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Old Jan 5, 2004, 04:56 AM   #1
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Microsoft Prepping iPod Challengers?

The Seattle Post Intelligencer reports on Microsoft's upcoming Portable Media Centers which will be showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show later this week.

The new platform enable devices which "will story and play back video, music and photos". Per Microsoft's M.O., they will be licensing the platform to a number of consumer electronics manufacturers to create these Windows CE based devices.

Analysts expect pricing to range from $400-$700, which will bring it in line with current high-end iPods. According to the article, analysts are split on whether or not this will put a dent into iPods dominance.

Video-based iPods have been a source of considerable speculation since the initial iPod release. While Apple has given no public indication of such a direction for the iPod, at least one Apple Job Listings seems to suggest otherwise: Next Gen iPod.

Last edited by arn; Jan 5, 2004 at 05:11 AM.
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Old Jan 5, 2004, 05:11 AM   #2
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Eventually

I think eventually Apple will release a portable video player but they will still keep the iPod as it is. There are some people that dont need all the things together (music/movies/photos) and there are those people that want it. So I guess the prices of the music only iPods will come down in proce alot and then the all in one will come out in the similar price bracket that the iPods are at now give or take some...


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Old Jan 5, 2004, 05:15 AM   #3
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not sure people want multi-capable devices.

I think there's something to be said about a device that does one thing primarily... and does it well.

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Old Jan 5, 2004, 05:23 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by arn
not sure people want multi-capable devices.

I think there's something to be said about a device that does one thing primarily... and does it well.

arn
Exactl, that is what so many people I know have sid about the iPod. There are plently of iPod type devices out there that play music, video etc. But none of them have court on. I expect the M$ device to fall like all the other devices M$ has bought out recently (e.g. tablet PC, the Xbox would be a failure as well, if M$ didnt keep on wasting money on it).
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Old Jan 5, 2004, 06:06 AM   #5
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Yep, M$ just dont get it. It is the simplicity and power of the iPod that make it a success - not a bloated feature set.

To twist Steve's analogy a bit: the iPod is a listen to music with the device in your pocket experience, whereas a portable video viewing device is a sit down and look at a screen experience. For the screen experience to be viable you are looking at devices that are gonna be larger than a device you carry around in your shirt pocket.
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Old Jan 5, 2004, 06:37 AM   #6
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I think people do want devices capable of performing multiple tasks. i.e. Music, cell phone, PDA.

Just hasn't been done right yet, and it must be able to do all things that it does, well.

Smartphones are very close, unfortunately, the killer pda app I need isn't being ported to smartphones, and the PDA phone, is not too big, but I worry about the screen. I destroyed two Palms before giving up on them.

As usual, both camps are right and have good ideas. Lets see who can put it all together and deliver it to the masses. This one's even money...
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Old Jan 5, 2004, 06:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by arn
not sure people want multi-capable devices.

I think there's something to be said about a device that does one thing primarily... and does it well.

arn
One natural link is the exploding number of consumer digital cameras, where the users shoot so many pictures on a trip that they've filled up their flash ram storage. On the road this is a big problem, and most casual users haven't thought about it (aka - the ones who need to buy film at a tourist site).

I remember reading about an enterprising photocopy shop by the entrance to the Grand Canyon - they set out a big sign in front offering to burn your flash-ram jpegs onto a CD-R so you could delete the card and fill it up with new images, and were doing a brisk business.

For professional photographer who shoot a lot of images, this need to store images daily becomes part of their work flow and they have dedicated devices. I have an old iPod like storage device from 3 or 4 years ago, since gone out of business!

But for the majority of amateur camera users out there, a simple way to download 256 MB onto a mobile hard drive (for instance, an iPod!) would be a nice feature and selling point.

Belkin has a solution for the present iPod, but from what I've heard it's not that elegant (correct me if I'm wrong).
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Old Jan 5, 2004, 08:21 AM   #8
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I dont think the problem is demand, the problem is the DMCA...where would you get the video?

Currently it is illegal to convert your own DVD's and put them in another format, such as AVI, MPG, or MOV to play on a portable device like this.
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Old Jan 5, 2004, 09:23 AM   #9
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Re: Eventually

Quote:
Originally posted by MacMarino
I think eventually Apple will release a portable video player but they will still keep the iPod as it is. There are some people that dont need all the things together (music/movies/photos) and there are those people that want it. So I guess the prices of the music only iPods will come down in proce alot and then the all in one will come out in the similar price bracket that the iPods are at now give or take some...


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I really think that'll happen. There is a spot for a digital audio player, and a multi-functional video/audio player. Make the iPod cheap, make the ProPod (my name, I know it sucks) show videos.
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Old Jan 5, 2004, 09:41 AM   #10
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agree - with the exception of a combined cell-phone/MP3player & PDA!...as with the SonyEricsson P900. But I'd like a P900 with the option of compact flash-media...which gives you the poss. to load +500 MB MP3s...I think Compact Flash has up to 4 GB-media...that would be perfect!

Quote:
Originally posted by arn
not sure people want multi-capable devices.

I think there's something to be said about a device that does one thing primarily... and does it well.

arn
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Old Jan 5, 2004, 09:55 AM   #11
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A DLD that runs CE? Wow, imagine a world where your iPod would crash? And how are they programming the blue screen of death to look so small?

And I'm surprised Microsoft is copying something that's already out there, created huge by Apple, and trying to come up with their own (albeit s****y) device... that's so unlike M$, they usually are the innovators of the electronics world!

[cough]
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Old Jan 5, 2004, 10:39 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by engelb15
I dont think the problem is demand, the problem is the DMCA...where would you get the video?

Currently it is illegal to convert your own DVD's and put them in another format, such as AVI, MPG, or MOV to play on a portable device like this.
Think portable Tivo, and a place to view/offload your digital pictures.
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Old Jan 5, 2004, 10:41 AM   #13
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I think they just want to be there at the start in case it turns into something. They don't want to miss the boat like they did with the iPod. I wonder if any marketing guys at Redmond got fired for that? It is not like m$ doesn't have the money to throw away on new projects like that.

The cost of this device is so high it is like that of a low end laptop. A 12" iBook can do the same thing. A Japanese sub-portable gets even closer (10" screen, 2 lbs.).

On the function side, it sounds cool but I doubt I would use it personally. I already have a 15" G4 PB I carry with me and I rarely use that for viewing videos. I'm either busy or if I want to watch I just find a TV. There are a couple bzillion TVs in this country. VHS and DVD players and rental shops are everywhere. Every hotel and bar has cable.

You can enjoy sound together with lots of activities. Video requires your full attention. We have had LCD portable TVs for years and they haven't become big. Some years ago Sony came out with video built into a head set for portable viewing. That never caught on either.

As for the amateur photographer, it would be cheaper to buy a 1GB CF card (recently around ($150). That should hold something like 500 pictures even on a 6MP camera and well over a thousand on a 3MP camera. Remember, most amateur cameras now cost under $500 and most cameras already let you view pictures on a built in LCD or you connect the camera to a TV.

I guess the point of all this is that having video on an iPod would be nice but I don't see the real need for it so I doubt people will pay much of a premium for it or go out of there way to get it.
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Old Jan 5, 2004, 10:44 AM   #14
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Windows CE is like Windows XP clunky,Ugly and confusing. When I was PDA shopping a few weeks ago I was looking at a little "Palmtop" that ran Windows CE it was junk the Appications were buried into like three or four menus, it was slow and the device felt cheap. Apple has that one handed thing going on with the iPod, the scroll wheel is the coolest thing to ever grace the front of a portable device. I mean look at what you have to do to play a MP3 in the iPod and look what You have to do to play a MP3 on a WinCE device You have to convert it to WMA,transfer over USB, and the search for the media player and prey that Your stupid PC put it on the device the right way. I know carry a Palm Tungsten E and a iPod.
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Old Jan 5, 2004, 10:55 AM   #15
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Oh this is just grand,

A consumer media device from the companies that brought us the Itanium ("ummn, we'll have it working any day soon. Really.") and Microsoft Bob ( )?

It will make the tablet PC and Mira look like runaway success.

Face it: Microsoft has lost the initiative. They're scrambling to play catchup with all the bugs in their OS, much less come out with anything the customer actually wants or needs. While they're busy ironing out Longhorn ("ummn, we'll have it working any day soon. Really."), OS X will be adding feature after feature.
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Old Jan 5, 2004, 10:56 AM   #16
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Talking

While I agree not everyone would want a video based iPod, how about an LCD screen which the iPod would mate with to allow you to view movies, pictures and what not. Sold as an add-on to the iPod for those who wanted it. Firewire does have the ability to transmit sound and video.
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Old Jan 5, 2004, 12:06 PM   #17
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Re: Re: Eventually

Quote:
Originally posted by the_mole1314
I really think that'll happen. There is a spot for a digital audio player, and a multi-functional video/audio player. Make the iPod cheap, make the ProPod (my name, I know it sucks) show videos.
You know I was just thinking of the same thing. With harddrives physical sizes getting smaller and their capacity larger this would be perfect as the "mini-pod" would be the replacement for the currently iPod. It would be the "low-end" music player. Then there would be your "proPod" that would do it all, music, photos, and possibly movies... though we all know how big movies are on DVD. I single movie can be anywhere from 4 to 9 GB's so the future harddrives will have to be huge if you want to store just a few movies. Though i think a few movies would be all you need. Are you honestly going to be walking around all day watching movies on that tiny screen? Well, for some of you the answer will probably be yes.
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Old Jan 5, 2004, 12:19 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by CalfCanuck

Belkin has a solution for the present iPod, but from what I've heard it's not that elegant (correct me if I'm wrong).
You're wrong.

I used the Belkin solution during a recent family vacation, and transfered nearly 900 photos from my Compact Flash card to the iPod for easy uploading when I got home.

The only problem I found was that the Belkin box ate batteries at an astonishing rate. If I left them in while not using the unit, they were usually dead the next day. Removing them each time solved that particular problem.

Other than that, though...clear sailing. The best 99 bucks I ever spent, and it makes the iPod truly indespensible.
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Old Jan 5, 2004, 12:23 PM   #19
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I wouldnt want to watch a video on anything smaller than a 12" LCD and I dont think many other people would either. Try fitting that in your pocket! iPods can already store videos and transfer them from one Mac to another. I think if you are looking at playback it should be on an external display, and if you are gonna hook it up to an external display chances are you are on or near some kind of network. The network will deliver content far better in future. Video iPod wont happen IMHO. We already have those mini-DVD players with the tiny screens and nobody uses them. They are a joke.
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Old Jan 5, 2004, 12:33 PM   #20
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That doesn't apply if you have a legal decrypter, right? Such as the kind Apple needs in order for DVD Player to work. If a company such as Apple made a program to do the conversion, I think it would be legal.

Assuming the license for the decryption key doesn't prohibit making such software.

Quote:
Originally posted by engelb15
I dont think the problem is demand, the problem is the DMCA...where would you get the video?

Currently it is illegal to convert your own DVD's and put them in another format, such as AVI, MPG, or MOV to play on a portable device like this.
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Old Jan 5, 2004, 12:47 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by MorganX
I think people do want devices capable of performing multiple tasks. i.e. Music, cell phone, PDA.

Just hasn't been done right yet, and it must be able to do all things that it does, well.
The problem is that at this point, size matters a great deal, and anything that does video and audio well, could do audio just as well smaller.

Phones you can just add features to, without changing their form factor significantly.

I think the current ipod is as small as you can do complete music catalogs. Eventually, as HD's improve, a mini-ipod would have the same capabilities as todays ipod, and then todays ipod could morph into something grander. But I think there will be a market for audio-only devices at least until the holographic projection technology is fully developed, which is, oh, at least 9 mos out.
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Old Jan 5, 2004, 12:53 PM   #22
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M$ rubbish

Where are all the Tablet PC's?

And all the other STUPID, bandwagon attempts that those suits at M$ have tried?

Arn is right. There really is no desire to bundle a bunch of stuff in one box for 99% of people. Who wants to listen to mp3's on a phone?
Who wants to watch DVD's on 2inch screen? Not me.

I'm in the garden, fixing the fence - I dont want to be 'connected' - get a life, M$ designers.

Someone mentioned ability to transfer phtots because on a trip you might take so many that your camera was overloaded. So take your laptop, or buy another memory card.
If you are a professional photograher, you already have this problem sorted out, believe me.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH! drives me nuts all this stupid devices that will do everything - it aint gonna happen, folks.

I hear M$ is planning a device that cooks dinner, answers the phone, does the washing up, weighs 25 grams and plays DVD's too.
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Old Jan 5, 2004, 01:01 PM   #23
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As others have said, the big thing inhibiting the sucess of one of those machines is a legal way to copy DVDs to them. Lets also not forget the magic battery problem. If the iPod only spins it hard drive every 10-20 minutes, imagine what would happen if it had to constantly!

Also, unless a magic screen inlarging display was created, most people won't want to watch DVDs on them, or even TV shows. The last problem is the form. Everybody loves lounging watching TV or movies. What happens if you want to just lounge with one of those devices? You'll have to hold it! Unless it uses a clam shell design like the GBA SP, I think any 'stands' they create would be flimsy and not good for plane trips.

I can only see the ProPod working if it allows for the reading of newspapers, daily news reports, TV shows, and other features that could come for iMedia, or some other Apple iApp that'll contact you to a source to buy copyrighted material in word and video form.

Another big feature is that of a high-tech remote. The ProPod would be able to run a smaller version of Keynote, so all your notes, buttons, and other things would be on the Pod, and your presentation would be on the big screen via the ProPod or over a laptop or computer.

Simply, when people go out to ride in the car, ride on the bus, or other things, they want to listen to music. They don't want to be focused on just the TV or a movie. They could miss a bus stop, they could be distracted. Simply put, any media device like a ProPod must have practical features like Keynote and others in order to serve a practical use and to go beyond just a novelty gadget.
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Old Jan 5, 2004, 01:24 PM   #24
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Re: M$ rubbish

Quote:
Originally posted by elgruga
Someone mentioned ability to transfer phtots because on a trip you might take so many that your camera was overloaded. So take your laptop, or buy another memory card.
If you are a professional photograher, you already have this problem sorted out, believe me.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH! drives me nuts all this stupid devices that will do everything - it aint gonna happen, folks.

I hear M$ is planning a device that cooks dinner, answers the phone, does the washing up, weighs 25 grams and plays DVD's too.
Take a couple of Valiums and chill out

Just because all the devices and interfaces up till now have been crap, that doesn't mean that there won't be any in the future. True, it seems that R&D of this sort is driven by the engineers who produce useless remotes with 100 buttons.

But devices with complex needs can still have elegant and intuitive interfaces. I often use the example of the most complex device most people own, a car.

We sit a couple of feet from a controlled explosion (in a 3000 lb moveable casket) with thousands of complex, mission-critical moving parts. Yet we can fly around the world, pick up a car we've never driven in a country where we don't speak the langauge, and after checking for 30 seconds (where are the lights, the turn signal, the emergency break, the gear shift, etc) drive it away.

So back to digital devices. They just store 0's and 1's, and then do something with them (different things depending on what the digits represent). So in the case of an iPod, which is a mass storage device, why the heck shouldn't it be available for a number of tasks? It sure as hell will be in 50 years.

The idea that you shouldn't be allowed to toss a book into a computer case is ludicrous, yet you're telling me I shouldn't use the iPod in my pocket in a simliar way, just because you can't envision it?
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Old Jan 5, 2004, 01:27 PM   #25
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no need for a portable video device

i don't see the need for a portable video device, as plenty of previous posters have already pointed out as well. yay, i can watch my high-def, letterboxed movie on a 3" screen!!!

what the heck do i need a portable TiVo for? so instead of watching on my huge tv on my comfortable couch i can drag them with me to the bar and watch from a bar stool?

Why put 10 DVD's on a portable device to bring somewhere when you can just bring the DVD's?

People listen to music differently then they watch tv and movies...i never see a huge market for a portable video device.

i have a tivo, i watch tons of movies...i can never see myself (or anybody) needing one of these.
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