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Windows Media Player

Microsoft Will Create a Wireless Version of the iPod

By: Spacelab Research Staff
Microsoft is indeed creating portable digital music player meant to compete with Apple's iPod, according to 'music industry executives.' I guess everybody's afraid to go on the record at this point, but it now seems apparent that a player device of some kind is on the way. We saw an initial blip a few weeks ago, when Reuters reported that they had a source that confirmed that Microsoft had wrapped up development of a new digital media player.

Now it has come to light that the new player will playback audio and video, will be integrated into the new MTV/Microsoft URGE music service, and will be wireless. That's right, I said it! Cut the umbilical cord people, you can now roam free with streaming audio and video! Away from your computer!

There's even a rumor floating around right now that the player will allow users to convert all of their iTunes media to a format compatible with the Microsoft player. Totally unconfirmed, but considering that iTunes converts Windows Media files to an iTunes-ready format, it doesn't sound too far fetched.

A little over a month ago, Microsoft co- launched the URGE music service as part of the new Windows Media Player. It's a joint project with MTV, and together they hope to create a viable service that will let people experience music and video. It's the age old Microsoft formula, don't develop new technology or a sense of cool, just buy it outright. MTV has the cool factor that one could never imagine Microsoft having, and together they'll have enough global impact to make a serious impression.

But what might be most important here is not just that it's wireless or that it works with the URGE music service, but the combined effect of what that does together. No more messy downloading of files... just point and click, streaming music and video starts playing right away, I could get used to that. Hey, did I mention that that's exactly what happens at Spacelab's media player, Galaxy TV? You should really click on that right now. Don't be shy.

It's also not apparent what the definition of 'wireless' is. Is that Wi-Fi wireless, like conatained to a small hotspot, or is it more like what new generation cell phones do -- connect to the Internet at broadband speeds anywhere you can use your cell phone?

So URGE will compete with iTunes and the device that dare not speak its name (yet) will compete with the iPod. How will it turn out? Microsoft is going for the overall experience and accesibility angle, like buying a subscription ticket to get in the door and then letting the user consume all of the content they want. There's a difference there, as iTunes is a one-stop shop for individual items, but doesn't really work as an always on channel to watch and listen to stuff, and that's supposedly where Microsoft is heading... Plus a move like this could make Microsoft's software a dominant software for media, which is probably all that Microsoft wants out of this anyway.


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