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How Microsoft thinks of wearables and smart devices

Mary Branscombe | Sept. 3, 2014
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has talked about the opportunity of connected devices and the more than 200 billion sensors he expects to see. But so far, Microsoft has stuck to handing out developer hardware kits to build your own Internet of things devices. Those kits are currently based on Intel's Galileo board -- a cut-down PC system with no video and the ability to connect Arduino shields.

With Cortana, I find it takes a lot less effort to get through all the things I need to get done. And the more information smart objects can tell you about the world around you, the more helpful those reminders can be.

The "dual user" phrasing Nadella uses when he talks about re-inventing productivity is a clunky way of expressing something very important; these days people "who use technology both at work and in their personal lives" means just about all of us. Anyone who juggles family, work commitments, hobbies and a social life — which also means pretty much all of us — would like some help with getting everything done. But we don't want it at the expense of jumping through hoops to make all the technology that should be helping us work better together. If you have to fumble around in that "mobile moment" you'll give up on smart objects.

So will we see a consumer smartwatch, wearable, or smart object technology from Microsoft any time soon? Only if Microsoft thinks it can get the experience right, give you what you need as you move between work and personal life, and fit in with the right context — and tie it in with Microsoft services.


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