The Windows 10 hardware ecosystem

The Windows 10 hardware ecosystem

Everything is business driven.

OS upgrades lead to new hardware sales including computers, tablets, peripherals, etc.

Microsoft hopes that those sales also lead to further investment in the Windows ecosystem of services both free, retail and those available as subscriptions.

There are a wide variety of opinions relating to the readiness of Windows 10 based on the current Insider Preview builds but our weekly poll shows that over 75% of you believe Microsoft will have the OS ready for its 29 July debut.

Upgrades on current hardware will be plentiful since Microsoft is offering Windows 10 to genuine Windows 7 and 8.1 users at no cost for 12 months right out of the gate.

Existing hardware should run Windows 10 very well but the new operating system has a collection of features such as Windows Hello, Microsoft Passport and Continuum that require new hardware to light those elements up.

That is where Microsoft’s hardware partners come into play and the Redmond company showed off a stage full of these Windows 10 ready devices during their COMPUTEX 2015 keynote which happened earlier today.

Nick Parker, Microsoft CVP of the OEM division, showed off these devices including some that had never been seen in public before today.

  • Acer Z3-710 is an all-in-one PC that delivers powerful computing and enhanced audio in a slim, 1.4-inch-thin chassis.
  • ASUS Transformer Book T100HA is a 2-in-1 laptop with a detachable keyboard that boasts up to 14 hours of battery life and a tablet measuring 8.45mm and 580g.
  • ASUS Zen AiO Z240 features the latest quad-core Intel Core i7 CPU, gaming-grade NVIDIA GTX 960M graphics, a 3-D camera and a six-speaker stereo sound system.
  • Dell XPS 15, shown publicly for the first time and optimized for Windows 10, features the same virtually borderless InfinityEdge display that made the XPS 13 an industry leader.
  • A new x2 from HP is a 2-in-1, ultra-portable, “tablet first” detachable — with an innovative magnetic hinge design that makes the device flexible and lappable — and with Windows 10, users can transition seamlessly from tablet to PC mode and back again in an instant.
  • A new HP tablet for mobile productivity has revolutionary note-taking capabilities.
  • A new Toshiba PC enables Windows Hello with the latest in biometric security technology, including a face-authentication camera, an Ultra HD 4K screen and optimization for Cortana.

The form factors of computing devices have also been evolving for quite some time and we see some of them in the list above.

Microsoft showed off two unique devices during this keynote that continue this trend:

FoxxCon Kangaroo

FoxConn Kangaroo is an ultra-portable desktop PC that turns your TV into a full Windows PC, including a fingerprint reader to support Windows Hello and up to six hours of battery life.

Quanta Compute Plug

Quanta Compute Plug is a mini-PC in a power adapter instead of a stick. Plugged into the HDMI port, it turns a TV into a smart computer and enables users to control their TV using Cortana via Bluetooth remote or headset.

So how has the change in Microsoft’s Windows development cycle/process impacted OEMs as they prepare for the launch of the new OS and their hardware offerings?

Let’s take HP as an example. 

I was part of a conference call the other day with Mike Nash, HP’s Vice President of Portfolio Strategy, Customer Experience and Personal Systems, and he talked about this very thing.

"Working closely with Microsoft we designed all our 2015 products to be ready for Windows 10. As a result, customers who purchased or plan to buy a 2015 Windows PC from HP should have a smooth transition to Windows 10."

That close coordination really shines through with devices such as the HP Spectre x360 a 2 in 1 device that HP and Microsoft collaborated on to blend the hardware and software experience into one smoothly performing system.

Microsoft also briefly showed off a new HP ultra-portable tablet first detachable and a new note taking tablet during the keynote that are built to take advantage of the Cortana and Continuum experiences in Windows 10.

When Windows 8 was released (October 2012) less than 4% of the PC’s being sold by retailers had touch capability. After 18 months (May 2014) that number had grown to over 40%.  (Source)

Looking at the hardware that was displayed at CES and now at COMPUTEX it seems that number is going to be obliterated with the devices that are coming to market alongside of Windows 10.

What better way to nudge Windows 10 towards its goal of 1 billion users within 2-3 years ny providing a compelling operating system and hardware to run it on.

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