Like Android devices, computers running Windows are quite diverse, offering different and often inconsistent user experiences. Microsoft is increasingly moving to address this, among other issues to further marginalize its rivals such as the Mac and the emergent Chromebooks.
Industry watchers should already know that Microsoft is not very forthcoming about its strategy with respect to how it pursues competitive advantage. A recently concluded WinHec event in China, however, gave us a peek at how Redmond plans to beat competition.
The strategy came by way of criteria it outlined for Window OEMs to qualify in what the company calls as next-generation Windows devices. There were three main categories listed: design, experience, and performance.
According to Microsoft, the design language of the next generation Windows computer should follow the definition of cool. It cited the all-in-one and convertible computer form factor as examples. The idea seems anchored on the goal to distinguish itself from the elegant but largely stale design languages sported by the MacBook, for example.
To underscore this, Microsoft lauded OEM innovations such as those devices that feature bezel-free displays.
The company also want OEMs to manufacture devices that builds on Windows 10 features. For example, there is the case of the precision touchpads that integrate the system's navigation features.
In terms of experiences, Microsoft wants to pull away from the competition through the so-called hero features. According to the company, devices should have at least two of these to provide enhanced user experiences. Excellent examples include the Windows Hello, which could involve facial recognition, fingerprint scan, or both. There is also Cortana and the integration of touch displays and pens.
During the WinHec keynote, Microsoft officials were not able to elaborate on this area more. They merely ticked off key examples such as longer battery life, quicker boot up, and better app management, among others.
To provide more insights, however, one can turn to the latest Microsoft effort to produce a streamlined edition of Windows 10. This is now called Windows 10 Cloud and will purportedly run from Microsoft's app store.
The emerging idea is to produce devices that have long battery life, could perform well, and basically take a beating in order to appeal to a specific segment of the market. This seems to be aimed at devices running the ChromeOS, which are now the best-selling computers in the education market. Reports revealed that Chromebooks boast of at least 50 percent of the U.S. educational tech market.
So in the outlined set of criteria, Microsoft seems bent on achieving a coherent narrative for Windows devices to ensure that they succeed against the competition.
"Microsoft is continuing to build on the success of Windows 10 and delivering exciting platform investments that inspire hardware innovation and deliver differentiated value to our customers," Microsoft said.