J Allard masterminding MS handheld?
Well, the rumours have persisted for quite some time, and even if Origami did turn out to be little more than a pint-sized laptop, who's to say Microsoft don't have further designs on the portable hardware market. According to Dean Takahashi, author of a new book on the Xbox 360's launch, an MS PSP/DS rival is very much in the frame, with the author claiming that gaming boss J Allard is in fact masterminding the project right now.
Apparently, Takahashi quotes 'insider sources' as suggesting that the new handheld will be entirely entertainment focussed, offering music, movies and games in portable form. In an article for the San Jose Mercury, Takahashi also suggests that Allard is in charge of the project alongside Xbox 360 designer Greg Gibson. Chip makers Transmeta are said to be involved with the project too, having worked on the development of lower power-usage chips in the past.
An iTunes-imitating download service code-named Alexandria was also mooted, but Takahashi believes the new system won't launch for at least another year, possibly two, as MS move workers from the Xbox 360 onto this new initiative. Even Microsoft has hinted that they may enter this market in the past, though this is possibly the strongest hint that the project exists to-date. More soon.