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Xbox handheld hopes

Evidence still suggests that Microsoft's forthcoming handheld media device will not play games, despite recent reports to the contrary.

Confusion has arisen over an article by the Seattle Times, which states: "This is more than just another MP3 player. It will also compete with game players from Sony and Nintendo that have long had Wi-Fi and work as media players, internet terminals and communication devices."

Although this sounds like a confirmation that the new machine (codenamed Argo) will enter the handheld gaming market, it is more logical to conclude that its Wi-Fi abilities will simply enable internet browsing, downloading and even content-sharing on the fly, much like the non-gaming capabilities of Sony's PSP.

Fitting into a forthcoming line of Xbox-branded products and developed under the leadership of Xbox co-founder J Allard, it's only natural to assume or hope the machine will play Xbox games. But evidence suggests Microsoft is simply expanding into the lucrative media download market with a very tasty-sounding - but essentially iPod-like - machine.

So when will we get some Halo deathmatch action on the bus? Sadly, we still seem to be a while off such pleasures. Back to Mario Kart then.

June 12, 2006

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