Microsoft has announced shipment of its first Xbox development kits. The company is refraining from calling the kits SDK's, preferring the more clever name of XDK. The company is expecting to ship more than 1,000 kits to some 100 development houses in preparation for the fall 2001 Xbox launch. The XDK is being rolled out in three phases, starting with an upgradeable PC-based system and finishing with a customized console unit delivered in the first part of 2001. The currently shipping kits provide developers with early graphics hardware, a beta version of DirectX 8, and off the shelf game pads to simulate Xbox functionality.