Microsoft Unveils XboxVP, Category-Defining Portable Device (j/k)


Have you heard? Microsoft is planning a new portable device to battle Apple, Nintendo, and Sony. Wow! After Portable Media Centers, Plays For Sure, and Origami, what other amazing tricks could the Wizards of Washington have up their sleeves?

REDMOND, March 20, 2006 — Following up on the enormously successful November launch of the Xbox 360® home entertainment console, Microsoft Corp. Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates today unveiled a prototype of Xbox®VP, a “category-defining portable device” designed to seamlessly integrate four key mobile product categories: gaming, media playback, computing, and GSM-standard wireless communications. Scheduled for release in the fourth-quarter of 2006, Xbox®VP will leverage established Microsoft technologies, including the software development framework XNA™, DirectX® for media, and the Windows® Vista™ Premium™ operating system.

“Today’s consumers do not want to compromise,” Gates said. “That’s why we’re building Xbox®VP to deliver an unflinching portable experience, with the best features from our most popular hardware and software platforms. Hard core gamers will be astonished by its powerful 3-D capabilities, casual users will love its large screen video and high-definition audio features, and enterprise users will laud its productivity features.” Additional details on its GSM telephone functionality will be unveiled later this year.

Click on Read More for additional details***.
Weighing 5.3 pounds and currently requiring a separate, 8-pound power supply, the prototype of Xbox®VP is not representative of the size of the final product. “Our plan is to change the way people think about portable electronics,” said Robbie Bach, President of Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices Division. “Having designed the roughly 17-pound Xbox 360® console and power supply, our engineers now feel confident that they can squeeze all of Xbox®VP’s features into a 2.8-pound, battery-powered enclosure in time to ship for the 2006 holiday season. Just as with the over 700,000-unit-selling Xbox 360®, consumers of all stripes will find something to enjoy in this box.”

Core Technologies

Global Microsoft development partners will provide key hardware components for Xbox®VP, including:

• Intel® Xeon® MP-Xtreme™, a workstation-class dual-core 3.0GHz processor, backed by the Intel® E7505 chipset for high-bandwidth I/O configurations, and 1.5GB of DDR3 RAM.
• ATI Technologies® FireGL™ V7350, a leading-edge graphics accelerator designed for the most complicated 3D models, with an additional 1GB of GDDR3 RAM.
• Creative Technologies® X-Fi Elite Pro™ Audio Technology, permitting DVD-Audio quality, multi-channel surround sound with CMSS-3D, THX certification, Dolby® Digital EX and DTS-ES™ support, and
• Quantax® PowerVP, a 200-watt, 8-pound power supply.

“At Microsoft, ‘no compromises’ means no compromises,” said Bach. “By loading Xbox®VP with the very latest workstation-class processor and graphics solutions, plus an audio subsystem unrivalled by portable standards, we not only have enough power to run the full Microsoft® Office XP® suite on the Windows® Vista™ Premium™ operating system, but also have just enough left over to play your choice of DVDs*, or emulate many of your favorite** original Xbox® games. And you won’t believe how great they look on the detachable 9.3-inch LCD display.”

Changing Perceptions of Portable Electronics

Leading athletes and celebrities have already lent their endorsements to the new Xbox®VP platform. “Even after winning seven Tours,” said Lance Armstrong, famed endurance cyclist, “I’m still going to be racing for fun. During training, the Xbox®VP will be everywhere I go, either in its included carrying backpack, or mounted somehow on my bike, assuming they get the battery thing worked out in time. Even if they don’t, the added weight of that power supply will just make me pedal harder.”

Socialite actress Paris Hilton agreed. “It’s hot,” said Hilton. “Literally hot. I might not be a rocket scientist like those Microsoft guys, but I can’t figure out why they need a dual-core Xeon with six loud cooling fans just to let me make phone calls and watch videos. Still, I’ll take one for free.”

“Not all videos are filmed in green night vision mode,” quipped Gates, “and most people don’t want their phone contacts and e-mails to wind up all over the Internet. Thanks to the power of Windows® Vista™ Premium™ and those six cooling fans, consumers will finally be able to fully enjoy the media and phone security they’ve been expecting for many years, plus much more, for a price of under $800.”

“We’re still working on the GSM phone part,” said Bach. “Right now, our phone application does everything but make and receive calls, but as soon as we get those features up and running, we’ll demonstrate it.”

More Details to Come

Additional details on battery options and sizes, bundles, pricing and availability of Xbox®VP will be revealed at a special event in September, 2006, to be broadcast by MTV on taped delay. Subject to availability, the event will be hosted by a modestly irreverent A-list celebrity, a professional wrestler, Nascar driver, or two or three nerdy Microsoft guys in green and black sweater vests.

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Jeremy Horwitz

Jeremy Horwitz was the Editor-in-Chief at iLounge. He has written over 5,000 articles and reviews for the website and is one of the most respected members of the Apple media. Horwitz has been following Apple since the release of the original iPod in 2001. He was one of the first reviewers to receive a pre-release unit of the device, and his review helped put iLounge on the map as a go-to source for Apple news.