Noted: Your coffee maker. Running Windows. Again.

From Ars Technica, “Microsoft’s new vision: a computer in every… coffee maker?”:

If you need your alarm clock to do double-duty as secretary for your day’s appointments, or you want a coffee maker that knows you’re grinding the beans too fine, Microsoft and Fugoo want to talk to you later this year. The two companies are working on “the next generation” of household appliances, gadgets, and accessories that are not only connected to the Internet, but also utilize a standard API for communicating with each other.

Microsoft touts a few fictional devices in its announcement of this technology and was showing off two concept products at its CES booth. The first is a “net clock” that can display stock information, local traffic, and weather reports in addition to, you know, actually telling time. Another is a digital photo frame that goes far beyond slideshows to display news headlines, sports scores, or full-length movies.

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Fugoo interface:

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One of the reactions to the announcement, mac the naïf:

An x86 seems like a rediculous CPU to use in a coffee maker, unless Windows is a requirement.

Plausible scenarios:

Coffee machines come with a mandatory exclusive 2-year contract with Starbucks, which tracks your coffee consumption and sells the information to your health insurer.

Hackers break into your coffee machine and substitute 0xdecaf.

Your coffee machine tries to upgrade its software and fails, flooding the kitchen with packets and taking down the refrigerator and microwave in the process.

The milk in your refrigerator spoils, and it responds by ordering 65536 gallons, with the attached side-of-0xdeadbeef upgrade.

In Why Apple doesn’t do “Concept Products” I tried to explain why removing real-world constraints from (prototype) design often results in marketplace failure. Of course, only if Microsoft could actually learn from failure. Remember Microsoft’s Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT)? Hint, hint. Not even the Fossil Microsoft Wrist Net MSNDirect SPOT Watch from half a decade ago?

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