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New details emerge on Microsoft Argo/Zune player

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By LC Angell

Contributing Editor
Published: Tuesday, July 11, 2006
News Categories: iPod

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Further interesting details and the first alleged picture of Microsoft’s “iPod killer” were leaked this week. Seattle Times columnist Brier Dudley, citing a source close to the project, claims the Microsoft device is part of “a complete line of Xbox-branded digital-media products, including a device that plays media, a software media player and an online media service.” He says the project is being referred to internally at Microsoft by the code name “Argo.” Gizmodo, however, received a tip claiming that the Microsoft player was code-named “Zune” and said that it wasn’t likely to have gaming features. Meanwhile, Engadget scored the first purported photo of the device, which features a vertically oriented 4:3 aspect screen and iPod-like controls and styling.

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Comments

21

I was under the impression that trolling was when you weren’t actually contributing to the duscission. Codemonkey is responding to another user by making a point that OSX is not as stable as made out to be, and XP is more stable than made to be. That’s what a discussion is.

The point is XP is only as good as it’s user, if you don’t know much about computer and actually click when that advert says “Click here for free porn” then your computer will start crashing. OSX is better on that front because no one bothers writing code for it. If you know how to run a computer (XP), your computer will not crash, the only time mine has crashed is when running BETA products that haven’t got memory distribution sorted correctly. BSOD is a thing of the past, I’ve never seen it on my machine in the 1.5 years it’s been running, and never on my parents machine in about 3.

You should give windows a break is what I’m saying.

Anyway rant over, this product will hopefully push Apple into developing more features for the iPod (touchwheel anyone?), I’ve completely switched to rockbox now, I only miss auto update and playcoutns etc, but I stil use iTunes so should I ever go back to the iPod OS it doesn’t really matter…

Posted by silver_haze20 on July 11, 2006 at 2:29 PM (PDT)

22

Yeah, code monkey, you need to realize that the general populous isnt made of computer whizzes who hack into the fundamental components of the average OS. The company goes into the actual interface of the operating system to make it conform to the needs of a normal, general person without a profound knowledge of a computer. I am an average computer user. I have both a mac (OSX) and a PC (XP). The PC seems to have both good days nd bad days, but the mac runs smooth as butter every day. Im not bashing a PC: I like windows, but i just generally prefer a mac’s interfacing and technique.

Anyways, that’s enough of that. Let’s look at the “Argo/zune”. It has a nice big screen, it’s fairly attractive and it has a good control scheme (or so it seems). But one fundamental reason that I believe that the thing will not be so sucessful is the “play/pause” button and the “back” button. Humans want to be able to push a button with some kind of response from the machine to the user. This is why the 4th generation ipod, the first with a click wheel, exploded in popularity. The 3G ipod had touch-sensitive buttons and never significantly took off as the ipod 4G did. I dont think that the “Zune” or whatever it is will kill the iPod, but may imply a dent in iPod sales, depending what the 6G ipod does.

What microsoft really needs to become successful is a good marketing campaign and a solid program to use with the device. If they plan to use URGE, They’re in trouble. Download the beta at http://www.urge.com for it and youll see. Plus, the thing will not take off as URGE only works on a PC, not a mac, which leads me to believe that Zune will not work on OSX which blows off a big chunk of potential buyers.

Posted by Brent on July 11, 2006 at 2:54 PM (PDT)

23

” which leads me to believe that Zune will not work on OSX which blows off a big chunk of potential buyers.”

I call straw man. If you are actually using a Mac in this day and age, the odds of you buying a Microsoft branded DAP are somewhere in the vicinity of the odds of Allesandra Ambrosio finding me hot and attractive. Further, if Apple stopped supporting Macs when it came to the iPod it wouldn’t dent their sales, so why is Microsoft suddenly in need of supporting a platform with a installed base on par Linux?

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on July 11, 2006 at 5:51 PM (PDT)

24

First, I own an IPod 5G Video.

I am just an average consumer (an older one albeit) who enjoys techie devices such as the IPod.  At this point in time, I feel it is the best overall portable audio/video device.

However, my loyalty is to my needs not to any one particular manuafacturer.  If MS, or for that matter almost anyone else, builds a better device than the IPod, I will probably buy it. This mentality of Apple (Or any other manufacturer) do or die strikes me as quite humorous. I’m only married to one thing until I die and that’s my wife.

Posted by tbsteph on July 11, 2006 at 5:52 PM (PDT)

25

I dunno, I’ll wait and see. I need platform compatibility between XP and OS X. I’m sure it’ll be VISTA safe, I doubt if there will be an OS X version. (Not to mention that if Apple is under the gun for monopolistic behavior on the iPod, You’d think such behavior would be a slam dunk on Argo since WM is only Windows whereas Fairplay is Windows and Mac.)

While I like MS hardware such as keyboards and mice, I’m less enamored with my XBOX. If MS could give me something easily compatible with reliable hardware I might think about it. WiFi is an interesting idea, I have reservations on just how useful it would be compared to the battery drain that would accompany it. Bluetooth would be more useful and much easier on current
consumption.

As for it looking like an iPod ripoff. Yes and no. it has gen2 iPod mini buttons and a white body. I have no idea how thick it is so beyond that it’s hard to judge.

Posted by mathue on July 11, 2006 at 7:51 PM (PDT)

26

When it’s all said and done I think it really comes down to looks and image for alot of people. It will be hard to break the hold that iPod has on that. I personally think this player looks lame but I imagine it still has a lot of refining in it’s future.

Posted by Jeremy the Indian on July 11, 2006 at 9:16 PM (PDT)

27

Did you say Fargo?

Because it’s funny looking…

In a general sort of way…

Posted by Frank Z on July 11, 2006 at 9:22 PM (PDT)

28

mmmm, it looks photoshop’ed to me, it looks more or less like a 3G iPod with an enlarged screen and not as many buttons. Wouldnt be surprised if its fake, but i could be wrong

Posted by Michael on July 12, 2006 at 5:45 AM (PDT)

29

too little, way too late.

Posted by andrew Chasnoff on July 12, 2006 at 7:52 AM (PDT)

30

“too little, way too late.”

Statements like this amuse me. Apple has been genuinely successful with the iPod for a bit over 2 years. Say that again in case it escapes you, “two years”. That is two years and change in an industry that is several decades old (or was RCA supposed to assume their Victrolas would never be supplanted). Even if you limit it to just portable digital music players, Apple can still only claim genuine success for 2+ years out of the 8 that such players have been around. This niche industry isn’t even out of diapers yet.

Not only can Apple lose their lead, given general market trends, it’s pretty much a certainty. Companies that hold onto semi-monopolies with their products past the initial growth phase are extremely rare (and Microsoft is one of the few who can make the claim that they have managed to do so).

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on July 12, 2006 at 3:30 PM (PDT)

31

Here’s a screen shot of it:
http://i1.tinypic.com/1zqzt5j.jpg

Posted by Mike M on July 12, 2006 at 6:41 PM (PDT)

32

hell, the click wheel will never go. I had an Mrobe with that stupid virtual touchscreen junk, I hated it!!!!!!!  I like tactile fell. Tell me how a blind person is going to be able to see a virtual screen unless it’s hard wired to their visual cortex.  Though I’m not blind yet, I still like to have my nano or ipod in my pocket, and because of the intuitive click wheel I can skip, stop, fast forward rewind, pause, lock, scrub… all without seeing the screen. This will be impossible on a virtual screen, you have to see it.

Now if they create certain gestures like “ipod grafitti” push hold is play or pause, wipe finger to left is rewind, finger swipe on screen to right is fast forward, finger up volume up, finger swipe down volume down, etc…..

Posted by morty salt on July 12, 2006 at 7:39 PM (PDT)

33

Three words for MicroSloth:

Late

To

Market

Posted by DJ Super Buffet in Tulsa, OK USA on July 14, 2006 at 4:51 AM (PDT)

34

this picture is a hoax according to http://www.zune-player.net

Posted by dublinmark on July 27, 2006 at 2:51 AM (PDT)

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