Although Microsoft's marketing department likes to keep its execs on a short leash, you really should listen to its CEOs when they espouse launch schedules. They are, after all, CEOs and tend to have the big picture (like dates) related to major projects that drive revenue. Recall 2008, when Bill Gates told the world that Windows 7 would arrive in 2009 causing Microsoft marketing to scramble-out a redaction attempting to reset expectations for a 2010 launch. With Windows 7 now officially launching in October, well, guess who was right? Fast forward to last month when Steve Ballmer made a similar slip saying Project Natal would arrive in 2010 causing Microsoft to issue a statement that a launch date had not been confirmed. Now DigiTimes is reporting that Aptina has won the exclusive rights to equip Natal with a 1.3 megapixel CMOS image sensor required for Natal's camera. More importantly, the Taiwanese rumor rag says that shipments of the "new version of the Xbox 360 console" are slated for the second half of 2010 -- a date that sounds like Fall to us as previous rumored. Of course, DigiTimes was absolutely certain that Microsoft was integrating Blu-ray into future (that'd be 2008) Xbox 360 consoles too, so take this rumor for what it is: rumor.

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