Microsoft on Tuesday held an event in New York City where it unveiled a laptop, a tablet, three Lumia smartphones and a fitness band — all running Windows 10 — along with a slew of other products.
It also announced new apps for Windows 10, including Box, Facebook, Instagram, Flipagram, Candy Crush Soda Saga and Uber. All of the apps will be available on the new devices.
“Microsoft’s now working to showcase that it’s building out its ecosystem based on Windows 10,” said Susan Schreiner, an analyst at C4 Trends.
“They’re really trying to unify their prods around Windows 10, and that seems to be in line with Nadella’s vision,” she told TechNewsWorld.
Microsoft’s Magic Book
Microsoft’s top-of-the-line product is its Surface Book laptop. Taking Microsoft’s two-in-one concept to the next level, it breaks out into three configurations: a portable clipboard, which results when the 13.5-inch display is detached from the keyboard; a laptop; and what Microsoft calls a “creative canvas” — turning the screen around and reattaching it to the keyboard to use it in a pen-first mode.
The Surface Book has a sixth-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, up to 16 GB of memory, a multitouch PixelSense screen and a Surface Pen. A discrete graphics chip is offered as an option.
Microsoft promises the Book will have up to 12 hours of battery life.
Pricing begins at US$1,500.
Microsoft also unveiled the Surface Pro 4 tablet, with a multi-position kickstand and an improved keyboard.
It has a 12.3-inch PixelSense display and uses sixth-generation Intel Core M, i5 or i7 processors.
The Surface Pro 4 Type Cover has a redesigned mechanical keyboard and an optional fingerprint reader.
It has up to nine hours of battery life.
Pricing starts at $900.
Microsoft is taking preorders for both the Surface Book and Surface Pro 4; both products will be available in the United States and Canada Oct. 26.
“What’s going to be interesting is, Apple will be making an announcement for the iPad before the end of the year,” Schreiner commented.
That might spark another free-for-all in the tablets market.
The Surface Book is “arguably the most powerful thin laptop on the planet,” remarked Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group. “It uses Intel’s Skylake and Nvidia graphics to get there.”
It is one of the first products out of Microsoft’s new conjoined lab, Enderle told TechNewsWorld, and “looks like what [Apple chief design officer] Jony Ive might design if he were allowed to bridge the iPad and MacBook.”
Microsoft is aiming the Surface Book at the MacBook Pro, and targeting the MacBook Air with the Surface Pro 4.
The Surface Book and Pro 4 “will compete very strongly for replacement sales of tablets and PCs,” Eric Smith, a senior analyst at Strategy Analytics, told TechNewsWorld.
Microsoft’s flagship Lumia 950 and 950 XL smartphones are essentially your office in a pocket with Windows 10’s Continuum capability, their ability to connect to monitors through a Microsoft Display Dock, to run Office 360 apps, and let users add a keyboard and mouse.
The new Lumias have the latest PureView cameras with 20-MP sensors on the rear, triple LED natural flash and 4K video capture.
They use tablet-class liquid cooling and can be charged over USB Type-C ports from flat to 50 percent battery capacity in 30 minutes.
Price is $550 for the 950 and $650 for the Lumia 950 XL.
Running to Keep Up
Still, Microsoft’s “behind [in the mobile area] and trying to catch up,” Enderle said.
Windows Phone devices still suffer from a dearth of apps, for example.
However, “with 110 million Windows 10 users, the hope is Microsoft has the critical mass to get the apps built now,” Enderle said.
Microsoft has reported a four-fold growth in its developer base, he noted, but “if they had this kind of an effort a decade ago, they wouldn’t be where they are now.”