Microsoft launching Argo into portable space

<i>The Seattle Times</i> reports that Microsoft is working on an entire line of Xbox handhelds under mythological code name; first device allegedly due by year's end.

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Apparently J Allard is a fan of Star Blazers. That, or he digs Greek mythology. According to an article in today's Seattle Times, the once iconoclastic, now reclusive Microsoft corporate vice president is heading up a secret project code-named "Argo." Argo was the name of the ancient trireme sailed by Jason and the Argonauts, as well as the moniker of the spaceship in Blazers, the English-language version of the popular anime series Space Battleship Yamato.

Now, Argo is also apparently the code name for the supposedly secret handheld Xbox project Allard is heading up. While the San Jose Mercury News, New York Post, and Bloomberg news service previously reported that a multimedia portable was in the works at Microsoft's Redmond, Washington, headquarters, the Times article says that the Argo project is prepping several handhelds, not just a single hardware unit.

According to the daily, "What's being developed is actually a complete line of Xbox-branded digital-media products, including a device that plays media, a software media player and an online media service."

Citing "information from a source close to the project," the paper also claims that all handheld Xbox devices will have Wi-Fi connectivity, like the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP, and the first will arrive by the end of the year. The Times believes that the first details will be revealed at Microsoft's annual analyst meeting on July 27, though that had not been officially confirmed as of press time.

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