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What A Portable Media Center Might Look Like

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the joy-of-buzzwords dept.

Portables 143

An anonymous reader writes "From the Redmond's answer to iPOD dept... While wandering the exhibitor aisles at Embedded DevCon, we were drawn to this slick looking reference design board in the Freescale (formerly Motorola Semiconductor) booth. The Portable Media Player Reference Design, a.k.a. "Jazz", is based on a Freescale i.MX21 embedded processor, runs Windows CE, and is compliant with Microsoft's Portable Media Center (PMC) standard. PMCs, Microsoft's answer to the iPOD, will initially support digital music and videos, digitally recorded television shows, and digital photos."

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First post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9586139)

First post!

First Posters Anonymous (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9586142)

Reload...
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Please don't, if I get mod'd down again it'll be:

Due to excessive bad posting from this IP or Subnet, comment posting has temporarily been disabled. If it's you, consider this a chance to sit in the timeout corner .

Alright it's me!!!

I can't help it, I have a problem... ;)

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Not an iPod killer (5, Interesting)

StraightTalkExpress (792144) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586155)

There are several reasons this is not an iPod killer per se. Mostly because it does not beat the iPod in any of the areas in which the iPod excels: being a very small, very light, fairly durable, tightly enclosed music device with good battery life and a nice interface. MS's stuff is going to be necessarily larger, necesarily heavier, necesarily more precarious unless they ruggedize the HELL out of those LCDs and reinforce the plastic grating over the speaker. Battery life will probably be about the same as a portable DVD player, and if the interface is anything like Pocket Media Player, it's got NOTHING on the iPod.

In short: this looks like it has exactly the same features and price point as the device I traded in for my iPod, a Toshiba PocketPC. And just like the PocketPC, it'll have limited appeal which becomes even MORE limited when Joe Q. Fancydevice realizes how hard it is to get first run movies onto it...i mean, how fast can the processor be in these things and still keep battery life?

Still, competition is good for the industry. The market pressure will force Apple to make iTunes even better (and there's room for that). But I don't think they have too much to worry about...a bigass laptop wannabe is NOT in the same league as a tiny little music device.

Re:Not an iPod killer (5, Insightful)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586179)

I dont think this is designed to complete with the iPod at all. Looks like they are trying to create a whole new device market here.

Re:Not an iPod killer (2, Interesting)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586200)

That's funny. Looks to me like they're trying to bulid competition for the Playstation portable. Seems like an ages old market...

Re:Not an iPod killer (3, Insightful)

0racle (667029) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586206)

Why would a media player from MS be "necessarily larger, necessarily heavier, necessarily more precarious." All you'd have to do is buy a iPod and look at it and you'd have an idea what has to be done. The iPod was cool, but its not like you have to be a rocket scientist to understand it.

Re:Not an iPod killer (3, Insightful)

mr. roboto (85479) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586312)

MS has decided to build a video player with a big, color LCD screen. This is what makes the larger size and weight necessary, while simultaneously making the device more fragile and limiting battery life.

Re:Not an iPod killer (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586412)

Now that I didn't see. It also means this isn't really positioned against the iPod.

Re:Not an iPod killer (5, Insightful)

kevlar (13509) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586266)

This isn't supposed to compete with the iPod. The LCD screen alone is the size of a PocketPC screen, but has incredible resolution, so much to the point where you look at it and you FEEL like you're looking at a much larger high-res screen. (I am speaking from personal experience).

Yes it plays MP3's, VCD's, etc etc and uses hard drives for storage (they might have a CF version, I don't recall), but its definately not an iPod competitor based on its dimensions alone. It is still _VERY_ cool, and I wonder if their intention is to turn this into some sort of Game Boy Advanced device a-la XBox Embedded or something to that effect. That would be pretty cool....

Re:Not an iPod killer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9586301)

err, 320x240 is the resolution of most PocketPC devices. Except for the groovy ones like the Zaurus SL6000 which has 640x480 in the same form factor.

Resolution's Too Low - 320x240 + LDTV (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586458)

320x240 is great if you're comparing it to a PalmPilot. It's not enough to play TV on the LCD. And it's certainly not enough to run much text on, and it sounds like it can't drive a TV at good enough rates to use that as a monitor either - plus it doesn't say anything about driving HDTV so I assume it can't do that either.

Re:Resolution's Too Low - 320x240 + LDTV (1)

kevlar (13509) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586611)

Contrary to what that article says, I think these devices have higher resolutions that 320x240. 320x240 is the standard PocketPC screen resolution and this thing had FAAAR greater resolution than a PocketPC. I've seen it with my own eyes. I could have been looking at a version 2 device though...

Re:Not an iPod killer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9586268)

Be careful here--the article states the Jazz only " is compliant with Microsoft's Portable Media Center (PMC) standard." The Jazz itself is made by Freescale solely as a demonstration of the i.MX21 processor. In other words, you won't find the Jazz in any store.

Re:Not an iPod killer (2, Interesting)

pherris (314792) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586658)

There are several reasons this is not an iPod killer per se.

I'll bet that Apple already has an answer to that thing anyways. Somewhere deep in their R&D department has to been an iPod with a color screen that plays Quicktime video files. It wouldn't surprise me if Jobs hasn't already started talking to video production companies asking them for the rights to distribute their shows. Want a copy of Frontline, Simpsons or "Good Eats"? It will cost you a $.99 for a 30 day copy. Remember, DRM can be added to the QT format.

As you know (and as do most people that read /.) Apple has been two steps ahead of everyone else since the early '80s. They should turn out something by the end of next year and IMO it'll be worth the wait.

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9586159)

first post!

No one can beat iPod (1, Troll)

machocomacho (760106) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586164)

the reason iPod is number 1, it is simple. Too much on one device will becoma a power hungry attebtion getter....oh...wait.

Re:No one can beat iPod (5, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586208)

iPod is #1 because of marketing, pure and simple. They're selling a branded lifestyle, not electronics.

Designer jeans don't cost so much more because they're necessarily better, or of a higher quality construction, etc..

Re:No one can beat iPod (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586307)

You might find this [gpf-comics.com] to be an appropriate web comic. Although when you think about it, it's all about whether a device is "designer" or not. Laptops can do everything a PDA, MP3, etc. can do. So why have smaller devices? Because sometimes they meet a real need. In the case of the iPod, it was a good mix of a sound player with high capacity storage. It hit the very edge of that "sweet spot" in which pocket devices are allowed to live. I think Microsoft's problem here is that these devices go beyond that "sweet spot" and start competing directly with Laptop type devices.

Re:No one can beat iPod (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9586365)

Why did this get modded (Score:1, Troll)??? This comment makes an excellent point--just look at Apple's advertising!

And before you start talking about high quality construction, remember the rechargeable battery issue!

Re:No one can beat iPod (1)

protohiro1 (590732) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586515)

Yes, true, the ipod has very good marketing. But it is also a great product. None of the other music players out there even approach the itunes/ipod solution. It is just so easy, so seamless and so powerful. No one else has made a comperable product, that's why it is the most succesful. Its not the construction its the interface and the integrated music "solution".

Re:No one can beat iPod (1)

linuxelf (123067) | more than 9 years ago | (#9587168)

I'll admit that the iRiver h120 [iriveramerica.com] isn't as convenient as the iPod with the iTunes Music Store (I have to convert [hymn-project.org] all of my iTunes music to mp3 before putting them on mine), but the device itself is extremely nice. It is only slightly larger than the iPod, considerably cheaper, and lighter. It comes with the carrying case, a built in mp3 encoder, optical audio in and out, and a built in FM Tuner. It plays mp3, ogg, or wma, and is firmware upgradable to play new technologies as they emerge. Battery life is right at 16hrs. It's not marketed as highly as iPod, but I vastly prefer it.

Not widescreen (3, Interesting)

YetAnotherName (168064) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586165)

Nice looking board, no doubt about it, but to really make a splash they ought've made it 16:9 instead of 4:3. Just like the old car commercial says, "Wider is better."

Ahh yes, that "old" saying.... (?) (4, Funny)

gosand (234100) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586278)

Nice looking board, no doubt about it, but to really make a splash they ought've made it 16:9 instead of 4:3. Just like the old car commercial says, "Wider is better."

Windows CE - The Pontiac of Operating Systems.

Re:Ahh yes, that "old" saying.... (?) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9586339)

LOL!

Re:Ahh yes, that "old" saying.... (?) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9586441)

Windows CE-the Chevy Nova of OSs

Re:Not widescreen (1)

TommydCat (791543) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586896)

This seems aimed at us tech weenies and up to this point I still see more pr0n in the 4:3 format.

I've got a Portable Media Center right HERE! (1, Flamebait)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586168)

...it starts with an 'i' and is about the size of a 'note'book. Highly portable, 4 hour battery life, runs OS X, and can even interface with the Internet and an iPod! Screw Microsoft. What more could you want out of a PMC?

Re:I've got a Portable Media Center right HERE! (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586211)

Geez, I wasn't trolling. My point is that a laptop makes an effective Portable Media Center. No need for a specialized device.

What a portable media center might look like... (-1, Flamebait)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586169)

Hmm... like a gameboy.

A portable box with a screen and some buttons. Just what the fuck did you think it was going to look like, a dune buggy with tank treads instead of wheels?

Ogg support anyone? (3, Interesting)

John the Kiwi (653757) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586192)

Anyone know if this will support Ogg? I'm still regretting putting my whole music collection into OGG format. IRiver is still a little expensive for me.

Re:Ogg support anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9586281)

I doubt it will, but someone will probably hack it, and a processor fast enough to play video will be able to decode Ogg fine.

Re:Ogg support anyone? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9586310)

iRiver's PMP-140 runs Ogg, Divx, and MPEG-4, and... it's based on Linux :). Coming soon, already on my wishlist ..

http://www.iriverswitzerland.com/product/pmp140. ht ml

Re:Ogg support anyone? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9586386)

No offence, but that's the price you pay for using a fringe format. I mean if you want something supported by everyone use mp3. I fell in love with ogg vorbis early on. No matter what quality I used in mp3 the trebble always had problems. So I went to ogg vorbis and was very happy with the result. I also had to accept the fact that hacking ogg vorbis into my iBook was less than ideal, and I would probably never get support on most devices - but I still like ogg vorbis better.

Re:Ogg support anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9586484)

This is just a hardware reference design. Ogg support would likely be done in software. So that kind of detail is pretty much up in the air at this point. To early to say.

Re:Ogg support anyone? (4, Informative)

maxbang (598632) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586510)

Get the Neuros. [neurosaudio.com] It supports ogg, has open source software, and is fairly inexpensive.

Video Screens (3, Insightful)

blankinthefill (665181) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586213)

Until the size, weight, and power consumption of screens that display video and photos are both reduced, and show an increase in quality, I don't believe that a device such as this will win out over the Ipod. It will be either too bulky, or it's screen will be too small for any real use, or the batteries won't last an acceptable amount of time, or a million other problems. Sometimes it's better just to do one thing, and do it well, than to try to do many things, and do all poorly.

Re:Video Screens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9586391)

I think any device that can play movies is not even in the same class as the iPod. Disagree? Show me how your iPod plays movies and I will show you how my banana is better than your apple.

"feature" (4, Funny)

dirtmerchant (162306) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586225)

The reason for the largish size:

When the weight of the stack of EULAs equals that of the product, Microsoft releases.

Re:"feature" (2, Funny)

strictnein (318940) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586276)

speaking of size... What are the dimensions on this thing? For all we know it's about 2ft X 4ft (or .6096m x 1.2192m for the metric among us (they're everywhere!))

Pre-emptive?? (3, Funny)

bairy (755347) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586229)

Real-time, pre-emptive multi-tasking kernel

What the hell is pre-emptive in this case.. it does something before you tell it to? That's not so much clever as scary

Also, "Real-time".. er, isn't it supposed to be realtime? Would be a tad annoying if it did it 5 mins after (aka Windows ME)

Lastly, just cos everyone else has and I want a go...:
Yes, but does it run linux?

Re:Pre-emptive?? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9586289)

If you don't know what preemptive multitasking is, please stop reading slashdot.

There are plenty of sites geared towards computing newbies and wannabe's.

Thanks.

Oh, btw, real-time is more correct than "realtime" which isn't even a word. "Real time" would be preferable.

Re:Pre-emptive?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9586319)

"real time" is two words, and there are no two word adjectives in the English language. Even "realtime" is better than "real time".

Re:Pre-emptive?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9586361)

"Real time" isn't an adjective, it was just misused in the story. It should have read "preemptive kernel which operates in real time". Real is an adjective, time is a noun.

Re:Pre-emptive?? (1)

ReelOddeeo (115880) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586473)

What the hell is pre-emptive in this case.. it does something before you tell it to?

How about a pre-emptive DRM that works in real time? It pre-empts you from doing something before you do it.

Re:Pre-emptive?? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9586505)

To answer your question, read this [wikipedia.org] In a nutshell, pre-emptive multitasking is where the OS decides how much processor time programs have to complete their work, in contrast to co-operative multitasking where a program has to relinquish the use of the processor.

Re:Pre-emptive?? (1)

bairy (755347) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586725)

Ahh. Now I see where it got the name, thanks.

I wonder how much processor time is given to deciding how much processor time should be given to each process? (note: this is a joke, not a serious question)

Re:Pre-emptive?? (1)

quasipunk guy (88280) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586755)

I'm fairly sure pre-emptive in this context means that the kernel is capable of pre-empting certain tasks in order to maintain the proper performance level for more important commands.

You can see my portable media center (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9586232)

But you will need to kill me and crack open my skull.

Put Linux, XINE, and MAME on this... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9586236)

Before everyone gets in an uproar over the word 'Microsoft', remember that this device simply follows the standard Microsoft created.

It's based on an ARM processor, so should this device ever take off, the ARM Linux port could easily be customized to take advantage of all the features.

This could also be used as a MP3/video player for your living room stereo and TV, connected to the server via the built in ethernet.

Also, if you look carefully at this larger view [windowsfordevices.com] , notice the device could make a really cool portable gaming device. Imagine running MAME on this...

Of course, if Linux were loaded on the device we would not need to worry about silly things such as DRM (included in the Microsoft specification.)

Re:Put Linux, XINE, and MAME on this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9586340)

Oh, and I forgot to mention--this is just a development board! You won't find a commercial product exactly like this. We'll just have to wait for a vendor to come up with a product using this chip (hopefully including all the important features).

Re:Put Linux, XINE, and MAME on this... (1)

beboploco (589012) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586526)

It's based on an ARM processor, so should this device ever take off, the ARM Linux port could easily be customized to take advantage of all the features.

And at least some of the onboard devices will also be supported in Linux. A port of the i.MX21 ADS board is in the works, which has a fair amount of overlap with the Jazz board.

Freescale vs Mot. semi (2, Interesting)

csirac (574795) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586248)

I had a bitter experience with Motorola's 9S12DP 1K79X defects (SCI interrupts, PLL registers, BDM bugs, CAN freakiness, etc).

Does anyone know what the roadmap is for their 16bit MCU lines? Perhaps I should be using Renesas or go 8bit AVR...

Some missing features... (4, Funny)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586252)

From the screenshot [windowsfordevices.com] :
My Music
My Movies
My TV Shows
My Pictures
Settings

They forgot to include :
My MPAA lawsuits
My RIAA lawsuits
My upcoming jail terms
DirectPay (TM) money transfer

It's about time somebody came up with a Personal Lawsuit Origanizer.

Re:Some missing features... (3, Funny)

eofpi (743493) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586369)

It's about time somebody came up with a Personal Lawsuit Origanizer.
Nah, then the lawyers would sue for interference with their business model....

Re:Some missing features... (2, Funny)

Stevyn (691306) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586381)

Hey I NEED those folders. Back when those folders didn't exist, I would just randomly throw music anywhere. I had 302 mp3's on my desktop at one time. Thank god microsoft stepped in with this innovation.

And Settings? Who needs to adjust settings? What are you? Some terrorist trying to run "linux"?

Re:Some missing features... (1)

haystor (102186) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586444)

I used to keep things directories like C:\downloads or C:\pictures.

I've finally given up and moved those directories into My Documents since all the dialogs keep resetting to look under My Documents first.

I suppose the real problem is a lack of symbolic links.

Re:Some missing features... (1)

secolactico (519805) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586726)

I've finally given up and moved those directories into My Documents since all the dialogs keep resetting to look under My Documents first.

God, that's annoying!!! I suppose there must be a registry hack for this, but I haven't really bothered to look for it. I simply gave up and now use My Documents, as well.

Re:Some missing features... (1)

tsumbaga (132710) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586541)

From the screenshot:
My Music
My Movies
My TV Shows
My Pictures
Settings

Great. So I'm all in favor of taking my own pictures and loading them on this to view. Fine, fine, fine. But writing and recording my own music and filming my own movies and TV shows sounds like way too much work. Bah.

My potential, their passion indeed.

better name.... (2, Funny)

drtomaso (694800) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586255)

It needs a better name. One that characterizes its functionality, and portability.

Let me be the first to suggest "omni-pr0n-sent."

More of a PVR (2, Interesting)

jzilla (256016) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586257)

Well unlike an ipod it plays video as well and audio. I personally can't wait until these type of devices become affordable to people like me. My personal favorite of this type is the Archos 400 [archos.com] which can also record video as well.

Re:More of a PVR (1)

coolsva (786215) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586333)

Question is, do I want to watch videos on a 2-4" screen?. If you say, I can connect it to a big tv, I can do the same with my dvd player, kind of defeats the whole purpose, doesnt it.

Once a small video player comes with an equivalent to headphones for sound (goggles?), it may be practical. Im not holding my breath!

Re:More of a PVR (1)

jzilla (256016) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586375)

If you download lots of media, you can carry it around and show your friends. Also you can connect it to your friends tv in a snap. Yeah you could burn it to a dvd and use a dvd player, but that requires rencoding with a motly collection of software and a lot of cpu time. These things are better than dvds because they can play a wide variety of formats (which are upgradable), plus they are portable.

Not impressed (5, Insightful)

A. Pizmo Clam (779689) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586285)

It seems to me that this has got to be an all time low point for announcements of innovation in consumer electronics. Why? Maybe its because of the down turn in the tech-market means new products are not being developed. Another possibility is that microsoft's moves into hardware production(x box,phones) and Hardware specification (palladium, watches, media player, smartScreens) is having a chilling effect on the electronics industry. Recently they (allegedly) tried bankrupt a phone maker and move his technology to a competitor. Shades of Stacker and all the other software companies microsoft co-opted, ruined then bought their technology.

There is little doubt that MS stifled innovation in software. Just the fact that jobs could tweak an open source project to tripple the speed of a web browser over IE, when IE has had a clear field to innovate for five years or more, speaks volumes about the MS innovation stifle field. How could apple even dream they could technologically beat MS in the Power point market, but they did.

Does anyone else find these MS offerings utterly tepid compared to Apple innovation the day before?

M$ gates announces a recylced idea for a portable that shows sport scores, headlines, and plays RIAA/MPAA approved media. The debut the smartScreen, a 1500$ screen-only that hooks to your compute by wi-fi but cant play movies or mp3s, then they announce that anyone who already bought was is out of luck since that they will be changing the specs to use 802.11a to get better bandwidth for movies. then an oversized so-called "video" ipod that also cant show DVD movies, for more bucks than a ipod.

The only thing I thought was interesting was that they decided to switch to 802.11a for the smartScreens and not 802.11g. I dont know much about these standards except what Jobs said. 802.11a is dead, because it is not backwards compatible with 802.11b hotspots whereas 802.11g is.

How is it possible that one company can lead the entire market year after year going back all the way to the taming of dynamic memory. While the other company can lead the bussiness world and innovate nothing.

Funny paraphrasing brough to mind... (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586405)

The last sentence of your post:

How is it possible that one company can lead the entire market year after year going back all the way to the taming of dynamic memory. While the other company can lead the bussiness world and innovate nothing.

Caused a funny paraphrasing to pop into my head...

"If Apple did not exist, it would be nessecary for Microsoft to create them"

(apologies to Voltaire)

Digtal music is not the only selling point (1)

arieswind (789699) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586290)

If they can get good battery life and video quality, they can sell on the digital video part

Or maybe, just think, Jerry Springer on the run?

Maybe they can make it interface with camera phones, and store them and stuff on a bigger screen than a phone

Pocket PC (3, Interesting)

mschoolbus (627182) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586300)

My Pocket PC can play video and audio files, play emulated NES games, browse the web, and a whole lot more...

You need to re-encode your mpegs or avis to a PPC friendly bitrate, but its not that tough.

Re:Pocket PC (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586341)

My laptop does all that and more, but it's also a lot more expensive than these things plan to be...

Re:Pocket PC (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586593)

My PocketPC plays Divx and Xvid encoded video files at full FPS on its 640x480 screen. (shrug) There are enough VGA PocketPC devices out there at this point, and PocketPC 2003se looks very nice at that res.

Right approach (5, Insightful)

coolsva (786215) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586305)

iPod isn't popular because it can do a lot, rather, because it is simple to use and very limited in what it can do. But what I can do, it does it very well. I don't need 3 rocking buttons, 5 regular silver buttons, one jog dial having a zillion functions to play my music.
Walkman, before this, was popular not because it offered equalizer (it didnt), radio (initially, it didnt), multiple headphone jacks etc. It was popular because it was simple.

If you want to make a iPod killer, make a device that is simple to use, good 'OS' (that has AI like remember my favorites and gives them priority in random mode), practical capacity (not insane sizes like 40GB, who has or wants 10,000 songs on their palm?).

Oh, it also has to look cool and not be a commodity. And, did I say, no DRM?

Re:Right approach (2, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586480)

Why's everything need to be an "iPod killer"?

I don't want an "iPod killer". To me, iPod was stillborn. I can get an mp3 cd player for 20 bucks with all the simplicity you crave, and capacity I need.

A portable audio/video media player is a wholly new market, and something I may actually be interested in. It's "something I don't already have", as opposed to "something that does exactly what the thing you already have does, but just a bit different, and for 15x the price".

The potential hackability of this platform has my interest piqued as well. What are you going to hack an iPod to do? Play another format of music... oh woooooowee I just split my pants.

Re:Right approach (1)

forkazoo (138186) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586720)

The iPod actually did have some advantages over an MP3 CD player... Not the least of which was that it was a 20 GB FireWire hard drive in the palm of your hand. For me, it was always rather incidental that it played music.

But, I think I agree with you that personal, portable media players will become an important mainstream piece of technology. Everything I've seen so far is trying to be an iPod. That's just silly. Nobody wants to hold Battlestar galactica at arm's length. Its a PITA. I think Head Mounted displays will suddenly, instantly become mainstream when somebody releases a lightweight, convenient, hackable video player with a nice HMD no heavier than a pair of featherweight glasses. Until then, I just don't see it as a convenience.

Of course, god help us when some moron decided to watch porn on his HMD while driving and talking on his cell phone.

When you are dealing with video, capacity is a much bigger deal than with audio... Think about having all seasons of all Star Treks, Simpons, Family guy, Futurama, the LOTR trilogy, the past week of your favorite news programs (automatically encoded by your PVR for synching, so you can watch last nights episodes of News of E! News Live...)

Actually, that's a nother important thing -- downloading video off the internet is okay, but having your PVR integrated for synching is a big deal -- it becomes just an extension of the PVR.

Re:Right approach (1)

Klanglor (704779) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586503)

this seems like a side story to the PALM vs PocketPC.

In the begining, one offered stability and simplicity, and the other features and integration.

At very first, the features and integration is not reliable, expensive and bulky. But as technology improves, price drops, and becoming more and more reliable: useres are willing to adop these extra benefits for a small premium. The leader of the race is soon getting caugthup by the the bulky and slow turtle.

however, unlike the PDA war, raging in both the business and consumer fields. This battle is on for consumer side, where MS is know to Suck! (ie: Windows XP Home, Windows 9x/ME... ..BOB!)

They'll cross it with a Cell Phone too. (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586318)

You know that they'd have to cross the thing with a Cell Phone. In theory, a device that I can carry around 4-5 movies, 20-30 hours of music, and huge amounts of pdf, html, and docs would be great. The down side, it will be nearly output only and battery life will be short. I don't think a full Windows platform should be needed for this too work. I think that the electronics folks could most of it in hardware.

My thing is some one needs to get personnal mobile input down and quick. Entering any data on a cell phone is a PTA. Entering PDA data isn't much better. At a desktop, keyboards and mice work well for input devices. We need a device that we can wear 24x7 and use as effortlessly as current desktop keyboards and optical wheel mice. Until then, our dreams of the ultimate mobile PC will be stalled until input catches up with output.

Did they offer it to you for 50 bucks? (1)

michaeldot (751590) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586320)

That's what it's meant to cost [slashdot.org] , isn't it?!

By the way, for the funky Apple capitalization impaired, it's:

iPod, iTunes, and iMac.

Not iPOD, Ipod, or IPod.

Re:Did they offer it to you for 50 bucks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9586389)

Don't forget iFruit.

Re:Did they offer it to you for 50 bucks? (1)

CygnusXII (324675) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586461)

Try this on for size.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewIt em&cate gory=15062&item=5706593317&rd=1&ssPageName=WDV W

it's alittle more like $550

OK... (1)

fozzmeister (160968) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586371)

... Features are gr8 but look at the MMC card in the pics, this thing is HUGE. saying that maybe they could quite easily just shrink all the circuitary? isn't the iPod basically the size of the HDD inside it?

Re:OK... (0, Troll)

Anonym1ty (534715) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586982)

isn't the iPod basically the size of the HDD inside it?

Um think about what you just said. If the iPod were the size of the hard drive in it, the hard drive would have to be on the outside. The iPod is nearly as small as the hard drive, not the same size.

Having "JAZZ!" attached as Device Name (3, Interesting)

CygnusXII (324675) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586396)

You think, they would do some additional market research to possible, names. JAZZ, is so closely associated with iOmegas' Jazz Drive, and their infamy is well, known. I wouldn't want to be even remotely associated to that company.

Some kind of Name a little more media savy or Market Targetable.

Re:Having "JAZZ!" attached as Device Name (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586438)

Huh? This is a reference platform, not a consumer level product. The only people interested in this are the ones who will use it to develop said consumer products, and they know what it is. You could call it a VIC-20 if you want.

At any rate, when IOMega's Jaz drive (only one z) came out, I immediately thought of the "Jazz 16" soundblaster clone I had in my computer at the time. My sound card was robust and stable and never gave me any problems.

Re:Having "JAZZ!" attached as Device Name (1)

Meowing (241289) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586489)

The first thing I thought about was Lotus Jazz, especially with the Moto angle.

Sony U50 / U70 ? (3, Informative)

Tensor (102132) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586400)

This functionality exists in these two devices. They are small, portable (0.5 kg) with a decent battery life (2.5~3hrs watching divx) have MStick and CF interfaces, USB 2.0 and touch screen, 256 (u50) or 512 (u70).

True they are expensive at USD 1,500 and USD 1,700

But they are a full-blown computer with a Celery M 900 o Centrino 1Ghz.

I'd rather buy one of these.

Re:Sony U50 / U70 ? (1)

Tensor (102132) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586423)

Sorry forgot the most important part!!

And a GLORIOUS 800x600 32bit Bright LCD. not a puny, crappy 16bit 320x240 4 year old screen.

PSP anyone? (1)

beeglebug (767468) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586416)

While obviously it's hard to get excited about a screen and a bit of green circuit board, I still came away from that thinking "Why? When I could just get a PSP..."

It's going to play movies, it will handle music, and it can play PS2 quality games (on a 16:9 screen), the only downside is it has no hard drive, but the UMD discs have a decent enough capacity for my portable media needs, and besides it looks sexy as hell!

Agree, this looks like a PSP ripoff. (1)

Viewsonic (584922) | more than 9 years ago | (#9587040)

The PSP is being marketed as a multimedia device anyways. I don't see how anyone can get all excited over this mock up board and not already know about the PSP which will be out early next year. As far as no hard drive, dont count that out - Sony is planning on releasing many add-ons and types of the PSP for various needs. It does also have the mini discs as well for movies and such that will start coming bundled with Sonys DVD movies. I am unsure if there will ever be writers for this for the public, but if there were, it would be pretty slick. It also has true 16:9 widescreen.

Sorry, I don't have 20/10 vision. (4, Insightful)

zeitgeist_chaser (607006) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586462)

Does it come with a magnifying lens so I can see what's happening when I play my TV shows and videos? Maybe it's just me, but I find that any video screen smaller than about 10" is completely unwatchable. To make matters worse, mobile video is even more difficult to see on the go because of the variations in ambient light intensity and the jostling motion of walking/commuting/etc.

These mini-video players look like a poor solution to a non-problem.

your vision sucks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9587071)

have you ever watched movies on a portable dvd player or on an airplane with a personal screen? they are good enough for airplanes and great for portable use such as on car/train trips.

Archos av400 comes to mind... (1)

Szentigrade (790685) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586498)

Its definatly not an ipod killer but with the included fm tuner and decoder it definatly beats the new archos those was on /. today.

forget CE let's make a instant boot windows device (1)

timts (766509) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586677)

I am tired of using "ported" version on any portable device, cant we just make them windows device, (well, linux fans can install linux) and make it portable?

Forget MSPMC, buy a MEC Station Deluxe (2, Interesting)

skermit (451840) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586678)

MEC Station Deluxe [iavias.com]

6.5" 16:9 Aspect Ratio Screen
20gb, 40gb, 80gb, flavors ($599, $699, $799)
Compact flash support (so you can dump pics from a digicam card STRAIGHT onto the MEC, i.e. if you're on a vacation and need a lot of pic space but only have one card)
TV-out
~4.5 hour battery life

and for the supported media formats...

MPG-1, MPG-2, MPG-4 (DiVX, XViD, RM), JPG, GIF, BMP, WAV, MP3

and in the future...

TXT, OGG

Plus it runs embedded linux variant (not sure which one).

I have one, and it's out NOW. [christopherwu.net]
It rocks. It rocks...

PSP might be the answer (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 9 years ago | (#9586898)

If the Sony PSP lives up to the hype. It will be able to play movies and a whole lot more.

I don't think any company apple, dell, M$ has ever come close to the success Sony has had with handheld devices. All the way back from the walkman in the 80s. Sony dominated.

iMovie movie store on the horizen? (1)

big daddy kane (731748) | more than 9 years ago | (#9587091)

Steve once said that there wouldnt be a video ipod because video is too compliucated and he wanted a simple user experiance, but what if he does the same thing he did with online music, a downloadable music service. there are already others so its feasably, and apple seems to have a strong relationships with ip powerhouses. also, if you look on the tiger preview for the looking glass preview, when steve searches for pixar, it looks like he has movies, not onyl trailers, I'm probably wrong about that I ddint look too carefully.

Re:iMovie movie store on the horizen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9587239)

Music on the go has been popular since god knows when.

The soundtrack for life.

In the car, on the bus, jogging, at a party etc.

But video on the go? Nah you can keep it, if it's not installed on the back of a headrest on an airplane then I'm just not interested.

Lots of MS vanity as usual. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9587092)

Hey there! You're using the latest MS powered device blah blah.

MY Music
MY etc.

Thats where they keep going wrong especially with personnel devices like music players.
You just don't need eye candy for that stuff.
Consumers just don't care, as long as it looks good and works like a charm.

Keep it clean and simple.
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