Microsoft is hosting a massive event on October 6, held at the Skylight at Moynihan Station in New York City. At the event, Microsoft is expected to unveil a slew of new devices including Lumia smartphones and Surface tablets running Windows 10 OS, new Band wearable, and slimmer Xbox console, apart from some other major announcements.
It is believed that the company will touch all of its three segments that include hardware, software, and cloud and enterprise, at this event. The company has been making headlines for its conference for long now. After all, this is going to be one of the most important launch events for the tech major, especially after Satya Nadella took the helm.
Microsoft has struggled with its smartphone business and has not seen a massive breakthrough despite producing nice devices. The company has not come up with its new flagship for a long now, which shows that it has been working hard towards its struggling Lumia smartphone segment. While the Windows 10 OS has been widely adopted since its launch, the company is yet to unveil its mobile iteration, which may help it alter its position in smartphone segment. Therefore, this event will be crucial to somewhat decide what future will hold of Microsoft's Windows Phone device fate.
Slouching smartphone market share:
Microsoft acquired Nokia's mobile business early last year, and set up a new division for devices, called Microsoft Mobile Devices. Under the leadership of Nadella, who is currently serving out his second year as Microsoft CEO, the company is attempting to bump up its smartphone device market, while focusing on cloud and enterprise segment at the same time. The company has witnessed a drop in its smartphone sales in emerging markets like India, where its market share dropped from 9.8 percent to 8.1 percent between the first and second quarter of 2015, and down from 13.4 percent in the first quarter of 2014, according to Counterpoint Research. It will end up with about 3 percent of market share globally, as per IDC.
With the launch of its new generation Lumia smartphones, including the high-end Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL, and the budget Lumia 550, Microsoft is hoping to improve its market share. However, the company does not seem to be targeting just the mass market, and instead focusing more on select segments such as businesses and price sensitive consumers, where it can have some sort of an advantage over its rivals. For this, it is bringing out a unified Windows 10 OS experience across devices.
Cross platform Windows 10 OS:
This is for the first time that Microsoft's Windows operating system will bridge personal computers and mobile devices, by offering a seamless experience across systems. With the latest OS version on board, users will get similar experience, be it on a PC or a smartphone or a tablet running on Windows 10 OS. Microsoft has already rolled out Windows 10 OS for PCs and laptops, and will now be launching it for smartphones as well.
It is known that Android has maintained the top slot for being the most popular mobile operating system across the world, with about 81 percent of market share and outpacing iOS and Windows OS. In such a case, this transition shows that mobile devices are critical to Microsoft's future plans, despite slow penetrations of the Windows Phone OS smartphones in past. Seems like, Microsoft is hoping that the cross-device functionality of Windows 10 OS may help it in snatching away a significant market share from Android in near future. The company is aiming to have the new OS version installed on 1 billion devices (overall) by mid-2018, which would give a push to its Windows smartphones as well.
Do a ‘Surface':
Microsoft's last gen Surface line up did quite well for the company, but the series was not always a hit among users. The company's Surface line of tablets that can be docked to a keyboard to work as a Laptop, was once a struggling business for the company. However, things changed with the launch of the Surface Pro, which is a business version of the tablet. Microsoft my however repeat the success story, this time with its Windows smartphones. The company is working on price, hardware and software of its smartphones, in hope that this will finally push the Windows smartphones uptake and sales in the market.
Beat the heat from rivals:
It is not just the smartphone business that is at risk, as the gruesome competition in all segments may also affect Microsoft's upcoming devices. Microsoft Lumia smartphones will be pitting against rivals like Samsung Galaxy A8 and Galaxy S6, Sony Xperia Z5 series smartphones, OnePlus 2, Apple iPhones and many more. It will be more of a competition between the operating systems, than the hardware of the devices. Similarly, the new generation Surface Pro tablets will feel the heat from rivals like Apple's recently launched iPad Pro 12.9-inch and Samsung's Galaxy Note Pro.
In the wearable department, the company is working on the Band 2, which is the successor to its last year launched Band fitness wearable. The Band 2, will be facing tough competition from not only the top OEMs but also from Chinese players Xiaomi, and others like FitBit in this space.
With just a day left for the company to announce the new products, only time will tell how it will fare against the rivals in all segments.