Never let it be said that Microsoft doesn’t copy its competitors. Because it always has, and always will and has never “innovated” anything apart from marketing hype.
So it is no surprise to read that Microsoft is going to launch a so-called “smartwatch” in a few weeks, according to a report in Forbes. It has dabbled in these waters before, but without any conspicuous success.
While analysts predict that the so-called “wearable” market will be worth millions in a few years, the jury is still well and truly out on whether people will want to pay good money for smartwatches.
Forbes predicted that the Microsoft watch will track your heart rate and work with different operating systems than just Windows. And it claims it will have a battery life of only two days.
Apparently Apple’s smartwatch has to be charged every night, which is a bit of a pain in the butt. There’s no word on pricing.
A report said Microsoft is cutting the licence cost on Windows 8.1 in a bid to offer notebooks costing $250 or less.
Digitimes Research said manufacturers will be offered Windows 8.1 with Bing with a tentative release date of February next year.
Microsoft has the problem that people who already produce notebooks running the Windows 8.1 operating system can’t compete with tablets at retail prices of $250 or lower. So it is aiming to mollify its partners by limiting the cheap version to notebooks with screen sizes 14-inches and below.
That’s unlikely to mollify manufacturers of notebooks – their margins are already cut to the bone.
Microsoft has been pursuing this strategy since the Computex show in June last year, but so far there hasn’t been much sign of progress. It is worried about Google with its Chromebook device but Microsoft’s core revenues depend on fat Windows licensing fees.
Microsoft thinks that there is room for another TV casting dongle and is apparently thinking about releasing a rival to Chromecast.
Redmond has not mentioned the dongle so far but it did pop up in an FCC filing.
The filing lacks much info to identify the device, but it carries the model number HD-10.
The FCC filing says that this device has an HDMI port, Wi-Fi and a USB charging unit.
But if you look at the Wi-Fi Alliance product database you can spot that Microsoft’s HD-10 is described as a Miracast dongle.
Miracast is a wireless standard that lets devices connect to one another and share media. It is not as sexy as the Chromecast or Apple AirPlay. Miracast doesn’t let users queue up multiple files from different sources or play multiplayer games, and it requires media to be played on other devices and sent to the TV, rather than directly from online and cloud sources.
However, this does mean that Microsoft will get its Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 devices casting to the TV which, at the moment, it cannot do.