How far can you go with crowd-sourcing? Microsoft seems to be looking for answer as it initiates the next step in the Windows Insiders program, by asking enthusiasts to help with the hardware design for the next Windows device, reported Windows Central.
Specifically, selected Windows Insiders have received an email from Microsoft dubbed "Create Together" that's basically a call-to-action for collaboration on designing "a device that will empower you to do more and tell your story, your way." The full content of the email has been posted on Twitter by a Windows Insider.
— Ad!tya (@AdityaGhode) November 25, 2015
It's unclear whether this program is just running in India, as the tweeter above thanks @MicrosoftIndia, or if it's part of a wider program.
The foreshadowing for this program seemingly appeared in one of Gabe Aul's tweets not too long ago, where he contemplated a suggestion from users to let Windows Insider test unreleased hardware from Microsoft. One of the key points in Microsoft's culture changing efforts has been listening to customer feedbacks for improvement, so this looks like a natural evolution of that ideal, if not curiously risky.
The interesting thing to note, also, is that the potential device will be built "by a Microsoft partner," the meaning of which seems clear: this will neither be a Lumia device nor a Surface phone, nor any device brand that Microsoft currently owns. Instead, this will either belong to an existing device line from a third-party OEM like Samsung Ativ or HTC X, or an entirely new brand; my bet is on the latter, since this way of creating device strongly resembles what Google has been doing with its Nexus line.
Perhaps we will have a crowd-designed Microsoft Nexus-equivalent in the near future? This would be very interesting indeed, since it would put Microsoft in a peculiar position, both more and less than Google, with its own device brand to compete with the new phone. Whichever way it goes, we will update on additional details once available.