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Microsoft Roadmap Leak Confirmed: AR, MS TV, XBOX 720 4-Year Plan

Imagine how the Microsoft Surface Windows 8 tablet, future MS smartphones from based on the OS or even just the Nokia Lumia potentially fitting into the following leaked Xbox, MS TV, MS augmented reality glasses and Xbox 720 ecosystem roadmap our editors obtained from a source close to Microsoft.

Look at it. A no brainer. Microsoft almost would have to be brain dead to screw this up. Do you agree? Check this out.

Regardless,Microsoft unleashed its Microsoft Surface tablet to a mixed reaction in the tablet biz. A lot of them ultra critical. Skeptics point out Microsoft’s previous attempts at entering the mobile device market, particularly that of its long ago pen-based failure of a tablet. True, that.

Yet whether Microsoft will be able to pull a Google and succeed at an area it historically failed in — Google, after all, released Google + after two previous social failures — will largely depend on market condition, specs and the tiled user experience its mobile version of Windows 8 brings. Failure doesn’t result in automatic future tries. Anyone remember the Apple Newton?

Like Google, Microsoft was too early in with its earlier attempts. So it didn’t and, everyone at the time saw this coming, didn’t stand a chance with a 1990s-era pen-based tablet.

MS and Google aren’t the only rebounders, either.

MS struck out twice and is back into the mobile biz. Apple struck out at least once with its silly not-ready-for-primetime Apple Newton. Google’s exploding Google+ network is also a third try after two failures.

Failure doesn’t guarantee more failure. Unless, that is, Microsoft has paid no attention to its travails. Here’s a really thorough take from our friends at the excellent pub Business 2.0. A thoughtful review.

Now, with Microsoft resurrecting its tablet biz, I figure another try at the smartphone market is in the cards for Microsoft, too. With its Kin family of devices, Microsoft took at swing and struck out with smartphones.

The big issue with the Kin mobile devices was that they fell somewhere in between a full smartphone and a targeted feature phone, a no man’s land competitive-wise. The low cost phone was a bit more powerful than your typical 2010-era flip phone — and it was a disaster for Microsoft. Honchos in Redmond, WA pulled the whole product line.

This is great reading, if you haven’t seen it, on exactly that rapid pull. Check out the NYT and its great piece on whys and hows of Microsoft uncharacteristically pulling a product just 48 days post launch.

As the Milkman says to the milk truck horse in Thornton Wilder’s classic Our Town, “Whoa, Bessie!”


Image credit: TheGadgeteer

Nomura analyst +Rick Sherlund believes Microsoft is on the same page that I think it is — an all out war to tie up every software and hardware infrastructure it has with phones, tablets, Windows 8 on PCs, Windows TV, Xbox 2015 set top box plans, AR goggles, the new Surface tablet — it is just a matter of time before Microsoft reenters the smartphone business. And, he believes, it is working on its own line of smartphones.

Here’s what IT Magazine in Switzerland reported. Excerpt:

As various U.S. media, quoting from a report by analyst Rick Sherlund of the Nomura Group may, in the last week announced Surface tablets soon joined by their own smartphones. According to industry sources to Microsoft with a contract manufacturer of its own mobile phone for Windows Phone 8 work so Sherlund. Whether it is only a reference platform or to actually be an act for the sale of certain equipment is unclear. He would not be surprised, however, so Sherlund, if would appear in the coming year, a Windows Mobile with Microsoft branding.

Microsoft in the last two years already has shown it is at the very least capable and willing to learn from its spotty history in mobile. Consider how much better Windows 7 is than Vista. And, in my tests, I find Windows 8 and its Metro UI so far to have even more potential than Windows 7, and that’s saying a lot. To get happy Windows 7 users to head to version eight is going to take some doing.

Enter Surface, a line of smartphones and, sources say, a docking station for Windows 8 power users at home and in the enterprise. And a smartphone, analysts say, a whole family to out kin the old failed Microsoft Kin of hardware to play into a hw/sw ecosystem that also includes AR glasses and Microsoft TV. Here is where things get interesting.

Microsoft ought to take a page out of Apple’s business playbook and create a symbiosis of hardware and software across multiple devices, and it’s one of the few players with the infrastructure to do just that. And it will enter with gaming, too, as we know from the leaked Microsoft slides attorneys pulled down from the PDF posting site, ScribD.

We took shots of the leaked slides detailing Microsoft Xbox, Kinect and augmented reality glasses plans going out to 2015. Check them out here if you haven’t seen them. The presentation makes infinite sense.

The pieces fit. It is all in the execution. It’s Microsoft’s game to lose.

But there’s good news for Windows Phone fans and Microsoft ecosystem cheerleaders in general.

With its $1B plus investment and partnership with Nokia in 2011, which all but makes Nokia a weird kind of subdivision of Microsoft, MS has a great hand to play. And it’s got its former top exec, Steve Elop, over at the top over there!

So consider:

The Nokia Lumia 900 is a smartphone worthy of high praise — Apple inventor and co-founder Steve Wozniak told aNewDomain.net’s Gina Smith, Todd Moore and Dan Patterson on The Report how beautiful he considered its UI. It is simple and elegant. That is what Wozniak’s engineering aesthetic is all about, after all.

As I said, it’s the thing these days for pundits and commentators to predict failure around every corner for the incumbent Microsoft, but the overall vision — especially as delivered in the leaked slides and via Surface — is strong. Way strong.

I’ll be watching closely. Got some insight? Want to slide me a message with details you know that should be appearing here? Do it. Could lead to a story for you and a place on staff. Email me at Ant@aNewDomain.net.

Doable? Check out the specs.

For aNewDomain.net, I’m Ant Pruitt.

ED: Disclosure. Gina Smith is the co-author with Steve Wozniak of his memoir, iWoz: How I Invented the Personal Computer and Had Fun Along the Way. (WW Norton, Smith, G. Wozniak, S.) Gina and Wozniak directly profit from book sales.

ED Gina Smith contributed art and reporting for this story.

Below is an excerpt from Our Town (1940) — totally worth watching for the Whoa Bessie comment alone.

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  • Thedapperguru

    What I see the main issue for Microsoft is they try to be everything to everybody. Apple has a niche market and they create for that market. For Microsoft to be innovative they may have to be more focused with their product line and not bloat their features. Apple products are simple for a reason. This is why design is so important. Design is not about how something looks but how something functions.?

    • Ant Pruitt

      Thanks for reading and your comment Thedapperguru!

      True. Apple DOES have simple functionality down pat. It’s important to Apple just as design is.
      -RAP, II

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