Microsoft has been around for a very long time. To many, they are synonymous with PC computing, as their work over the years has come to set the standard for what we expect from our computers both at work and at home. They certainly have a lot of innovation in their past but lately they have been making a lot of waves by both coming out with even more exciting innovations, and making them accessible to everyone.
Of course there was a time when they were mainly known for their work in operating systems. Many poeple knew them from their work on MS-DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System) and Microsoft Windows which have certainly come a very long way over the past few decades. Of course Microsoft has expanded beyond software to deliver exciting and innovative hardware too. I still remember the first Microsoft Mouse very fondly, and since then they’ve gone on to bring us Xbox game consoles, more PC accessories, the Surface, and more.
Now if you want to innovate you’ve got to be looking to the future, rather than the past. The past can certainly inform our next steps but the future is our destination so instead of getting stuck on nostalgia, I thought we could take some time to look ahead to what is happening today and tomorrow with Microsoft and how they continue to innovate. This has certainly been an exciting time at Microsoft with a lot going on. It seems as though they have a new sense of energy, and are driving forward to deliver the most exciting things they can.
Microsoft for Gaming
It was just over a year ago that Microsoft released the Xbox One. This innovative machine does much more than play the most amazing games on the market. It has the ability to really change how you interact with your TV, letting you use voice commands, motion control, gamepads, and even your tablet or smartphone to control your games, TV, movies, music and apps. You can multitask with it. You can enjoy the latest in home entertainment content with it. It’s a fantastic hub for your home entertainment system and adds a new layer of convenience to the things you want to enjoy. If that’s not enough for you, consider that Microsoft is continually working on updates and improvements to the software. You rarely see and devices get as frequently updated as the Xbox One, and certainly not with such significance to each update. It seems like couple of months I’m treated to new features or enhancements to the Xbox I already enjoy. It just keeps getting better.
Micorsoft for Business
Innovations in something as exciting as gaming may not be surprising to many people, but what about the workplace? Well Microsoft manages to innovate there too. Look at Office 365 for example. We’ve all been using Office for years. Now, instead of buying a new copy of the office software suite every few years when there is a major update you can simply subscribe to Office 365 which lets you access your license on multiple machines, and ensures that you’ll always be running the latest version with access to all the most recent changes and improvements that are available. It makes everything so much more convenient and current than older models allowed.
Looking at Hardware, the Microsoft Surface is one of my favourite computers to have used in a very long time. The Surface Pro 3 in particular is an absolutely beautiful piece of machinery. Not only does it work wonderfully as a tablet, running full Windows 8.1 but it works just as well as a mobile PC. I have been using a Surface Pro as my daily work PC since they first became available in Canada and have never regretted it. They’re powerful enough even for HD video editing, yet portable and convenient enough for me to carry around every day. No longer do I need to carry both a notebook PC and a tablet—I get the best of both worlds with one device. The added touch of the Surface’s Stylus was the cherry on the proverbial sundae for me, letting me write, draw, and paint naturally and accurately in a way I never thought I could on a mobile device, and adding a whole new dimension to the convenience and ease of use.
Microsoft for Everything
Their innovations continues to things that you might not expect—mice and keyboards. Since the 1980s Microsoft has made some of the best mice and keyboards out there, and they continue to push the limits of technology. It’s always surprising because you can never guess how accessories will change. It’s an area where we’re all used to what we think should exist. We all know what a keyboard should be like, yet Microsoft will innovate and show us that more is indeed possible. One of the newer innovations is their Universal Foldable Keyboard (just announced a couple weeks ago). What they’ve done here is remixed the Type Cover keyboard from the Surface in to a hardware-independent Bluetooth keyboard. This is very thin and light, and even folds in half for an amazingly compact design. Yet it works as a fully functional keyboard, compatible with iPad, iPhone, Android and Windows devices. it lets you work from just about anywhere on any device. It’s hard to imagine a more convenient keyboard that somehow manages to be so portable and easy to use without sacrifice. You can even toggle between connecting with two different devices with ease. Its spill-resistant, and turns itself on and off instantly when it’s open or shut. This keyboard is amazingly small and subtle yet is somehow one of the most exciting things to come out of this year’s Mobile World Conference.
Microsoft for the future
Of course the big innovation that everyone is looking forward to this year is Windows 10. This is expected to be truly exciting. To start with, if you’ve got Windows 7 and up already you may be able to upgrade for free within the first year. The OS is designed to keep itself up to date and work with you across devices. They’ve integrated a whole new web browsing experience, the OS integrates with Xbox on Windows, to help you stream your games, connect with friends and do more with your off-time. The OS also supports universal apps which means that the amount of software that will be available on Windows machines will grow at an amazing pace. You’ll be able to work seamlessly across all your Windows gadgets. Of course the innovation doesn’t stop there. They even announced Microsoft HoloLens with Windows 10 to bring high-definition holograms into your world to make your digital content seem as real as anything else.
With everything we’ve been hearing from Microsoft over the past couple of years, it’s no wonder that people in the tech world are becoming increasingly excited whenever Microsoft has an announcement to make. You would never guess that this company is decade’s old at all, with all the freshness, and energetic spirit of innovation they continually deliver. Not only do they show us exciting and new ways to do things, but they make it accessible to the average person too. Nobody is quite sure what will be coming next from Microsoft but surely it will be something worth paying attention to.