A massive $7.6 billion writedown notwithstanding, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) isn't giving up on first-party hardware quite yet. Not by a long shot. Even though the software giant took a painful impairment from the handset business it acquired, leading to its largest-ever quarterly loss in the company's history, CEO Satya Nadella made it quite clear he remains "committed" to first-party devices -- including phones.
Put another way, Nadella recognizes how incredibly important first-party devices are to Microsoft's delivery strategy and that the massive acquisition made by his predecessor was poorly executed and Microsoft severely overpaid. To that end, the company is now reportedly preparing to announce a handful of new devices at an October event, according to The Verge.
That's a lot of devices
The tech site's resident Microsoft reporter Tom Warren indicates that two new Lumia smartphones are in store, alongside a Microsoft Band 2 and the highly anticipated Surface Pro 4, citing his sources. The company might even have a few surprises up its sleeve.
The Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL are almost surely the two smartphones on tap, as there have been many leaks and rumors surrounding the pair for the past several months. Sporting displays of 5.2 inches and 5.7 inches, these will be bona fide phablets through and through. As such, they may command higher pricing relative to the value offering that Microsoft has been focusing on.
Surface Pro 4 will likely just get internal improvements while keeping the same form factor. Microsoft has made it a priority for accessories to be backward compatible, making it easier for enterprise customers with volume deployments to upgrade without having to buy new docking stations and other peripherals.
A second-generation Microsoft Band 2 is also expected. The first-generation model was announced last October, so an upcoming announcement would fit the timing. The first Microsoft Band had some notable weaknesses, such as the aesthetics, poor battery life, and the fact that it wasn't waterproof. Microsoft will probably address some of these criticisms.
As far as the curve balls, the most likely seems to be a Surface Mini. Microsoft was expected to unveil a smaller version of its tablet last year, but that never played out. But Microsoft inadvertently tipped its hand when references to a Surface Mini were found in some documentation. Make no mistake, the Surface Mini is real -- it just hasn't seen the light of day yet. There has been a secular shift among consumers toward smaller devices, and while Microsoft is doing well addressing the enterprise crowd, a Surface Mini could improve its position in the consumer market.
It's the time of the season
While Windows 10 started rolling out to PCs in late July, Windows 10 Mobile is still in the pipeline. Microsoft had previously confirmed that the operating system variant tailored to mobile devices would launch later in the year, so it's also very likely to make an appearance at the event powering the new devices.
Windows 10 has received a number of criticisms over user data privacy (or lack thereof) and gobbling up cellular data to share said user data when tethered. The latter is of particular importance when it comes to mobile devices that are always connected to cellular data networks. Hopefully, Microsoft has addressed those complaints in Windows 10 Mobile.
Other than that, it seems that Microsoft could be shifting its product-cycle announcements to the fall, which just so happens to be when a certain rival from Cupertino likes to unveil new products. Who will steal the limelight?