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A web-site has unveiled an image, which it claims is Microsoft’s player that will compete against Apple’s iPod digital media player. The device distantly resembles iPod, but features a large screen.

The picture has reportedly been sent “by insider working on the project” to Engadget web-site. The device on the image has a large 4:3 screen, which may be as wide as 3” – 3.5” in diagonal, an aluminum wheel that looks like Apple’s as well as two plastic buttons with an “arrow” and “play/pause” signs. The device allegedly is “a part” or Microsoft’s “Project Argo” and hence may be one of a number of Microsoft’s portable devices.

There are no actual technical specifications of Microsoft’s players, but industry analysts suspect that at least some digital media players by the firm will be able to play specially developed games. In that case, it may be expected that the device will feature architecture similar to the Xbox 360, e.g., feature a custom IBM PowerPC chip as well as a custom graphics processor from ATI Technologies. However, since gaming is not obvious, the functionality of the device may be limited to music and video playback, which will not require truly advanced hardware.

Microsoft has been trying to address the market of consumer electronics for years now and have been quite successful with its Xbox console so far. Nevertheless, music player business can be significantly different than video game business and, for example, Sony, which also sells digital music players and content, has not gain popularity on the market. Microsoft may also have plans to introduce a base platform for third-party hardware makers to make actual devices, whereas Microsoft would concentrate on software and content selling sides of the business.

Microsoft did not comment on the news-story.


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