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Friday Briefing: Microsoft’s Hardware Plans Coming into Focus

It’s Friday! Time to breeze through a short breakdown of some of the week’s hottest tech trends.

Remember to cast your vote in the survey at the end. Not only does this let us know which story has you most tuned in, but you’ll also get to see what other Wall Street Daily readers are into.

Now, on to this week’s topics…

Tech Trend #1: Microsoft’s Tablet Plans Getting Clearer

During a last week’s Friday Briefing, I mentioned that Asus’ (TPE:2357) founder, Stan Shih, said that PC makers shouldn’t be worried about Microsoft’s (Nasdaq: MSFT) new Surface tablet. He claimed that even though Microsoft designed the hardware for the device – a first for the company – its hardware-making days were only temporary. So its PC and tablet partners should see it simply as a way to build interest in the new operating system. If you recall, I didn’t share the same opinion.

Now it looks like I’m not the only one. Patrick Moorhead, president of Moor Insights & Strategy, told CNET: “If Microsoft had seen compelling enough plans from [PC makers], they wouldn’t have needed to do this.”

Also, according to “a source at a large company that’s part of the ecosystem,” as CNET puts it, “[PC makers] are pissed off and they are looking for strategies now to not only counter the iPad but counter Surface.”

To top it off, Fast Company points out that a few patents are in the works that are connected to the company that indicate that Microsoft’s foray into the hardware space isn’t just a passing fad. The patents in question involve allowing multiple user accounts on a single device (something current tablets and smartphones can’t do), advanced display and navigation features, and remote control abilities.

Still think Microsoft’s hardware plans are going to be short-lived?

Tech Trend #2: The Biggest News for Google This Week Isn’t What You Think

At this week’s Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) I/O developer conference, the company unveiled its new Nexus tablet and showed off Google Glass. But while everyone is focusing on what the new tablet means for Google’s future as a hardware maker, I’m most excited about another announcement made during Wednesday’s keynote.

Android’s director of product management, Hugo Barra, said that the company now ships one million devices a week that have Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology built in.

As long-time Wall Street Daily readers know, we’ve been discussing the growing mobile payments trend, which involves making purchases with a phone through an embedded NFC chip, for a while now. But one of the biggest obstacles to widespread mobile payment adoption is the fact that not many devices with NFC are in the wild yet. But with a million rushing out to consumers on a weekly basis, mobile payment adoption should pick up steam in short order.

Tech Trend #3: Is RIM a Glutton for Punishment?

Yes, I’m back to talking about Research in Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM). Again. But the constant stream of boneheaded moves makes it tough to keep the company out of my sights.

Last time I wrote about RIM, it was handing its ex-CEOs an outrageous sum of cash, right after it announced that it was on a mission to cut costs.

Now, just two weeks later, the company has two more strikes against it. First, it announced dismal earnings yesterday, reporting a first quarter loss of $0.37 per share, more than five-times worse than analysts were expecting. Shares have plunged more than 19% on the news.

On top of that, that its new BB10 operating system – which was originally meant to launch this year – is now scheduled to hit in 2013. Why? According to the company, “the integration of these [new] features and the associated large volume of code into the platform has proven to be more time consuming than anticipated.”

This is probably the worst thing that could have been announced, considering the new operating system was the company’s only saving grace. But a 2013 launch gives plenty of time for Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) to launch the iPhone 5 along with the new iOS 6 operating system. At that point, no one’s going to be talking about BB10 anymore.

CEO, Thorsten Heins, is more optimistic, though. He says, “I am confident that the first BlackBerry 10 smartphones will provide a ground-breaking next generation smartphone user experience.”

Are you going to wait around and find out? Let us know in the comments, Facebook or Google Plus.

Cast Your Vote!

Let us know which topic interested you the most…

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That’s all for today. Have a great weekend!

Good investing,

Justin Fritz

Justin Fritz

, Executive Editor

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