Microsoft had a media event today where they dropped some major product announcements. Here’s the highlights:
- Microsoft’s Hololens development kit will begin shipping in the first quarter of next year, and at a price that puts the units out of the hands of typical consumers: $3000. At that level, developers are more likely to make the plunge to get one.
- Microsoft also announced three new smartphones: two of them, the Lumia 950, 950XL, are worth designating “flagships,” while the 550, notably, will sell for $139, putting it in the range of cheap Android phones.
- Something that is very interesting is Continuum for Windows, a Window 10 feature which made its official debut at the event. Continuum is one manifestation of the pocket-computer idea that others have had as well in various forms: it means that with an adapter, a phone can be used as the CPU and graphics engine when connected to a screen and keyboard:
- Microsoft also showed off the Surface 4. Its has a screen that is 12.3″ in size at 2160×1440 resolution. It also rolls up with a Skylake processor, 1TB of storage, and up to 16GB of RAM. Clearly this is a shot at the iPad Pro.
- Finally, Microsoft unveiled the Surface Book laptop. You can unclip the 13.5″ touchscreen and use it separately as a tablet. But you want to use it docked as the keyboard dock has a dedicated GPU that will boost performance when it is attached. I’m guessing that this is both a shot at the MacBook Air and the iPad Pro.
All of these announcements are interesting enough that if I were you, I’d actually bother to keep an eye on how well these do for Microsoft. I really think that they might be on to something.
UPDATE: I forgot to mention that Microsoft also came out with a new version of their Band fitness tracker that looks cooler and is more sophisticated than their last effort in this space.