Microsoft unveils a bagful of surprises at its Windows 10 devices event

What Microsoft showed to the world in its Windows 10 devices event held at NewYork would silence all its critics and restore the faith on them. It also turns the software giant into an all-important hardware company too. It was one of the best presentation I have ever seen, full of dramatic flurry and Microsoft’s VP Panos Panay gets full credit for it. There was the expected mentions of the new quick heights the Windows 10 OS has occupied within two months of its launch. 110 million+ devices now run it. While am still intrigued with the HaloLens (may be because I never got a chance yet to experience it), Microsoft announced that it will make HoloLens development kits available in the first quarter of 2016. From here on wards, everything was super-charged for me. The flurry of show-offs. Take this list.

  •  Microsoft Band 2.o
  •  Lumia 950 and 950XL , the flagship devices
  •  Lumia 550, a budget offering running on Windows 10
  •  Display dock
  • Surface Pro 4
And then the unexpected biggest surprise,
  • Surface Book
Quiet an impressive laundry list, agree?

Microsoft Band 2.0

microsoft band 2.0 Aesthetically looking better than the original band and packing more sensors now, the Microsoft Band is what the company calls as the ultimate fitness device. The design language is smooth all through and it flaunts a curved OLED screen with a Gorilla glass. In the latest avatar, the band looks pretty with aluminum metal accents. We have all the fitness features that was thrown in the first generation band , we are talking about stuffs like GPS, a heart rate monitor, sleep and calorie tracking, guided workout notifications etc. Then there is the new sensor included, barometer to track elevation. Plus, there is also new additions like golf swing tracking, the ability to dig into body’s VO2 max, which I came to know from the presentation is the maximum amount of oxygen you can body can use while you work it out. There is also  deeper Cortana integration. Not just this, there is also array of third-party developers right from Starbucks to Twitter and Uber (yes, your next cab is right on your wrist now!). Microsoft Band will be available from October 30th and is listed at $249.

Lumia 950 and 950XL

lumia950 After a long gap and dozens of affordable devices in betweem, we have a real flagship Windows Phone and not one but two. The Lumia 950 and 950XL. The former gets a 5.2-inch display while the the XL flaunts a  5.7-inch screen. Both the phones use the USB type-C port. Both the phones will be available from Novermber onwards and the 950 starts at $549 and the XL at $650.

Here is a quick rundown on the 950 specs:

  • Display: 5.2-inch WQHD OLED (564 PPI)
  • Processor: Snapdragon 808, hexacore, 64-bit
  • Storage: 32GB internal, microSD card slot
  • Memory: 3GB of RAM
  • Cameras: 20MP PureView on the rear, with optical image stabilization; 5MP wide angle (front)
  • Battery: 3000mAh (removable)

And the 950XL with a big sized specs

  • Display: 5.7-inch WQHD OLED (518 PPI)
  • Processor: Snapdragon 810, octacore, 64-bit
  • Storage: 32GB internal, microSD card slot
  • Memory: 3GB of RAM
  • Cameras: 20MP PureView on the rear, with optical image stabilization; 5MP wide angle (front)
  • Battery: 3340mAh (removable)
Both the phones has a infrared sensor for “Windows Hello”, which unlocks a user’s phone by face recognition. Going by the demo, it worked neat. Microsoft also talked of a liquid cooling system, 5th generation OIS. And then there is also a dedicated camera button.

Display dock

microsoft lumia dock Microsoft showcased a little block that could turn the Windows phone to give a PC experience on a bigger screen. The small box has ports for HDMI, DisplayPort, and three full USB ports.  It connects to the monitor by a Type-C USB cable. What was interesting to see during the presentation is how the Windows 10 scales to the bigger screen from the Smartphone and the universal apps of Windows 10 needs a special mention for making the experience seamless.

Surface Pro 4

microsoft_surface_book microsoft_surface_pro_4_pricing Slowly and steadily, Microsoft is getting everything right with their Surface tablets. With Surface 3 giving them a shot of confidence, the new Surface Pro 4 is a perfect followup.  It’s thinner, lighter, and faster and the screen even slightly larger with the thinning of the bezel. The convertible now has a 12.3-inch display with what Microsoft calls a ‘PixelSense’ technology. The Surface Pro 4 also gets a Microsoft developed G4 chipset and the company claims it is 50% faster than the MacBook Air and 30% faster than the Surface Pro 3. Specs include ‘up to’ 16GB of RAM and 1TB of solid-state storage, an 8-megapixel rear camera, and a larger trackpad on the keyboard accessory. Microsoft also has fine tune the Surface Pen and it also gets an eraser and with some 1000 odds pressure points for accurate scribbling.  The Surface Pro 4 is available October 26th, starting at $899.

The Surface Book

microsoft_surface_book Definitely the biggest ‘one more thing’ moment that surprised everyone. The folks at Redmond event managed to keep it a big surprise with no leaks or rumours what-so-ever before the event. Microsoft’s direct answer to Apple’s MacBook and also the first laptop from them. One workd, the Sufrace Book is amazing with whatever details the company shared. Something, I would really want and a befitting answer to Macbook. It’s beautiful. It’s powerful. microsoft_surface_book_hinge It has a 13.5-inch display that supports both stylus and touch input. It has six million pixels, which adds to 267 PPI.  It runs a Nvidia GeForce graphics, the latest Intel Core processor with Core i5 and i7 models. It has an quirky hinge that snakes on the behind that Microsoft calls the dynamic fulcrum hinge and the screen can be flipped around. Pressing a button on a keyboard, the display can miraculously detached from the strong hinge and be worked as a standalone surface tablet. Am sold. The Surface Book is available on October 26th and starts at $1,499.        ]]>

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