We just received word yesterday that Microsoft will be holding an event on October 6, with the invites revealing that this event will be all about “exciting news” concerning Windows 10 devices. Which devices Microsoft means, exactly, is still a mystery, but the rumor mill is rampant with speculation on what we hope to see during this very important event.
It’s safe to say that this event will probably be one of the most important events for Microsoft in recent history. In recent years, the Redmond-based company has faced scrutiny for their tablet-centric Windows 8 operating system, as well as their Windows Phone 8 platform and its lackluster app store offerings. Between their PC and their mobile OS, Microsoft has seen better days.
Then Windows 10 comes along over the summer, and as a Windows user I find that the changes made in Windows 10 are a breath of fresh air. I wouldn’t call it perfect or phenomenal, but they fixed the areas that needed the work. It’s speedy, intuitive, and it looks pretty good. I am much happier with Windows 10 than I was with Windows 8 or 8.1. So it’s not necessary an unrealistic hope to have the same expectation for Windows 10 Mobile – and its accompanying new hardware – next month.
Since its acquisition of Nokia’s device business, Microsoft hasn’t really done anything spectacular with it. They’ve kept the Lumia name around thus far for their low to mid-range selection of devices they’ve released over the past year, but they’ve been silent on the flagship front. That is expected to change after this event, with the hopeful unveiling of the rumored Lumia 950 and 950 XL devices. In the Western world where flagships are almost everything, Microsoft is really going to have to pull out the stops in order to impress people with them – especially after being so quiet for so long.
Then, of course, you have the Surface Pro 4. Given the recent announcement of the obviously competing iPad Pro, the Surface Pro 4 will hopefully put Microsoft back in direct competition with the iPad Pro, given that the Surface Pro 3 is already over a year old at this point. The Surface Pro 3 is already quite different than the iPad Pro and holds its own in several regards, but it's good to maintain a yearly refresh to keep consumer interest.
There is also rumor of a new version of Microsoft Band, and perhaps more information on the intriguing HoloLens device, which still remains a mystery when it comes to pricing and release date.
Overall, Microsoft has a lot to gain from this event if they’ve planned it correctly. I generally try to keep my expectations for these events low, but in Microsoft’s case I think the bar has been risen. I know that Microsoft is perfectly capable of creating a strong mobile operating system, and I’m hoping that this is the year that they’ve actively addressed (and fixed) the issues that plagued past attempts. I loved a lot of things about my Lumia 928 when I used it; the app ecosystem was not one of them.
As for everything else, I feel Microsoft already does a pretty good job on those fronts. For me, this is all about convincing people that Microsoft’s smartphones are (hopefully) to be taken seriously, and are now worth checking out.