Adding to recent news
of alleged Microsoft plans to release a J Allard-overseen wireless portable music and video player in time for Christmas, Seattle Times journalist Brier Dudley is reporting
in his regular column for the paper that the company is indeed developing such a handheld.
Dudley's column for the Seattle Times additionally alleges that the handheld is part of a larger project to release a line of Xbox-branded devices and services to market, including game-compatible devices, perhaps bridging the gap between discrepancies in reports over whether game playability is a major part of the initial device's capabilities or not.
According to the report, which cites an unnamed source close to the project, Microsoft is currently working on a project, codenamed "Argo", which will include a device that plays media, a software media player and an online media service.
Additionally, the report also confirms Microsoft's intent to include Wi-Fi capability within the upcoming upcoming digital player, so users will be able to download music without a computer – a feature not currently supported by Apple's iPod. In addition, the Seattle Times also notes that the device itself will also play games, and will act as a direct competitor with both Sony and Nintendo in the handheld gaming market.
Finally, the Times goes on to speculate that the project could be a springboard for XNA, another project being spearheaded by Allard, which provides tools for developers to more easily develop video games on multiple platforms. Though Dudley does not specify this, this would perhaps allow casual titles to be easily ported between Xbox Live Arcade and the 'Project Argo' portable, for example.