The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has an in-depth report on Microsoftis efforts to shepherd to market a Windows CE (WinCE) driven device designed to compete with the iPod. According to the Seattle paper, Microsoft first unveiled early prototypes of a handheld device that would play both music and videos a year ago at the Consumer Electronics Show. The Portable Media Centers, as they have been dubbed by Big Redmond, arenit expected until later this year, but that hasnit stopped TMOis whipping boy, Rob Enderle, from saying that such devices could snatch the market away from Appleis iPod. From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
The pricing, style, dimensions, storage capacity and weight of the Portable Media Centers will vary by device. Microsoft hasnit yet made public its recommended specifications. But analysts familiar with the devices expect the prices to range from about $400 to $700.
The lower end of that price range will put the Portable Media Centers in the same ballpark as Appleis 20 gigabyte and 40 gigabyte iPods, which retail for $399 and $499, respectively. Although the capacity of the Portable Media Centers to be sold in that price range may not be as much, they would offer a main feature the iPods donit, video playback.
Yet industry analysts are split on the question of whether the Portable Media Centers will represent a serious challenge to the iPod.
Matching up against the $499 iPods, the Portable Media Centers in the $400 to $500 range could do very well, said analyst Rob Enderle. "They could take a pretty good chunk of that market, if not own it," he said.
There is a lot more information on the device, as well as various iPod-related issues, in the full article. Despite the above quote from Mr. Enderle, the article is a very interesting read.