A representative from Microsoft's research team in Asia let loose that the team is already working on the next iteration of Natal before the first one is even released.
Microsoft's motion control system, which is currently called Project Natal, is quite the technological innovation. But as Hsiao-Wuen Hon, managing director of Microsoft Research Asia, the company's research team isn't resting on its laurels this time and is busy trying to advance the tech for the next version. Hon says that this is contrast to how Microsoft used to function, admitting that the company was slow to adopt new techonologies in the past.
"When we do invent something first like the Natal kind of scenario, while we have a researcher working with the product group for the first version, we already have a researcher thinking about the second version down the road so we certainly hope we will continue to be holding that technology. I really love what Microsoft is doing," Hon said.
Hon said that Microsoft is trying to change its image as an innovator of consumer electronics, instead of the larger corporate software on which the company built its fortune. This prevented them from taking risks and making the equivalents of the iPod or TiVo.
"Looking back I can say we probably should have done more in the consumer space. When we talk about an 'enterprise user' they are actually the same person because when they go home they are consumers," Hon said.
"We are aware that we are not necessarily a media darling. People don't perceive us as innovative as we actually are. Many of them use our products but don't know it," he continued.
Microsoft seems to be betting that Natal is the next big thing in consumer electronics, as they move away from graphical user interfaces into what they coin as natural user interaction (NUI).
"We've spent an unreasonable amount of money in order to build prototypes of things that predict the future," said Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer at Microsoft.
It remains to be seen whether Natal ends up being the future or if those future-predicting robots cough up another Zune...
Source: Sydney Morning Herald