Microsoft, as with most technology-oriented companies, likes to keep us on our toes. That's why, when they announced on Thursday that they would reveal something big today, they knew the suspense would be fairly killing those who care about such things over the weekend.
Their plan worked, because since the announcement-about-an-announcement, speculation and rumors have been swirling around the interwebs regarding what's coming our way. Most people are in agreement that it has something to do with a Kindle Fire-like tablet, since Microsoft did announce a couple of months ago that they were partnering up with Barnes & Noble to create a NOOK app for Windows 8.
While that's not exactly run-of-the-mill news, it's fair to say that Microsoft probably has something a little edgier up their sleeve. They'll have to, because they're a little late in the game for a tablet, and after the sizzle-and-fizzle of earlier products like the Zune--which was meant to rival the iPod and never came close--it's considered laughable by some that Microsoft would even consider coming out with new hardware.
"It could be about hardware, but after the Kin failure and the Zune failure I can't picture the person at Microsoft who has the balls to pitch a Microsoft tablet," Silicon Valley analyst Rob Enderle said.
Of course, the iPad has been a major success for Apple, and with more and more updates and rumors about possible updates, Apple users are foaming at the mouth for their favored brand. Just last week, they announced that popular voice-assistant Siri will be available on iOS6 for the new iPad. It's highly unlikely that Microsoft could pull out something that will top it, especially this late in the game.
That's where the rumor about a tablet with Xbox Live streaming capabilities comes in. With Microsoft making a defined move towards the Xbox being their featured product, that rumor might not be too far off the mark. And with something as unique and beloved as Xbox capabilities, Microsoft might just find the push they need to gain some leverage in the market.
Enderle says that because they've kept this announcement very close to their vests, it's clear to him that today will be all about hardware. We'll have to wait and see, however, as the big reveal won't happen until 6:30 EDT.