Windows Azure will power even robots. Microsoft's robotics group is experimenting with cloud computing as a technique to provide more advanced functions to robots while keeping the cost of a particular unit affordable for customers.
At Microsoft's PDC event last month, I had the opportunity to sit down with Tandy Trower, who is general manager of the division. He explained that future robots will not be running in isolation; rather, they will have strong broadband connections.
That will enable Microsoft to offload processing power to the cloud or other computing power within the home; another advantage is a wider range of form factors.
Another advantage is that the cloud preserves investment. When a robot enters the home it learns and adapts to the home space, he explained. But when a new model comes out, that learning is lost. The cloud model stores that learning so that a new home robot can pick up where the other left off.