Microsoft appears to have pulled the plug on Project Hobart which was apparently meant to offer Xbox TV streaming through an HDMI dongle at $99. The reason for shutting it down is unknown but the fact that it wasn’t unveiled at last month’s E3 convention which was where Brad Sams, executive editor at Petri, said it would be unveiled when he wrote about in June.
Why a Xbox TV dongle anyways?
Between Apple TV, Fire TV, Google’s own HDMI dongle, the $35 Chromecast, Roku boxes and a number of other ways to stream content to your TV it’s a bit of a mystery why Microsoft would even bother especially given the low-tech nature of its planned device that was meant to have a first production run of 300,000.
Microsoft has enjoyed a fair bit of success with its hardware offerings in the last year with the Surface line of tablets finding a considerable niche and user base much to the surprise of numerous tech writers and analysts. A couple of weeks ago, Microsoft also unveiled its Surface Studio for the (rich) artist and it’s an absolutely gorgeous foray into the desktop market, a first for Microsoft, and many believe that it could steal some thunder from Apple’s iMac line with a 28″ display that is a full touch screen. On top of the display that folds down and can be drawn on its “under the hood” power is truly impressive.
Microsoft has also recently released the Xbox One S console to favorable reviews and Phil Spencer, the chief of Project Scorpio, which will be the most powerful console gaming system every built when released next year says that the project is on track and it’s highly anticipated among proper gamers.
With all that technology a dongle seems a bit of a step back and may have led to the company pulling the plug.
New (ish) Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella hasn’t hesitated to kill projects in the past. When many expected to unveil the Surface Mini in New York City, the CEO never mentioned the device when he instead introduced the Surface Pro 3. It’s also believed that Microsoft had planned to unveil a competitor to Amazon’s Echo which runs its virtual assistant Alexa with its own device running Microsoft’s assistant Cortana just a few weeks ago. That never happened either, and rumors have it it also canceled a wearable called the Band before abandoning the idea.
Again, there are plenty of dongles and Microsoft likely did the right thing in axing its offering.