Microsoft has released a preliminary version of its latest version of Windows Media Player for enthusiasts and early adopters fro testing and feedback.

The new version has been designed to take account of the portable media centers out later this year, however the most notable new feature is the player's ability to offer music and video from different vendors directly through the player; Microsoft's answer to Apple's music download store iTunes.

“We are testing a new concept currently called the 'Digital Media Mall' that offers a selection of online music stores and video services that work seamlessly in the player,” Microsoft said in a statement.

Microsoft said the new player will also work with subscription style music services, where users can stream and listen to songs for a subscription fee rather than paying for each download.

A full version will be released later this year.