Where Microsft is now? It is not existent in phones - currently most active computing market. Tablets are mixed bag - on one side, heavy investments in Windows 8 made no returns, on the second side, tablets ARE NOT next big thing - it looks like netbook market all over again, desk computers are saved - and because of that, Windows. Another plus is having mobile apps(Metro apps) on desktop. So what Microsoft can do now:
- Develop around personal clouds. Everyone has its own personal cloud: OneDrive, GDrive, DropBox. There settings for programs, and apps, and their data may live. Why do I need to have MY DATA on Fitbit servers? Instead of excel files - shared between applications? This would strengthen position in privacy perception.
- Maybe it is time, having people from Nokia, to start development of Smart Home, IoT devices, Azure as a backend, Cloud Drives - as an energy consumption(or state) reports storage. Partnership with Ikea?
- XBoxOnePC. Because XBox is really PC, XBox games may run on PCs. Gamers just can use XBox Live like Steam now. This move would make gaming market much broader. (also games in browser initiative looks interesting)
- 'In the Alley' shooter. Currently games that are using Kinect are.. lame? Why MS cannot invest in game studios to create more content for Kinect? An FPS game where all the action is in the alley looks like perfect candidate - where physical agility of gamers can help them to be better, no turning from TV is needed, fast action, totally new genre. And easy to implement. (One of most popular map in Americas Army was Bridge, two teams on each end)
- XBox glasses. Games are huge, very demanding market - it would be perfect testing environment for testing smartglasses before more general use. It is not known now if watches can open new way of computing or it is just dead branch in evolution of computing devices. While Apple and Google are concentrated on them right now it is perfect time to introduce glasses. If watch become a fad, MS can have next platform in their hand, while others have to backtrack.
- Windows Phone. it has little market share, because of that instead of trailing behind Android, and iOS for features it can go the other way: truly 3D interface, or apps that do not need to be installed: just like web pages.
Watch Only future can be easily imagined:
At first watch is a notification machine, and it is known that lot of applications can really function on notification only level: Imagine Foursquare getting GPS data all the time, and if we are on some point of interest it could notify user with One button as a UI: ‘you are at xxxxx, Check in?’. But this can create constant-need-for-interaction hell.
News can be read to some kind of bluetooth headset(like Moto Hint), Social things are little harder - there are lots of movies and images.
But even if there is perfect Siri, language interfaces are hard, because languages are used for communications, not for doing things. Language interface would be like being on Helpdesk all the time, not interesting future.
We can then imagine using watch sensors for gestures, but without external screen all feedback we would get will be sound, or buzzing wrist, not a great experience either.
It is not hard to do AR using sound - when you enter shop, different sounds, or words would indicate something, but this still is a not good substitute for vision, and showing stuff.
So why Google Glasses failed? because it was WATCH attached to face: headlines, notifications, hard interaction by touch, and spoken language, small screen.
(14 September, 2014)