Could E3 be Microsoft's launch pad for Project 'Orapa'?

Could E3 be Microsoft's launch pad for Project 'Orapa'?

Summary: Like other bloggers, I'm trying to read between The Official Microsoft Blog lines about Microsoft's upcoming announcements for the E3 Expo, which kicks off on June 7. Here's my best guess(es) as to what the Softies might unveil there.

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Like other bloggers, I'm trying to read between The Official Microsoft Blog lines about Microsoft's upcoming announcements for the E3 Expo, which kicks off on June 7.

I was figuring Microsoft might be holding off on announcing the beta of its Kinect software development kit (SDK) until E3. I also figured there might be some new Kinect games and possibly also the unveiling of the final version of the Avatar Kinect technology there. Others are speculating that Microsoft might be ready to launch a Google TV competitor or something trademarked "Fusion."

But the May 31 blog post by Frank Shaw, Corporate Vice President of Corporate Communications at Microsoft, now has me wondering whether Microsoft may take the wraps off something bigger at the upcoming game conference.

Maybe the "big reveal" will be Project Orapa. For those who need a quick codename refresher, Orapa is the working name for a combination of Xbox Live and Microsoft’s Mediaroom IPTV. It would give Microsoft a way to turn TV into a service that it could deliver to Xbox customers first, and Windows, Windows Phone and set-top-box customers, later.

From Shaw's May 31 post:

"The vision for Xbox is straightforward: All of the entertainment you want. With the people you care about. Made easy. That is why you’ve seen us invest in partnerships with ESPN, Netflix and Hulu. That is why we’ve baked social directly into the experience with Xbox LIVE – connecting gamers, friends and families across the globe. That is why you’ll see Xbox marketed more as an entertainment brand this year. And that is why we’re investing so much in Natural User Interface technologies (speech, touch, gestures) to make the entertainment experience that much easier—and more fun. With Kinect, we’ve made NUI real for millions of people, and we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of what’s possible."

What's one Microsoft project that combines all of these elements? Orapa. If Microsoft could deliver an Orapa application for Xbox, it potentially could provide Xbox Live subscribers with TV, social-networking, music, video (via the coming "Ventura" services) and Kinect integration. With the Xbox as a centerpiece, users could control their TV settings via gestures and voice with Kinect.

Last I heard, Microsoft's goal was to finalize the Orapa version 1 code base by July and make it available to customers via holiday 2011. Version 1 of Orapa is going to require Mediaroom's underlying infrastructure to work. Version 2 supposedly will be cloud-hosted, from what my contacts are telling me.

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, Microsoft

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • RE: Could E3 be Microsoft's launch pad for Project 'Orapa'?

    The company that most Journalist had written off for dead comes back firing on all cylinders. Like they said, it aint over until the fat lday sings. This fat lady is an 800 Pound Gorilla. For all the hype that apple stirs, all they have is 4-5 good products, that so far mostly affect our entertainment buds, compared to the dozens that MS has that are a full range of products. From entertainment to mission critical... I'll bet on MS anytime.
    vhaakmat
  • Any entertainment solution that requires a device per tv is an EPIC FAIL

    Home entertainment has to become centralized. A single media library for movies, dvr, music, etc. that can be watched from any room. If MS wants to be embedded into the tv fine, work with the tv oems, but dont foist a try to a solution thats based on a separate box per tv on us. That's horribly lame...
    Johnny Vegas
    • ...

      @Johnny Vegas You mean like Apple and Google have done?
      Alansonit
  • RE: Could E3 be Microsoft's launch pad for Project 'Orapa'?

    Mary Jo, I think you make a good guess.

    FYI, AT&T's U-verse service based on Mediaroom IPTV already integrates with Xbox.

    http://www.att.com/u-verse/explore/xbox-receiver.jsp#fbid=CCs9h-jCe0v
    Jgarrettca1
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      james347
  • RE: Could E3 be Microsoft's launch pad for Project 'Orapa'?

    Could Orapa be a new phrase that means Computers are a waste of time????
    X41
  • RE: Could E3 be Microsoft's launch pad for Project 'Orapa'?

    I am looking forward to Mediaroom in a big but they really need to deliver a better experience than U-Verse. I am looking forward to cafeteria style channel subscriptions.
    frankwick
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      james347
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    james347
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    the Tea Lady
  • RE: Could E3 be Microsoft's launch pad for Project 'Orapa'?

    Maybe it's one of the big reasons why Microsoft secured Skype with them? Skype is all big in this communications part... Voice, Chat, Video-call, sms, and calling real phones... Looking forward to this...

    Now, xbox is like this all-in-one media and communications device... I don't see this replacing computers, as one commenter suggested, (unless of course the reason you use a computer is what the xbox can soon deliver) but rather a hub where will link one household to another in a very natural and integrated way. It's almost like the scifi movies where you just say "call Claire", or "What's up tonight on channel X?" and you get what you want...
    zaghy2zy
  • RE: Could E3 be Microsoft's launch pad for Project 'Orapa'?

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