Microsoft has invited tech journalists from all over the country to Los Angeles for a top-secret event on Monday afternoon. No one knows exactly what Microsoft plans to say or do at the event, but the indication is that it will be big. So, it’s only natural that umors are flying like crazy.
Will Microsoft announce that it has purchased RIM? Or, perhaps, Nokia? Will the company announce a partnership with a movie or television studio to bring content to living rooms via the XBox 360? Maybe it bought Hulu?
The most credible rumor out there right now seems to be the idea that Microsoft will introduce a new tablet–one manufactured by the company itself (remember that Microsoft deals primarily in software and usually partners with hardware manufacturers to produce products).
The iPad is still dominating the tablet market, but recent sales figures have shown that Android-powered tablets are starting to make a little bit of headway. Then, of course, there is the Kindle Fire, which is still performing very well at the budget end of the tablet spectrum. Microsoft surely doesn’t want to get left behind (any more than it already has).
Insiders (like the knowledgeable folks at All Things D) say that they expect Microsoft to unveil a 7-inch tablet running some version of the Windows Phone operating system (rather than Windows RT or Windows 8) to compete directly with the Kindle Fire. It would also presumably compete with the rumored 7-inch Android tablet that Google is expected to unveil later this month.
Microsoft recently invested in Barnes & Noble’s Nook, an e-reader that is a direct competitor to the Kindle. It also has some pretty impressive partnerships with video content providers (Netflix, etc.) already in place on the XBox ecosystem, so moving them over to a tablet would be pretty easy.
As of now, there is no concrete evidence of what Microsoft is planning–just speculation. Speculation is what drives the tech blogging community, however, so it should be a lively few days.