May 21st is the day we’ll know for sure, but rumor has it the "Xbox Mini" is a real product. I think the idea itself is more exciting than Durango. Here’s the info I’m excited about:
As the market builds around these entertainment streaming boxes like the Apple TV, Roku, Boxee Box, etc. I believe Microsoft is in the unique position to capture this market and be a leader. I think they can do this by bringing TV/Cable integration and gaming to the table.
Shrinking down the Xbox 360 to a package as small as an Apple TV would be an incredible achievement. Microsoft could (ignoring how they decide to structure Live/gold in the future) offer all the content and services of it’s competitors with the golden ticket of a dedicated console gaming experience. Without a disk drive the Xbox Mini would be limited to Arcade, Indie, and Games on Demand content, but that’s more than enough.
I have no idea what Microsoft could be planning here. This is a market that is begging for something new and I feel all Microsoft has to do is provide something slightly compelling alongside an "Xbox Mini". Bing search from the Xbox implemented to work across your TV/Cable and other video apps would be enough for some people. I don’t doubt they’ll use the opportunity to push their "metro" design language on to another screen and whatever social networking features that come along with the next Xbox, could also be integrated here as well.
Aesthetically I think Microsoft is trying to unifying it’s family of products in both hardware and software. They’ve already incorporated the "metro" design language into the Xbox dashboard, but the hardware has always been more gamer centric. The Xbox Mini wouldn’t be a dedicated gaming machine, but a product the whole family is interested in using. I tried to pick some out visual cues from their product line to guide me towards a hardware design. So here’s what I made, just for fun, but to illustrate my excitement for the potential of a product like this to exist in the market.
I'd like to hear people's thoughts on a device like this. A lot of attention is given to the Durango, but I think this product could be Microsoft's big seller if done right.
**I moved this post from gaming.**