The first handheld gadgets to play music and movies on Microsoft "iPod
killer" software will be available in Europe in the second half of 2004. The
gadgets will run on Microsoft’s yet-to-be-unveiled Portable Media Center
software in a direct assault on iPod, Apple hot-selling digital music player.
Working with a host of manufacturing partners, Microsoft is introducing a device
that plays movies and stores digital photos as well as songs in a bid to grab a
share of the fast-growing digital media player market. The U.S. software giant
has enlisted Creative Technology and iRiver International unit to develop
devices for the European market.

Creative devices will be available in Sweden, the United Kingdom and Denmark
first, retailing for between 550 euros and 599 euros ($ 678.50-$ 738.90) and 399
pounds and 449 pounds ($ 724-$ 814.70). The product will be available in Germany,
France, Italy and Spain to follow, but also by year-end. The Creative players
will be sold with 20 gigabytes or 40 gigabytes of storage capacity, the latter
would provide 175 hours of video playback or 10,000 songs. The devices play MP3
files as well as audio and video content recorded in Microsoft’s digital format.
The devices run on the Windows CE operating system. The Creative player weighs
in at 330 grams (11.5 ounces) — roughly three times as thick as an iPod and
roughly twice as long to accommodate its television-quality colour screen. It
has a USB port and comes with audio and video outputs cable to play media on a
television or stereo hi-fi.

The first handheld gadgets to play music and movies on Microsoft "iPod
killer" software will be available in Europe in the second half of 2004. The
gadgets will run on Microsoft’s yet-to-be-unveiled Portable Media Center
software in a direct assault on iPod, Apple hot-selling digital music player.
Working with a host of manufacturing partners, Microsoft is introducing a device
that plays movies and stores digital photos as well as songs in a bid to grab a
share of the fast-growing digital media player market. The U.S. software giant
has enlisted Creative Technology and iRiver International unit to develop
devices for the European market.

Creative devices will be available in Sweden, the United Kingdom and Denmark
first, retailing for between 550 euros and 599 euros ($ 678.50-$ 738.90) and 399
pounds and 449 pounds ($ 724-$ 814.70). The product will be available in Germany,
France, Italy and Spain to follow, but also by year-end. The Creative players
will be sold with 20 gigabytes or 40 gigabytes of storage capacity, the latter
would provide 175 hours of video playback or 10,000 songs. The devices play MP3
files as well as audio and video content recorded in Microsoft’s digital format.
The devices run on the Windows CE operating system. The Creative player weighs
in at 330 grams (11.5 ounces) — roughly three times as thick as an iPod and
roughly twice as long to accommodate its television-quality colour screen. It
has a USB port and comes with audio and video outputs cable to play media on a
television or stereo hi-fi.