120 Gig Hard Drive / Data Retention Cable
Ars Technica reports the below scoop on the new 120 gig hard drive for the Xbox 360. The anonymous source reports that the new 360 will ship with “some sort of cable” that will allow current 360 owners to transfer data from their current 20 gig hard drive over to the new 120 gig drive. Anonymous source quote follows:
I work for a large game distributor. MS disclosed this SKU to us a few weeks ago—definitely not a fake story. Price, features, color are all correct. MS has told us that the data will be transferred via some sort of cable that will be included with the unit. The cable will also be included w/ the 120GB drive that will be sold separately (price TBD).Please don’t cite me, but this is all accurate info.
As you can see, the source reports that the device will be sold separately with the 120 gig HD upgrade. This is at least partly encouraging. Those of use who
have forked out $399 for the 360 Premium only to be saddled with a sub-par hard drive, what with the bevy of downloads available to us, would have nothing less. The remaining issue is the HDMI port — is there going to be any “amnesty” upgrade option available to us so that we can take advantage of digital video in 1080p?
Web Browser Imminent?
Considering this development, I went back and perused the old questionnaire that was sent out to 360 users asking our level of interest in various items back in November 2006. It occurred to me that Microsoft has already delivered on a lot of these. What’s left? What can we cross off the list? Here’s what was on the questionnaire and what’s remaining (not crossed off):
Black Controllerwith rubber grips, improved d-pad, backlit buttons ($59-$69) (both yup and nope)
- Traditional Atari-like joystick ($29-$39) (nope, not MS branded)
- Mini-keyboard ($19-$29) (nope)
HD movie and TV service(yup, Video Marketplace)
- Xbox Live Web Browser (nope)
Fee to participate in beta testing(yup, but it’s FREE. I’m in Shadowrun beta right now)
- Online Xbox song/music shop (nope)
Of these, being a blogger and avid RSS reader, I’d really enjoy the ability to switch from TV to the ‘net quickly, read a few sites and shoot off a few emails via the Xbox Web Browser and mini-keyboard, then switch back over to TV, gaming, or a movie.
In sum, we’ve got about 40% of the items in the questionnaire already delivered by MS. I’m predicting that the Web Browser and mini-keyboard are imminently on their way, given the importance that text messaging and web browsing have to the whole “community” context. Add to that the pain-in-the-ass onscreen keyboard we’ve been saddled with for almost a year and a half now, and the competition from Sony’s PS3 and its devotion to the whole online community concept with the virtual “Home” world, Microsoft can’t wait much longer to get 360 fanboys addicted to the community as a practical communication device, not just as a gaming system with the “ability” to communicate via text.
Xbox Live Video Marketplace vs. Apple TV
Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal just reviewed Apple TV, and it’s a very positive review. Apple’s 40-gig, $299 device is “slender, wireless” and “performed flawlessly” over both G and N networks, streaming video clips, movies and TV, photos, and music. As Mossberg points out, the Xbox “costs 50% more than Apple TV, is much larger and stores only half as much material.” The Apple TV device hooks up to both TV and computer, so it’s on par with the 360’s setup.
It’s also worth noting that TiVo and Amazon.com just partnered to deliver movies and TV shows to home TiVo devices in an arrangement similar to Apple TV and the 360’s Video Marketplace, so the competition is heating up. Microsoft is going to have to deliver the best home entertainment product, not just the best game machine. While they have quite a bit of a headstart, movies are still trickling at a snail’s pace onto Video marketplace: at last count, there were scarcely more than 100 movies online. That’s not going to cut it, Microsoft. You have a great product, but you’re going to have to stay ahead of the curve to keep competitive.