As Taiwanese DigiTimes reported today, Microsoft is cooperating closely with four Taiwanese enterprises and a local research organization through its Microsoft Technology Center in Taiwan (MTC) to develop various multimedia devices, Microsoft COO Kevin Turner pointed out at yesterday a press conference held in Taipei.
Cooperating with Microsoft are High Tech Computer (Smartphones, PDA phones, mobile live digital TV phones based on Windows Mobile platform), Arima Communications (Multimedia handsets technologically based on MWA (Windows Media Audio), WMV (Windows Media Video) and WMDRM (Windows Media Digital Rights Management)), Alpha Networks (Digital media players, network DVD players, wireless audio players, HDTV hybrid set-top boxes and IPTV, all technologically based on WMA, WMV and WMDRM), Sunplus Technology (Addition of Windows Media Photo technology to processors of digital cameras) and the Electronics & Optoelectronics Research Lab (Application of WMA and WMV technology to FVD (forward versatile disc), a self-developed red-laser high-definition DVD standard) under the government-sponsored Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI).
That's a quite interesting piece of news, if you take an interview with Steve Ballmer he recently gave the German newspaper "Die Welt". Ballmer confirmed, that Microsoft is opening itself to compete with Apple in terms of hardware as well. While Microsoft have no intention to make its own PCs, he can imagine to produce its own PDAs, Smartphones and Portable Media devices where appropriate. While he said, that self-developed and manufactured hardware should be the exception, Microsoft is open to do so anyway if the market requires it. Nevertheless, he also confirmed to continue the way with its ODMs as started in the past.
Nevertheless, he hasn't made any announcement yet nor he confirmed anything concrete: "How these could look like, we will communicate to you, if it is ready to communicate".
But anyway, if I take the DigiTimes article and put it in relation with Die Welt's interview, it could become true that we might see sooner or later the highly integrated "Portable Media Center Camera Phone". At least Microsoft seems to have set the course for it already.
Cheers ~ Arne