Take this with a grain of salt but job listings suggest that Microsoft may be reassessing the console’s architecture.
Back in October last year, it was reported that a slimmer and cooler Xbox One might be in development. The report was based on the LinkedIN profile of Daniel McConnell, AMD’s senior manager of system-on-a-chip design, where he mentioned about the development of the “first APU for Microsoft’s XBOX One Game Console in 28nm technology and a cost-reduced derivative in 20nm technology.” The information was later deleted.
However according to two job listings on Microsoft’s official career page, the Redmond based company might already be working on an Xbox One slim.
The first listing is for a Senior Electrical Engineer. Although the job description consists of a lot of technical jargon, the following points caught our eye. “Specifying, designing (schematic capture, PCB layout, BOM, cost analysis), implementing and verifying electrical subsystems on the motherboard,” and “Working with other engineers across disciplines to design, test and debug complex hardware technologies for product development, to meet aggressive cost and schedule goals.”
The first point is rather interesting since the PCB i.e. Printed circuit board of the Xbox One has already been finalized and there won’t be any need to add new specifications or design it all over again, unless the hardware team is reassessing its architecture. The requirement also mentions Bill of Materials i.e. BOM and cost analysis, two important factors for developing something slimmer. The second point adds to this with “aggressive costs.”
The second job listing seeks a CAD i.e. computer aided design engineer who will “support PCB product development for Xbox, Xbox Accessories and Kinect development teams.” Furthermore the candidate will require to work on “design and implementation of PC motherboards, analog/digital circuit design, test vehicles, high speed busses (PCIe, SATA, USB, DDR3, DDR4, GDDR3, Hyper Transport, etc.) are required,” and develop “Layout design supporting RIGID, HDI, FPC, RFPC, COB, Any-layer via manufacturing.” These terms are all related to or are found on a motherboard.
As usual this should be taken with grain of salt as plans can change anytime. Given that it’s only been 14 months since the Xbox One was launched, one should not expect a slim version anytime soon. But the leaked information from the AMD employee and these job listings make it plausible that Microsoft might have begun at least planning for the Xbox One Slim.
What are your thoughts on the matter though? Let us know in the comments whether Microsoft is actually planning a slim version of the Xbox One for the foreseeable future (or not).