      by sterno (16320) on Monday July 10, 2006 @06:35PM (#15694376) Homepage
      Well that and wifi isn't a big deal really. What makes the Ipod so nice is that it's simple. It plays music/videos and that's it. The interface is minimalist but totally effective. Once you start making a device into a game playing wifi enabled gadget, it becomes harder to make it elegant. I mean, think for a moment what the device has to have available on it just to connect to a wifi network. You have to be able to enter an SSID, WEP key, etc. Already you're making things needlessly complicated.

      The one advantage I can see to wifi is the ability to buy and download music directly to the device. But how do you do that? How does the interface work? How do you pay for songs, etc? It's a simple problem to solve on a computer with a keyboard, etc, but on a compact device, it's really difficult.

      Frankly I think Microsoft's product is going to be a dud because it'll be too complicated.
      • Re:AirTunes (Score:4, Informative)

        by nathanh (1214) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @01:24AM (#15696050) Homepage
        It plays music/videos and that's it.

        Yeah, music and video, that's it.

        And text files. It shows text files. But that's it.

        Yeah, and that breakout game. And the parachute game. But really, that's it. Music, video, notes, games... that's it.

        Oh right, the photos thing. It does photos too. Music, video, notes, games, photos... really, I think that's it.

        No wait, I forgot about the address book. Everybody forgets that one! Music, video, notes, games, photos, address book... is that it?

        Hey, its got a clock too! It's a world clock as well. Music, video, notes, games, photos, address book, world clock... anything else?

        Damn, it's got a calendar too. Music, video, notes, games, photos, address book, world clock, calendar... surely that's it!

        I mean, we all agree the iPod is "so simple". The iPod "plays music/videos and that's it" afterall!

        Frankly I think Microsoft's product is going to be a dud because it'll be too complicated.

        Yeah, stupid Microsoft, they'd do something complicated like put a stopwatch in their player!

        PS: I remember 12 months ago, people just like you saying that the iPod would never play video because that would be "too complicated".

    • Re:AirTunes (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @07:57AM (#15696930) Homepage Journal
      I really don't understand that part about "wire bound". It still needs to be charged, and even with USB1.1 (yes, I've done this), file synching with a portable device is plenty fast for a quick charge. Wireless networking takes a certain amount of power that's better used for longer play life because the networking adds little to the usefulness. On the other hand, I would accept wireless headphones, those standards reduce the entanglement of headphone cables, and current wireless headphones aren't so power hungry as a wireless network adapter.
  • So now we have a codename for the project, and that's it? This is news?

    I'm not trying to be negative, but a codename and speculation of something that was already speculation is hohum to me.
    • Re:news? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Mr Jazzizle (896331)
      follow the offsite links, engadget has a picture
    • ergo (ûr'g, âr'-) pronunciation
      conj.

      Consequently; therefore.
      adv.

      Consequently; hence.

      Someone else is doing well, therefore, Microsoft wants a piece of the action. They had their way in other markets in the past, e.g. server operating systems and web-browsers but they haven't done so well recently, e.g. virtualisation and DRM-locked music players.

      Competition is supposed to stimulate markets but Microsoft's heavy hand tends to stifle the market.
  • what happened to Origami?

    MS seems to have lots of announcements of future products, and even "launches", but I rarely actually see anything from them in real life.
    • It got renamed to something that only a marketroid could love. It's now the "Ultra-mobile PC" [microsoft.com], or UMPC for those who love acronyms. "Origami" would've been a bad brand name, but "Ultra-mobile PC" is even worse. If you have $1,100 burning a hole in your pocket, [bestbuy.com] you can become the (proud?) owner of one.

      So, for $1,100 you can have a slow, short battery life, and expensive laptop PC. Or for $600 [dell.com], you can give up the touch screen, get a faster CPU, faster hard drive and a bigger, higher resolution screen an

      • I think you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned the short battery life. I think one of the reasons why the DS and Gameboy handhelds are successful is their 10 hour battery life. Origami has a 3 1/2 (maximum?) battery life, which is comparable to Apple notebooks, minus the processing power, screen size etc.

        While games available for a handheld system and technical specs are of great importance, I think battery life is the reason why certain systems outsell others.
    • by Fnord666 (889225) on Monday July 10, 2006 @10:27PM (#15695491) Journal
      what happened to Origami?
      It folded.
  • Origami? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nbannerman (974715) on Monday July 10, 2006 @06:04PM (#15694185)
    Not wishing to sound like a nay-sayer, but what happened to Microsoft's last handheld device, the Origami?

    Anyone?

    Exactly, not much at all. I'm rather skeptical at this point to be honest. The only hardware that has an MS-badge on that I've found to be any good has normally been developed elsewhere and brought in and rebadged.
    • Oh, be fair... The Z80 SoftCard was a nice bit of work.

      -jcr

    • Heh. Origami. The cheap ultramobile 'lifestyle' PC that wasn't cheap or ultramobile.

      From the hype on CNet:
      "Microsoft's goal is to create a blueprint for devices that could sell for $600 or less, although the actual prices will depend greatly on what manufacturers decide to include. Origami is capable of supporting features like GPS, Bluetooth, 3G cellular technology and Wi-Fi, though each of these adds to the cost of the device."

      That instantly transformed into "GPS, Bluetooth, Cellphones, and WiFi for $600!
  • Brilliant! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) on Monday July 10, 2006 @06:06PM (#15694196)

    Name your latest high tech gadget for a bronze age pirate ship crewed by illiterate drunks and thieves trying to stay one step ahead of that mad bitch Medea. Brilliant!

  • by Anonymous Coward
    No doubt this will have as big an impact on the gaming market as the Origami had on the portables market.
  • This could actually work for Microsoft if its marketed properly. There are plenty of disgruntled PSP owners (myself included) who want a device that can do more than play games and plenty of Ipod users that are irritated that the repeated requests for features such as wireless continually fall on deaf ears. If they market the device as a media device that just happens to play games they really have a shot at making a dent.

    The PSP was a great idea but the Memory Stick Duo and UMD options really killed alot of its potential IMHO. The device had already been out a year before MSD 's of any size significant enough for music or video were affordable. Without the ability to output to a bigger screen, UMD was DOA, after all who the heck wants to rebuy their movies on a format that only works on a dinky little portable screen. The sad part is that if the UMD format had been opened up allowing the option of homeplayers and such the format could have really taken off.

    The IPod while a great device is at the Mercy of whatever bone Job's feels like throwing at the users. I love apples design and innovation but the tempermental artist who thinks he knows what you need better than you know what you want act is really getting old.

    A fairly generic handheld with a decent screen, standard memory format and decent capabilities would surely be welcomed by those who dont really need a full fledged pda but want something more than a game player.

    • what's the obsession with wireless?

      sure, sometimes when I see a new podcast in iTunes I'd like to just have it on my 5G wirelessly. but thinking about it, would that mean my ipod would always have to have wifi turned on? would the ipod itself have to be turned on? and I'd still have to plug it in for large syncs, use as an external hard drive and of course charging.

      I think that if instead of every little sync adding to my battery life it actually took some away, then battery life would become an issue which
      • Actually I was thinking more along the lines of something like built in Bluetooth, sure wifi could be used to transfer songs or stream I guess and would be great for gaming but give me an audio device with a wireless stereo headset that doesnt require a dongle the size of the device itself and i will stand in line to buy one.
    • I think there's a common thread among the devices you mention: the ones that succeeded did one thing, and did it well. The Ipod plays music very well (plus video, but that feels tacked-on to me). Nintendo handhelds have always played games well. In addition, both have put an emphasis on portability and battery life.

      Then you look at devices that aren't doing that well. The PSP has some sweet specs, but (as you mention) it has some issues. The DS getting twice the battery life (or more) probably doesn't
    • plenty of Ipod users that are irritated that the repeated requests for features

      How many?

      You can be sure that Apple is quite aware of just how many people care enough about any particular feature and whether it makes sense to add the cost of said feature to every unit. That's why the radio tuner for the iPod is a separate accessory, for example.

      Mercy of whatever bone Job's feels like throwing at the users.

      Why get so dramatic about it? Buy it if you like it, don't buy it if you want something different. S
  • by RyoShin (610051) <tukaro AT gmail DOT com> on Monday July 10, 2006 @06:08PM (#15694210) Homepage Journal
    Wi-Fi sounds like a big deal if you're comparing the player to the wire-bound iPod. But this is more than just another MP3 player. It will also compete with game players from Sony and Nintendo that have long had Wi-Fi and work as media players, Internet terminals and communication devices.
    So Microsoft is looking for another loss investment? What, the XBox doesn't lose them enough money?

    Nintendo does well in the hand-held market because they've spent almost 20 years learning what people want in a hand held device, as well as offering a large selection of software that is fun and speaks to a wide spectrum of people, not just your 14-24 male crowd.

    Sony has been able to break into the handheld market (where many others have failed) because they have the brand name recognition, as well as ports for a lot of popular franchises, not to mention the nice movie viewing capability. (However, even Sony is beginning to sink, as the number of people speaking against the constant remakes are beginning to grow, and UMD movies have all but sunk.)

    So Microsoft, which barely edged Nintendo out for second place in America, and is in third place in Japan by a far gap (even despite being the first "next-gen" system there), thinks that they can break into the handheld market with what sounds like another version of their "Origami" project, but geared more towards games? I would put down safe money that it sinks faster than the Game Gear. The idea of it being an XBox brand makes me think that the device will be bigger than the PSP, too.

    "My, that backpack looks heavy. What do you have in there?"
    "My eXtreme-Box portable gaming system."
    "And what else?"
    "Uh, that's it."

    Of course, no one would try to steal it, since the device would be useful as a bludguning instrument, as well. "Looks like the perp left a mark on his victim. What exactly is that?" "Looks like some sort of big X."
  • WiFi! Music! Games! Talks nice with Xbox! iPod/PSP/DS/GameBoy/kitchen sink-killer!

    If we're lucky, the marketing department will know exactly how to package [google.com] and advertise this product so we all know to buy one. Maybe it'll even jump off the shelves at us. Literally!
  • by mbourgon (186257) on Monday July 10, 2006 @06:12PM (#15694241) Homepage
    Argo? Not.
  • Until it's able to split the atom, I'd say the feature list is incomplete.
  • The "agro" - what term could sum it up better?

    Yes, I realize I misread it but, with any problems at all, you know that's the name that'll stick.
  • Last time I checked, I was paying to not see ads. What's up with these "offsite" related articles? If they are indeed relevant, put them in a box on the right.
  • by necro81 (917438)
    One of the key things in the iPod's early (and sustained) success has been its small form factor. Compare the size of the iPod to the size of a PSP or nintendo DS or a wireless PDA/smartphone (just visualize them in your head, I'm not comparing them as devices).

    Now consider a device that combines most of the functions of these, as the article suggests: music player, video/picture playback, wireless internet capability, game-playing capability, all with a crisp color screen and XX hours battery life.
    • One of the key things in the iPod's early (and sustained) success has been its small form factor.

      I would say partly true. The Rio and Creative players were just as small if not smaller. It is a neccesity of MP3 players in general that they be small. What set the iPod apart was ease of use. Later it was integration with iTunesMS.

  • by creimer (824291) on Monday July 10, 2006 @06:31PM (#15694356) Homepage
    From the fires of Mount Doom, is this the one gadget to rule all gadgets?
    • I hope not -- I don't want to have to chase down creepy Gollum if he comes and steals it from me.

      Of course, while he's stroking it and hissing "precious," I can probably just go buy another one.

  • by 2008 (900939)
    Why on Earth would MS be developing games for the DS if it intended to come out with a competing device?

    MechAssualt DS [ign.com] - based on the Xbox games
    Diddy Kong Racing DS [kotaku.com](a port from the N64, via MS-owned Rare)

    • It's not as if those games are going to make a big impact in the market. I would also be very suprised if this device ends up being a direct competitor for the DS.
    • For the same reason MS declared support for Dreamcast (and Bill Gates was there through satellite link in the Japanese presentation) and 8 months later XBox was announced.
  • It seems that if a company makes something that is simple and works, it sells. MS had much success when it made an OS that just worked, and only got into trouble when it started added random features instead of targeted functionility. The xBox, a simple console, has some significant success. It is unclear whether they can once again take the conservative approach to software and hardware that has proven so benificial. MS Vista is in trouble because everthing is just thrown in. Everyone is going to have
    • Good thoughts. I think it's much more likely to go the Xbox route than the Windows route. The problem with building a new version of Windows (or dos) is that it has to do everything the current version does (and dos too, mostly).
    • MS had much success when it made an OS that just worked,

      When was that?

      I was there, from 1982 on... Dealing with interrupt conflicts, overlay managers, the Lotus-Intel-Microsoft extended memory specification, extended versus expanded memory, etc, etc..

      MS's success was a gift from IBM.

      -jcr
  • is what smartass decided to name it after a starch?
  • Ho humm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by presearch (214913) on Monday July 10, 2006 @06:37PM (#15694390)
    Won't this just be CE..I mean PocketPC...I mean Windows Mobile with a couple new bundled apps, an added API, and a hardware reference that specs a patent-safe imitation of the iPod click wheel? The tech press has latched on to this for some reason for the last few days, probably planted to take advantage of a recently weakened AAPL, but it makes no sense for M$ to alienate their phone and PDA customers by coming out with their own hardware.
  • This new information actually muddies the water quite a bit. What is Microsoft's goal here? Are they trying to make an iPod killer music player that also happens to play games? Or are they targeting the PSP market with a device that also happens to play music? With the XBox I could see how they would want to levarage that investment in a handheld device but a device like that I don't think could compete with iPods at all. In fact, it sounds like there falling into the old 'throw everything in it but the kit
    • I don't think this is a game player. I think the news people are grabbing onto that because they've been expecting a portable Xbox, but I think this is really much more iPod focused. It's not necessarily competing with the PSP's gaming abilities but its portable media abilities. Maybe with an attachment it'd let you stream footage anywhere and all sorts of neat things like that.

      I think it's unlikely they'd make a portable Xbox and not go really full bore with it. This sounds more like when their new table

  • by tetrode (32267) on Monday July 10, 2006 @07:01PM (#15694501) Homepage
    For the next version of their iPods.

    As we all recall (or perhaps you have forgotten about - it was launched in October 2001 , the first version of the iPod has had its share of problems. The iPod is not at its fifth generation and has lots of features that Microsoft can either dream of at their first incarnation or implement badly.

    In addition to that, there will be features that Microsoft will not implement.

      - support for Apple? No way
      - Calender integration with Mozilla Sunbird? No way

    etc.

    Plus - they need to cut deals with the record companies; Apple has already done this.

    Furthermore, there are currently more than 50 million iPods on the planet. Not to count the millions of other players. So it is a very hard market to get into.

    * Wireless would be nice - when it is working correctly, and noone can connect to my iPod/Argo to snoop my data.
    * Games? I don't know, this would probably drain the battery life, so not for me...

    And, if this is typical Microsoft quality software (and I'm not talking virii here, although this is a possibility), you probably need to restart the thingy on a daily basis (I restarted my iPod twice in one year) and there will be upgrade after upgrade.

    Microsoft, you need to convince me ...

    Mark
  • Will it have a Wave Motion Gun... like all good Argo's should.

    On a serious note, if they can tie mobile phone service into it with games, mp3's and portable storage then it just might stand a chance of really being "One gadget to in the darkness bind them"

  • by 7Prime (871679) on Monday July 10, 2006 @07:29PM (#15694652) Homepage Journal

    When MS started talking about creating simpler infrastructure, and more ellegent solutions, I got a little worried that maybe they were really in the right headspace to compete with the iPod. But now I see that those original ideals were just words, and this thing is going to be just another PSP: "It's a game device, it's a PDA, it's a video player, it's a music player, WOW!" You'd think that MS would have learned its lesson from Sony on this one, but it seems like they haven't. Their decision to make a handheld gaming system will be their biggest downfall, now they're not only competing with Apple (and Yahoo, and Creative Labs, and iRiver), but with Nintendo and Sony as well. At this point, if you manage to piss off Nintendo and Apple in the same punch, you're likely to just strengthen their unspoken alliance to the point of them officially joining forces against you, and I wouldn't want to be on the other side of that battle.

    What's so difficult to understand? The two most successfull handheld entertainment devices, in their respective fields, are the iPod and the Nintendo DS. Both of these devices succeded because they were aimed at only one market, were designed to do one thing, and they did it extremely well. And because of it, they slaughtered every other competative device that tried to throw in the kitchen sink. Meanwhile, the PSP, N-Gage, and all those other little "3 in 1" type gadgets are foundering.

    The first thing this device is going to kill (if anything at all), is all the iPod's competitors, which are trying to do exactly the same thing as MS is here. The irony is that these are MSs biggest allies, many of them use WMA as their primary file type, and thus have contracts with MS worked out. But there's no way that MS is going to be able to compete with the iPod, head-to-head from the get-go, these other devices stand like a helpless rank of unarmed soldiers standing just in front of the huge army that is the iPod.

    • At this point, if you manage to piss off Nintendo and Apple in the same punch, you're likely to just strengthen their unspoken alliance to the point of them officially joining forces against you, and I wouldn't want to be on the other side of that battle.

      "Unspoken alliance"? What does this mean, exactly? I'm not remotely aware of any such thing. Have their execs, or even their employees, ever met? And if they did, did they like wink at each other, or did they sign a memo of understanding or something
      • by 7Prime (871679) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @03:01AM (#15696256) Homepage Journal
        No, there is no official relationship between the two companies, but the similarities, especially in business philosophy are uncanny. Share no interests? Think again, they seem to share almost identical innovation philosophies: KISS (keep it simple, stupid), when in doubt, go back and try something completely different (iPod wheel, Nintendo DS & Wii), make one gadget that does one thing very well, the list goes on and on. This all at a time when the word on the street is "features, features, features!", complexity is better than elligance, and innovation is risky business. I don't know any companies who share more similar business philosophies than Apple and Nintendo. Now, that doesn't mean that next year they won't turn around and become huge competitors, but I think they share an almost identical ideology. It does mean that if there is any interest in doing any joint business venture, there is a deffinite compatability there to do so. So, if both of their livelihoods are threatend by the same company in one swoop, if it's worth their while, from a business standpoint, I could easilly see them doing a joint project. I don't think there's any need for one for the time being. Although, it's become fairly clear that Nintendo has taken some cues from Apple: the footprint for the iPod Mini and the GameBoy Micro is identical (even their naming convensions suggest some looking over eachother's shoulders), and the Nintendo DS Lite's styling is way too close to the iPod to be mear cohincidence. But these are not really unexpected, and don't really have anything to do with the business's overall mission statement. Now, their makeup might be quite different, I don't know, but having such an uncannilly similar ideology makes up for some interesting speculation, don't you think?
        • the appleIIGS was a development platform for nintendo at some point, I think perhaps for the Super Nintendo
          • And Windows was a development platform for the Gamecube, wasn't it? I really don't think there's any secret connection between Apple and Nintendo except in the eyes of their fans. I really can't easily see them working on a joint project in the near future, their actual businesses and corporate cultures are just too different.
            • Intelligent Systems co. is a first party that design and distributes the official Nintendo dev kits and tools, including DS and GC tools. Many of these official Nintendo tools also exist for Mac OS. The actual Nintendo GameCube dev kit boxes are not PCs, they are custom boxes running a PowerPC and a Flipper GPU. Tools on PCs and Macs can be used to transfer data back and forth.

              Nintendo's president, Mr. Iwata, delivered his last three keynotes standing behind his PowerBook/MacBook. Iwata quoted Steve Jobs at
    • You are spouting a lot of nonsense. I am glad most people don't believe what you are saying, or we would never have had any interesting devices in the first place. You can argue against extra funcitonality for devices, but it is going to happen. The only reasons it is not hapening now, is due to battery life, CPU power, and memory. These are quickly being overcome, even today a number of devices can be successfully merged (Telephone, PDA, mp3 player). Right now these devices aren't the best, because a lot o
      • Ever used a universal remote? They're a pain in the ass. Well, normal remotes are a pain in the ass too, but remotes that try to tie ALL functionality together are some of the most difficult UI devices ever invented. Now, there's the added fact that they're 3rd party devices, having to account for controlling all sorts of different devices. Even so, the fact remains that the TV remote was designed to be simple and quick to use, so you didn't have to get up from your chair to change the channel, adjust volum

  • ...does that mean it's an argo-naught?
  • Missing the point? (Score:5, Informative)

    by genedefect (845080) * on Monday July 10, 2006 @08:44PM (#15695046)
    A lot of people seem to be completely missing the details of the product here...

    1) Unlike Origami, MS is actually making the hardware and software here. They are not bound to the hands of a lot of crappy Consumer Electronics device makers and PC OEMs that historically make ugly hardware (and huge hardware)

    2) This is coming out of the team that made the Xbox and the Xbox360. They have proven that they can write lean/mean software that just works and has pretty and good UI

    3) This device is not (currently) a video game player. As pointed out above, MS is still obviously making games for the DS, and no respectable news site has stated that it plays games, just that it might at some mysterious point in the future.

    4) The leaked pictures show a fairly small device with a small attenna on the top. It has some blurry UI that doesn't look like Portable Media Center software, which implies that they wrote something specially for the device to go head to head with the iPod

    5) Its not just a device, but also appears to include an iTMS competitor. In light of this, it looks like they aren't going to use the horrid "Play for Sure" crap. Instead, they are doing what needs to be done. Make something that actually just works well together. Not something they somehow make work together (like WMP in general with media devices)

    6) MS already has relationships with most record labels due to the old MSN music store. They also have relationships with most movie studios due to the VC-1 codec that is in both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD.

    All in all, it sounds like MS did look at the market and realized that they had to make something that is small, is focused at just media (audio and video, no games). They also appear to be trying to innovate ever so lightly by adding WiFi and a lot of the potential that brings. One need only look at what MS did with Xbox Live and the 360 to think about what can be done with a permenant Internet connection on a Consumer Electronics device. There is a lot of potential here that if they live up to, could mean the next step in Portable Media Devices.

    Worst case, MS shows what not to do with things like WiFi, then Apple comes out with the iPod WiFi and does it right.

    Either way, it only benefits us, the consumer.
  • Just what I need from Microsoft ... yet another entry in the "It's a laptop - without the keyboard!" market.

    SRSLY, PPL. Your laptop is bigger than your Nintendo DS is bigger than your PDA is bigger than your cellphone is bigger than your iPod Nano for a good reason: Each is at the minimum allowable size for which user input and output is still efficient. Creating a product with featuritis right out of the gate is not going to magically overcome this I/O hurdle. At best, it's going to sell to a frustra
  • What would be great would be if it could also be a phone.
  • A music player? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by decadre (980513)
    Wouldn't it have to be a "music player" to be an i-pod killer? This is a hand held gaming system, so of course it has a larger screen, of course it has wifi. PSP and DS have both of these but it wouldn't be considered an "i-pod killer", even if it did have a music store. This is like saying "the 360 is the same as a media PC". Yes, it can be used as a media centre, but in fact it is a game console. Marketing it as both is just that, marketing. I would still rather have devoted devices in *some* cases. I lik
    • I think the point is that every other portable gadget of every kind will be able to play music, many companies seem resigned to having to make some other device to "beat" iPod. It may well be that even the iPods would be an insignificant part of the market if you included phones that play MP3 files, I think there maybe more than a billion cell phones in use, and Apple only sold maybe 50M of their music players. I think the flaw in that reasoning is that it assumes that there is a full market dichotomy, th
  • Too much spin/speculation, not enough facts.
    I'll wait for real info, thanks.
  • iPod Killer? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LKM (227954) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @03:26AM (#15696312) Homepage

    Yeah, I'm gonna strap that to my shoulder and take it with me when jogging.

    Something the size of a PSP will never ever be competition to something the size of an iPod nano.

  • I kinda like MS's direction with this thing. It sounds more like a PSP competitor than an ipod competitor. A lot of folks are bashing the PSP...Yeah it's selling anywhere near DS levels but it has been pretty successful in the sales department. If MS can do the PSP one better they may not have a "ipod killer" on their hands but they'll be a major player in the mutimedia handheld market.

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