WHAT FREON STANDS FOR is a souped-up successor to the Xbox console — capable of playing games but also offering television capabilities, such as pausing live TV and recording shows onto a computer hard drive, say people familiar with the effort. Though it is unclear whether such a product will ever be built, its core concept appears to have the backing of Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, who wrote in an internal memorandum in January that he was a “big fan” of a machine that would combine video services with gaming.Having a next generation Xbox out before Sony's new Playstation would be a major coup for Microsoft, especially if it's able to leverage the Xbox's hard drive to achieve TiVo-like functionality. However, Sony isn't likely to take this lying down, especially since they licensed TiVo's technology back in October of last year. Convergence could be coming to a console near you.
Such a device, which could cost around $500, would have another big advantage: It could beat video-game market leader Sony Corp. to the punch.