Rumours of Microsoft building a PSP or iPod killer have been round for about as long as oooh… rumours that is was building a games console. Extra credibility has just been given to the fabled project however after comments from Dean Takahashi, the author of an upcoming novel on the launch of the Xbox 360.
In a piece he wrote for the San Jose Mercury, Takashi laid out surprisingly specific details about the supposed development of the device. According to the (hopefully not wildly deluded) author, Xbox exec J Allard is helming a team to build a single device that will simultaneously challenge both the PSP and iPod.
Xbox 360 system designer Greg Gibson is also onboard with financial guru Bryan Lee juggling the figures. Transmeta is apparently the company building the chipset and an iTunes style digital movies and music service codenamed Alexandra will offer downloadable content. Any release date would be at least a year or two away concludes Takahashi which makes sense given that a lot of the team were tied up with the Xbox 360 until the end of 2005.
At this stage we obviously have no idea whether Takahashi knows something the rest of the world clearly doesn’t or if he’s been breathing a little too deeply into his Tip-Ex. Microsoft has previously suggested it would look to challenge Apple and Sony’s dominance in their respective sectors but little has been forthcoming since. As for Takahashi himself, he does have a reasonably credible history writing about Microsoft: in addition to the forthcoming Xbox 360 story, he also penned a 2002 book about the development and launch of the Xbox.
Personally speaking - having seen Microsoft jump into both the console and handheld PC markets in the last five years - I see no reason why it wouldn’t want to crash another sector. That said, there’s logic then there’s Microsoft Logic…