When Panos Panay took the stage at the Surface event back in October – he iterated and reiterated the fact that Microsoft is no longer interested in competing with the existing big players; the new Microsoft under Nadella, would rather build new categories of hardware that would make the existing ones obsolete.
The Surface Studio screams of this strategy – it is an All-in-One, except the only thing that is common between it and your average All-in-One is that it packs all the hardware within itself. Now, sure, that is the definition of All-in-One – but Microsoft innovated upon that idea, and turned the category upside down by building something unique and thoughtful.
Why could none of the Microsoft OEM’s have made the Surface Studio? Who knows – one thing is certain, Microsoft is confident that it can figure out solutions to challenges no one has dared to defeat yet.
The ‘ultimate mobile device’ comment comes from a recent interview with Nadella by Australia’s Financial Review – there’s a whole lot of questions in the interview that might catch your interest, so you can follow that link and read the full thing.
Here’s what we are focusing on:
“We will continue to be in the phone market not as defined by today’s market leaders, but by what it is that we can uniquely do in what is the most ultimate mobile device.”
He said this in reference to the efforts that HP has put into its Elite x3. The statement is notable – we will talk more about that below.
“Therefore [with Nokia assets], we stopped doing things that were me-too and started doing things, even if they are today very sub-scale, to be very focused on a specific set of customers who need a specific set of capabilities that are differentiated and that we can do a good job of.”
This is where the whole Surface Studio deal comes in – it is a product focused on a particular set of (creative) customers, who would be glad to have a PC with more natural form of interaction; the Surface Studio delivers exactly that, to the niche, and it does a good job of it.
The Ultimate Mobile Device
How will the device be ‘ultimate’? What will it run on? What will it look like? Who knows – the point is that it won’t be yet another high-end mobile device, but rather a device focusing on a niche.
Of course, we are only speculating that – in no way, we could confirm such a thing – but his comments do heavily hint at this possibility.
There is also, Project Cobalt – the initiative that’s supposed to bring x86 app emulation to the ARM64 processors. It’s an incredibly ambitious project and one that could make or break the One-Windows 10 ecosystem that Microsoft is seeking.
The ability to run any Windows application on the phone via Continuum is going to be ground-breaking. If it works well and is marketed right – perhaps to the enterprise – then we could see Microsoft make a comeback in the mobile space.
Microsoft has rebooted its mobile program twice so far – the original Windows Mobile existed before iPhone became a thing; Windows Phone 7, redefined Microsoft’s mobile offerings and brought a unique take on the mobile interface – albeit, with a failure.
Windows Mobile 10, now, has been around for more than a year, and hasn’t helped Microsoft’s market share – it wouldn’t be surprising to see another reboot, however painful it may be.
Time will tell what Microsoft is hiding behind the curtain, but seeing the current trends with regards to hardware coming out of Microsoft – it will most likely be ambitious, and equally pricey.