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One Windows, many devices: The next chapter for Microsoft is here

Microsoft Surface BookThe next generation of computing is arriving now. Laptops have been great due to their portability and functions. Tablets showed potential but never really gained the functions of a laptop. If you were someone who owned both, maybe you felt like me and wondered why you owned both. Tablets seemed like toys more than anything else. Microsoft has released their first laptop that combines what’s good about laptops and tablets into the one device.The Surface Book laptop has a smart design and some interesting ideas built into the device.

Microsoft also showed off the Surface Pro 4, Lumia 950 and 950XL. This set of new devices from Microsoft are a step in a different direction. It is the first time for Microsoft to release its own hardware for Windows. It has taken some time for Windows to get to the point where it was designing both hardware and software. There is potential there, but until the devices are in the hands of users, it’s hard to tell if Microsoft has a success or a flop on their hands.

Microsoft’s aim with the Surface Book is in the title. The device is direct competition to the MacBook Pro. Something has to be said about the approach from Apple, designing and building MacBooks and OSX together. So Microsoft releasing their own hardware and software package is a change in direction for them. Using what Microsoft does best with the insider knowledge Microsoft has of Windows and there’s potential there for Microsoft to get the Surface Book into more hands.

For many years, it’s been in user’s minds that Apple is the creative device and Microsoft the device for productivity. The Surface Book wants creative people to use it. The screen can is used with touch, with a Pen or a mouse. The movement of the Surface Book’s hinge and the fact it can come apart and become a tablet gives it multiple functions. The Surface Book eliminates the need for separate devices.

The screen is 13.5 inches with 267ppi with a magnesium casing. Internal storage for the top model is 1TB with 16GB RAM. The base model has 128GB storage and 8GB RAM. The storage space of the high-end model is good, but the base model is poor. 128GB storage wouldn’t be enough for someone who doesn’t have all the time and quality access to a cloud. I don’t know if Microsoft thinks that there’s always internet access available; but it always annoyed me when there’s not enough space to save files and to download the file, slow due to a poor connection.

There’s a trick in the build of the Surface Book. The battery and Intel Core Processors are in the screen, and the high powered GPU is in the keyboard base. The Surface Book can be different devices easily. I use a laptop and a tablet for different reasons. When I’m working or writing assignments, I use a laptop for its performance and productivity capabilities. I work, write assignments, edit photos, record music and use it as an entertainment hub. When I’m studying, I’ll use a tablet as they’re better for reading documents, viewing images, watching video or listening to lectures when I’m on the move. The tablet is also used when driving as a navigation device (The big screen is handy for reading maps, and when zoomed in you still see a good amount of the map on the screen).

The Surface Pro 4 is an update of the Surface Pro 3. The device is thin and crafted with the designed being based on a piece of paper. The Kickstand is multi-position, and the keyboard has improvements on the previous design. The screen is a PixelSense display that aims for high contrast and low glare and is 12.3 inches. The weight is 766 grams and has a battery that is claimed to last up to 9 hours. The processors are Intel Core processor with the capability of running multiple programs. The camera is 8MP on the back and 5MP on the front.

Microsoft wants the Lumia 950 to be more like a PC than a smartphone. Smartphones have always had the potential to be more productive devices, with the internal hardware often being powerful for the size. Perhaps the current generation of smartphones will be looked at like how older computing devices are seen – As potential and the start of an evolutionary line, the birth of ideas maturing into devices only guessed. The screen is 5.2 inches Quad HD AMOLED with 2560x1440dpi. The processor is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 808, and the back camera is 20MP, ZEISS optics, Triple LED with natural flash.

Microsoft Lumia 950 and 950 XLThe Lumia 950XL is the next step up from the 650 as its name implies. The display is 5.7 inches Quad HD AMOLED and 2560x1440dpi. The processor is the Snapdragon 810. The camera is the same as the Lumia 950. The battery has wireless charging and is extra large. Something interesting is that the 950 and 950 XL can give users a PC-like experience on their televisions. For those who only want one device, the Lumia 950 and 950 XL could be for them. Having a smartphone that can give a PC experience could be useful in business and educational settings. No doubt you’ve had experiences with a computer before a presentation, and it doesn’t seem to work the way it should. Staff being able to connect their own device to a big screen taken from their pocket would add to the user experience.

Tablets opened up a world of possibilities when it came to what could come next with computing devices. The touchscreen and portability were new and different, and a different sort of OS needed to be designed. The ideal OS for a tablet is a cross between a smartphone and a laptop. Microsoft having Windows 10 across all its devices should make syncing and moving between laptop, desktop, smartphone and tablet easier. I’ve been a Windows user in the past (Currently a Mac owner with an iPad Air and iPhone. I’ve used Windows since I started using computers, and I don’t have a preference either way. Both are good, and both have had their frustrating moments) and the inability to have documents, apps and software sync without issues or having to go round about ways was something I disliked.

Using Apple’s OSX and iOS together, I have enjoyed the connection that the two have. The combination of the pair has helped me to use apps to organize my life and be more efficient with my time. If Microsoft can make connecting devices and moving between devices seamless, then they’re building on the strong foundations they already have. Get this right, and Microsoft could consider making an OS for television sets or smart boxes and getting in on the internet of things in the home and office.

The future isn’t a single device; it’s how well devices work together. If Microsoft can design Windows 10 and have apps that flow information seamlessly between each other on a person’s device while protecting privacy this could make their past efforts feel like training for what was to come.

The price of the 128GB Core Intel i5 with 8GB RAM is $,1499.00. 256GB, i5, 8GB RAM $1,699.00. 256GB, i5, 8GB RAM, dGPU is $1,899. 256GB, i7, 8GB RAM, dGPU is $2,099.00. 512GB, i7, 16GB RAM, dGPU is $2,699.00 and is to be shipped on October 26th.

The Surface Pro Four is priced at $899.00 for the 128GB, Intel Core m3 processor, and 4GB RAM. $1,299.00 for 256GB, i5 with 8GB. $1,499.00 for 256GB, i5 with 16GB RAM. $1,599 for 256GB, i7 with 8GB RAM. Microsoft has an option for users to customize their device and ships October 26th.

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