Microsoft Corp. held a product launch event, livestreamed to the web, on Tuesday. Delivered in a noticeably different tone than we’re used to with Microsoft, the company we know for its operating system announced several new hardware devices across a few different categories. CEO Satya Nadella also made an appearance.
Microsoft started with an update on how Windows 10 is doing so far. There are 110 million Windows 10 users now, and the Windows App Store has been visited more than 1 billion times. Revenue for app developers is up 10 times since Windows 10 was launched.
We saw the HoloLens in action again as Microsoft showcased how it could be used for gaming, with Project X-ray, which mixes your real environment with holograms. Also, the HoloLens development kit will be available for $3,000 in the first quarter of 2016 and Microsoft is accepting applications today.
Also, the new Microsoft Band was introduced. Geared towards tracking athletic progress, the band has 11 different sensors to detect things like a change in altitude. Pre-order it today for $249 USD and it’s shipping on Oct. 30.
Ponos Panay, the head of devices at Microsoft, came onto the stage to introduce new Lumia phones. There are two Lumia 950 devices – the XL is 5.7″ and the plain one is 5.2″ screen size – offering 32 GB onboard memory and an expandable SD card storage. Starting price is $549.
An OLED screen on the devices means you can check information on your lock screen – like your next calendar item – without using any battery. The camera can take 20 MP stills and 4K video. There’s a triple LED flash and optical image stabilization.
A man in a purple fedora demonstrated using Windows Continuum, a feature that lets you plug your smartphone into a large monitor and keyboard in order to access the Windows 10 desktop experience. A Microsoft Display Dock provides the connectivity hub to enable this.
The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 was introduced. It has a 12.3″ screen size, larger than the previous 12″ screen, but in the same-sized footprint (Microsoft has trimmed down on the bezel size a bit). The screen has a new “PixelSense” technology and there’s a custom chipset made by Microsoft in the G5.
A new pen to accompany the Surface will be available. Its tip features 1,024 points of pressure to simulate the feel of ink flowing out. The battery life will last all year long and it will magnetize to the side of your device for easy storage. It has an eraser on the back.
A new docking station to connect to two 4K monitors (or normal monitors), four USB 3.0 ports, and an Ethernet port is compatible with the Surface Pro 3 and 4. A new Type Cover with a new key set, larger trackpad, and fingerprint reader is compatible with both as well.
Microsoft announced Surface Book, a laptop version of the Surface. It features a 13.3″ screen powered by an Nvidia GeForce CPU. It can be detached to use as a tablet as well, or fold the keyboard behind the screen to make use of that powerful GPU in “clipboard mode.”
Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, wrapped up the event. “We approach our work every day with a mindset focused on learning about people’s aspirations and how technology can help them learn their true potential.”