Microsoft's Windows 10 Device Event: What Was Announced?
As expected, Microsoft's big Windows 10 device event in New York today included the unveiling of its new Surface Pro 4, the next device in its highly successful Surface Pro lineup. A bit more surprising, though, was the introduction of a new Surface Book [pictured], a high-performance laptop with a detachable screen and a $1,499 starting price that puts it on par with Apple's comparably sized MacBook Pro.
Redmond also unveiled three new Windows 10 phones: the Lumia 950, Lumia 950 XL and Lumia 550. The 950 and 950 XL both support Windows 10 Continuum, which allows each phone -- if connected to a keyboard and mouse -- to function like a PC. The $139 Lumia 550 is being billed as Microsoft's "most affordable 4G LTE smartphone running Windows 10."
Other new products showcased during today's event include the Microsoft Band 2 fitness wearable and the HoloLens holographic computing device, which is set to begin shipping as a $3,000 development edition in the first quarter of next year. Microsoft also announced a Windows 10 update for its Xbox One game console coming in November.
"There were certainly a lot of things being thrown out there," said William Stofega, program director for mobile device technology and trends at the analyst firm IDC. He told us Microsoft's approach demonstrated a "new and exciting" way of looking at its hardware almost as new classifications of devices.
The Surface Book laptop, for example, "really was something a lot of people didn't expect." And the level of innovation and support Microsoft is rolling out with that device shows the company clearly has Apple in its sights.
Microsoft's demonstration of how its new Lumia phones can function as PCs was "really quite impressive," Stofega added.
Call and Compute Simultaneously
The Continuum-equipped Lumia 950 and 950 XL are not only able to function like PCs when connected to accessories, but can simultaneously handle phone calls while performing other tasks.
The 32 GB Lumia 950, priced at $549, features a 5.2-inch Quad HD display, while the 32 GB, $649 Lumia 950 XL has a 5.7 Quad HD display that's "large enough to be productive, yet mobile enough to meet your daily phone needs," according to Microsoft. Both are set to hit select markets starting in November, while the lower price Lumia 550 is scheduled to roll out first in parts of Europe in December, with additional markets to follow.
Starting at $1,499 for a 128 GB model with sixth-generation Intel Core i5 processors and 8 GB of RAM, the Surface Book will be available in four other models ranging up to $2,699 for 512 GB with sixth-generation Intel Core i7 processors, 16 GB of RAM and a Nvidia GeForce graphics processor.
Microsoft called the 1.6-pound Surface Book a device that's "redefining the laptop." The device features a 13.5-inch PixelSense display that can be easily detached from the keyboard. The 7.7-millimeter-thick screen can also be used with an updated Surface pen that comes with 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity and reduced latency, according to Microsoft. The laptop will be available for pre-ordering tomorrow. The Surface Pro 4, which starts at $899, will be available beginning October 26.