According to sources familiar to the matter, Microsoft has been working on a new Xbox console since 2006, one year after the original 360 was released. While it’s unclear what the new console will contain, speculation rages on.

Xbox-Kinect

As mentioned above, there’s no word on what the new console will contain. According to the source, however, gamers should look forward to an announcement in the Summer of next year, more specifically at E3.

The Xbox 360, the latest-generation of the Xbox, was first unveiled on May 12th 2005 and showed off in more detail one month later, at E3 2005. After years of rumors and speculation of an "Xbox 2", the 360 included various new features, such as Xbox LIVE integration and revamped internals, namely an internal processor similar to IBM’s G5, which ran on Apple computers at the time. The console quickly sold out before it officially shipped, in November 2005.

Over the years, the Xbox 360 has received significant hardware updates which helped mitigate the "red ring of death", a hardware failure that forced gamers to send their consoles back to Microsoft to be repaired. Additions like a better cooling system has done a lot to address the problem, which doesn’t happen anywhere near as often today.

At last year’s E3, Microsoft showed off a slightly upgraded 360, dubbed the Xbox 360 S, although it’s still marketed as the Xbox 360. The upgraded console is slimmer and includes several hardware additions, including built-in 802.11b/g/n wireless support and a 250 GB hard drive by default. At the same time, Microsoft also introduced a new 4GB model aimed at lower-end customers, available for as little as $199, $100 cheaper than the regular Xbox 360.

Those who are planning to hold off buying a brand new 360 and wait for the newer model, whenever it finally comes out, should know that Microsoft has publicly stated it does not plan to phase out support for the current Xbox until 2015:

We firmly believe that the Xbox 360 has a life cycle through 2015 (10 years after the launch).

The Xbox 360 is currently the 9th most popular console of all time, having sold roughly 54.4 million units since its release, while Sony’s PlayStation 3 lags closely behind at 51 million. Whether we’ll see a new console or not so soon is currently debatable, but rumors are likely to get more specific before we do. So far it’s mostly vaporware.

I’m expecting a better processor, more memory, revamped design, the ability to shoot plasma rays and mind control. Like I said, its all vaporware.

(via BGR)

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