Microsoft's new digital music player is actually a complete line of Xbox-branded digital-media products, software and hardware, according to Seattle Times columnist Brier Dudley.
Pictures of the main device, codenamed Argo, are now circulating, and Dudley says that the device will be capable of playing games as well - something that would see Microsoft taking on Sony's PSP and Nintendo's DS as well as its most likely rival, Apple's iPod.
Last week, Bloomberg reported that the device would go on sale this Christmas and include Wi-Fi network connectivity - something that Apple's iPod range does not feature.
Microsoft has so far declined to comment on any of the reports, which have been widespread for several months and usually identify the Xbox division - headed by J Allard - as the principle architects of the device and now service.
In a column entitled "Argo aims guns at more than iPod" this week, Dudley cites "research, reporting and information from a source close to the project", and ultimately identifies not just a device that plays back media, but a software media player and an online media service - immediately drawing comparison to Apple's iTunes and Music Store respectively.
"This is more than just another MP3 player," says Dudley. "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." He goes on to say that Argo will "likely" showcase XNA, Microsoft's multi-platform game development architecture.
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