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Media2Go Devices Delayed Until ’04

Microsoft confirmed that shipments of A/V portables based on its Media2Go platform will be pushed back until 2004 from fall 2003.”We’re not going to start showing Media2Go devices until Microsoft and our partners are ready to put our best foot forward,” said Brian Riseland, product manager in Microsoft’s embedded devices group. “Anytime you break new ground, it’s important that learnings take place during research and development, not after the product gets in consumers’ hands.”

During the 2003 International CES, Microsoft had targeted the fall for shipments of the first devices from at least one of four Media2Go partners: Viewsonic, iRiver, Sanyo and Samsung.

ViewSonic told TWICE that it expects to ships its model in the first quarter, having previously targeted fall 2003. iRiver also confirmed shipments will occur “next year.” Sanyo and Samsung did not return calls at press time.

Media2Go devices, also called personal video players (PVPs), are PC-centric battery-operated A/V portables that store and play music and video, including full-motion TV video and still images, transferred from a PC. The hard disc drive (HDD)-equipped portables will feature a color LCD screen to view full motion video.

The delay will give competing platforms a head start in the market. RCA and Archos have developed HDD A/V portables that are CE-centric, enabling consumers to record music or video directly from a CD player or TV without using a PC. Archos shipped its model in April, and RCA plans late summer shipments. Panasonic shipped a flash-memory model in April.

“People download, manage and play digital content on their PCs in a number of ways — through the file system, media players, and through the Windows XP Media Center Edition UI, just to name a few, ” Riseland said. “As we drilled into what it would take to deliver a great user experience across any type of media that could be on the device we had to readjust our product timeline so that we nail it when Media2Go devices ship.”