Intel Avoton Chip wafer2013

Microsoft may seem like it is focused only on rolling out Windows 10, but the company’s efforts in moving forward do not stop there. The company is reportedly developing hardware updates for its smartphone, tablet, and the fitness wearable. The company will present the updates in an event this coming October. Enterprise customers will find the mobile and tablet updates are most relevant for future purchase planning.

Updating the operating system of the Lumia will give customers another phone platform option other than Apple or Android. Current Windows Phones offer Office 365, Skype, and OneDrive services. So far, the device releases are the mid-range level and run Microsoft software very well. If Microsoft releases a high-end flagship phone, that would pair well with an updated Surface Pro tablet. The two new possible Lumia devices coming this fall are the 950 and the 950 XL.

Three Nokia Lumia smart phones on display at Microsoft Build 2014
Three Nokia Lumia smart phones on display at Microsoft Build 2014

On the tablet front, Microsoft needs a Surface Pro 4 refresh that may have at least fingerprint scanner support. Apple’s iPad and iPad mini both already have this “Touch ID” feature. It makes sense, too, that Microsoft would also release a mini version of the Surface. The pricing for the current line-up ranges from $639 for the Surface 3 to $2,300 for the Pro. A “mini” Surface would help Microsoft compete more effectively against Apple’s iPad Mini, Samsung’s 8-inch Galaxy tablets, and Google’s Nexus 9.

Surface 3 pen

Microsoft is in need of gaining traction in the mobile space. Its current tablet is innovative: the keyboard is a great idea, the screen is sharp, and the device functions like a highly portable touch screen Ultrabook. The company’s market share for tablets is still in the single digits, at 9 percent. The company is gaining share, but Microsoft must sustain this momentum.

One of Microsoft’s biggest challenge for the Surface is designing an ease of use as both a tablet and a laptop. Current Pros have so much power that the device requires a CPU fan for cooling. If the new Pro implements an Intel Core M, that would mean the next Surface would be fanless.

At Intel’s developer forum, the company did not talk much about Skylake. As such, it will not be confirmed what processor Microsoft will use for the next Surface.

Another possibility is that the next Surface Pro will use Intel’s Skylake. Skylake is a Xeon chip which would power the next generation business class notebooks. Skylake would target company workers requiring precision computing. The Xeon architecture uses ECC, or error-correcting code memory for enhanced reliability while running workstation applications.



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