Microsoft's mysterious media event scheduled for tomorrow has generated a lot of speculation about what the software giant has up its sleeve, with many bets being placed on a new tablet to challenge Apple's iPad.
Now we are hearing that while the tech titan is indeed expected to unveil a tablet, the new product is being developed in conjunction with Barnes & Noble, and will focus on entertainment, according to a TechCrunch report. Another source said that Xbox streaming is also on tap for the tablet.
The report suggested that a new Microsoft tablet would be aimed at Amazon's Kindle Fire, rather than Apple's slate. While Amazon's tablet is popular in the e-reading sector, its modified version of the Android operating system tends to make it less optimum for web surfing than its focus of e-reading and streaming video through Amazon Prime. Additionally, the two booksellers have for years been locked in a bitter battle for content and customers.
Not long after the media invitations to tomorrow's event in Los Angeles surfaced, speculation swirled that Microsoft is getting ready to unveil a tablet running either Windows 8 or Windows RT. The Wrap went so far as to report that the new device would be a "Microsoft-manufactured tablet" that would "put the company in direct competition with giant rival Apple".
The two companies announced a partnership in April, in which Microsoft invested US$300 million into a new Barnes & Noble subsidiary that would focus on Barnes & Noble's Nook digital and college businesses. In exchange, Barnes & Noble agreed to load its Nook digital bookstore with Windows 8, the software giant's next-generation operating system that launches later this year.