As part of a post on his San Jose Mercury News weblog, 'The Xbox 360 Uncloaked' author Dean Takahashi has excerpted an email regarding the mysterious Project Helium for Xbox 360, allegedly a now canceled Windows OS-operating variant of the next-gen console.
According to the post
, the email, from 2003, "describes how Helium has moved from investigation to a project. So what was it? I hear from my sources that this was the third SKU, the version of the Xbox 360 that ran Windows. It is the ultimate Trojan Horse in that respect. But Microsoft executives have consistently maintained that it makes no sense to make the game console into a full fledged PC. They reportedly canceled Helium."
The actual text of the email, from Microsoft's Jon Thomason, is extremely non-specific, simply referencing "...various investigations of new opportunities for the Xbox platform. And after a year one of those investigations is taking the next step, moving from investigation to development; Project Helium. If you don’t know what Project Helium is, stop by my office, breath the Helium, and I will explain it all."
Takahashi asks the question of the email and his surrounding information: "Is Helium something that we will see in the future? Will they save it for a high-end SKU later on? Will it be the 3.0 generation? Who can tell us? Who can speculate why it would make sense to come out with this kind of product?". While he is hoping for more information on the project, it has thus far not been forthcoming.