Microsoft’s’ iPod Killer – Bigger, More Expensive

It had to happen – although Microsoft have had mixed fortunes in the hardware market, it was inevitable that they would release a competitor to the iPod and other personal media players out there.

This new gadget will have functionality not seen in iPods so far: video playback and picture display, and it will run MS’s Portable Media Centre (PMC) OS. “We think this is going to be one of the hot devices for Christmas 2004,” said James Bernard, product manager for PMC. The hardware itself is basically a Creative player with a 20 or 40 gb hard drive. Sizewise, it’s about three times the thickness of an iPod and twice as long.

The device will play MP3s, so won’t be completely tied to Microsoft’s own Windows Media Format. As previously reported, MS have content deals in place with Napster and EMI.

Pricing in the in relevant markets varies, but is estimated to be US$750, €550 (Denmark, Sweden) and UK£399.

The impeding release can only increase speculation that Apple will retort with a video iPod at some point next year.



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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?