Microsoft Announces Surface Book, Surface Pro 4 & New Lumia Phones
Company also announces new Microsoft Band 2 and development kits for HoloLens to ship early next year.
Today, Microsoft announced its first-ever full-fledged laptop, the Surface Book. It also announced the latest in its tablet line, the Surface Pro 4, along with new Lumia phones and the Microsoft Band 2.
Microsoft is touting the new Surface Book as its first-ever laptop. Arguably, the original Surface was that, since the Surface does all the things you expect in a laptop. It was portable, had a keyboard (even if purchase was optional) and ran off an internal battery.
With the Surface Book, Microsoft seems to be putting all the other Surface devices into the tablet category, even though the latest — which I’ll get back to — is a pretty powerful laptop.
Surface Book features a 13.5″ screen that detaches from the base. It can also be folded over the keyboard, if you want to make it more powerful when in tablet-mode. The keyboard houses some processing units.
It goes on sale today for pre-order starting at $1499, with deliveries beginning Oct. 26. Here’s a video about it:
Surface Pro 4
Microsoft also announced the latest in its Surface tablet line — assuming that everything that’s not Surface Book should now be called a tablet.
Surface Pro 4 has gotten lighter and gained a bit more screen real estate, 12.3″ versus 12″ for its Surface Pro 3 predecessor. Most impressive, there’s an option for it to have 16GB of memory and 1TB of storage — options that are most definitely not tablet-class.
Surface Pro 4 is also on sale today for pre-order, with deliveries starting Oct. 26 and pricing that begins at $899. Here’s a video:
New Lumia Phones
Microsoft is still in the phone businesses, promising that Universal Windows Apps mean that all those popular apps on Windows desktops will run on Windows phones, jumpstarting interest.
We’ll see. It was certainly interesting to see Microsoft plug one of the new Lumia phones into a dock, to turn it into a full-fledged Windows 10 computer. But that might be a niche case that isn’t going to pull people away from the iPhones and Androids that are familiar and loved.
Nor did the new Lumias that were shown seem to have any be “wow” features to me that made them compelling, other than USB-C charging. A dedicated button to take pictures, not that unique or new. Image stabilization promised. Who doesn’t promise that?
Perhaps the most unique thing was an extremely low-cost model that was mentioned at the very end of the phone segment, as almost an afterthought. That’s the Lumia 550, which will cost $139, when out in December.
The 5.2″ Lumia 950 will run $549 and the bigger 5.7″ Lumia 950XL will cost $649, when they come out in November.
Microsoft Band 2 & HoloLens News
Microsoft also announced that a new version of its Microsoft Band is out, the Band 2. The main new features seem to be a more curved design, barometer to track your altitude and GPS tracking. It’s $249 with pre-orders today, delivery on Oct. 30.
As for Microsoft’s anticipated HoloLens augmented reality headset, everyone got a new taste of what it can do when Project Xray was demonstrated, which allows people to fight off attackers in their living rooms:
Consumers will have to wait until next year, however. That’s because developers won’t even get HoloLens until next quarter — for $3000 — if they order development kits. Applications opened today here.
Below, our live blog of today’s event: