While I was in California last week I decided to visit the new Microsoft Store in
Mission Viejo. While there, the managers graciously allowed me to take pictures
of the store. Frankly, they probably thought it was a little creepy. But
nevertheless, they said go for it, and I did.
Now, Microsoft did one hell of a job making it known that the store existed while
I was at the mall. While I was grabbing coffee in the food court, these stickers
were on each table:
Following that, as you head towards the store you see two large LCD screens in the
centre of the walkway. On one side you have a Rock Band - Beatles installation
running XBox 360 over HD.
On the other side was a promotional video.
Microsoft designed their store quite well. Large floor to ceiling windows for
the storefront, with an inviting light wood flooring to create a very warm atmosphere.
While there were hundreds of people in the store, it was very welcoming.
Along the three walls (because the 4th is glass) is a breathtaking video panorama.
I’m not quite sure how to really describe it. It’s as if the entire wall was
a single display, running in full HD.
In the center of the store is a collection of laptops and assorted electronics like
the Zune’s. There’s probably a logical layout, perhaps by price, or performance.
I wasn’t paying too much attention to that unfortunately.
At the center-back of the store is Microsoft’s Answers desk. Much like the Apple
Genius Bar, except not so arrogant. Yes, I said it. Ironically, the display
for customer names looked very iPod-ish here, and in the Apple Store, the equivalent
display looked like XP Media Center. Go figure.
One of the things I couldn’t quite believe was the XBox 360 being displayed overlay
the video panorama video. The video engine for that must have been extremely
powerful. That had to be a 1080P display for the XBox. As a developer,
I was astonished (and wondered where I could get that app!) A few of the employee’s
mentioned that it was driven by Windows 7. Pretty freakin’ sweet.
Also in the store were a couple Surfaces! This was the first time I actually
had the opportunity to play with one. They are pretty cool.
And that in a few pictures was my trip to the Microsoft store. There was also
a couple pamphlets in store describing training sessions and schedules for quick how-to’s
in Windows 7 that I walked away with.
Microsoft did well.
The other day while I was sitting in the airport in Washington, D.C., I had a random
thought. When the ZuneHD first hit the shelves people were talking about how
Mobile 7 might borrow the look and feel. It’s sleek, easy to use/easy to understand,
and is very simple. So I started thinking about what such an interface might
look like. This is something I did quickly. Nothing was provided by Microsoft.
Nobody has said anything about Mobile 7 design (at least, not at that point, but
nobody cared anyway). This is simply something I thought the interface might
Some things to notice are the list-like menu’s, and the bing search
at the bottom. Blah-blah-blah anti-trust, the point is search is easily accessible,
not necessarily just to Microsoft’s own search engine. It could be Google’s
search too. Also, there is the location-specific information at the top showing
the current weather. Also mimicking the Windows 7 interface is the idea of pinning
things to the home screen such as the Internet Explorer application.
There are some things that should probably change. It feels a little cluttered
at the bottom showing current messages and the appointments color is iffy. There
may not be any need for the middle separation either.
Just a thought…