Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Microsoft unveils Lumia 550, 950, Surface Book, Surface Pro 4, Band and $3000 HoloLens for Developers

Microsoft had promised lots of stuff for this October's event, and they certainly played the part, with devices ranging from wearables to "holographic" glasses, and not forgetting smartphones and tablets, of course.

With the central point of the event being the wide range of Windows 10 devices, let's start with the smartphones.

The Lumia 950 and 950XL jump to the top of the Lumia line, with 5.2 and 5.7" screens (2560x1440), octa and hexa-core CPUs, 3GB RAM, 20MP camera with triple LED flash, and that can turn into (nearly) full-fledges PC if you connect them to the Microsoft Display Dock via USB Type-C cable, allowing you to work with a keyboard and monitor - but still being able to use the smartphone as a smartphone simultaneously.) Prices start at $549 and $649.

If that's a bit too much, MS has you covered on the opposite end of the spectrum, with the Lumia 550. You'll get a 5" device with 1GB RAM and 8GB storage, 5MP and 2MP cameras, and it starts at $139.

Then we get the new Microsoft Band, which adds a barometer and VO2Max sensor to the GPS and heart rate sensor (and others) that already existed in the first version. It also looks nicer with a curved screen... though that will cost you: the new MS Band goes for $249 as opposed to the previous $199.

For the Surface fans, MS offers the new and improved Surface Pro 4. Lighter, thinners, but more powerful than ever, and a new Surface Pen, with an eraser and 1024 pressure levels and that can be magnetically attached to the side when not in use. Prices start at $899 but will surely climb quickly should you go for the 1TB and 16GB RAM version. We also get a fingerprint sensor on the keyboard.

And then something unexpected. If you thought the Surface was supposed to "kill" the laptop, how about a brand new one, called Surface Book, for laptop lovers - though you can still remove the screen and use it as a tablet just the same?

With a 13.5" PixelSense screen, the Surface Book promises the highest performance of its class, with a Skylake Intel CPU and Nvidia GPU on the keyboard base, It also uses a curious fulcrum hinge that allows it to lay flat on a table (though it stays kind of "bent" when closed). Prices start at $1499.

And to top it off, MS will make its futuristic HoloLens holographic glasses available for developers... as long as they're willing to pay $3000 for it next year. This serves to show that this kind of tech, although very much wanted and appreciated, is still somewhat away from market, and will surely need a couple more years till it becomes mature enough to reach the market (if not more - just remember how Google Glass did.)

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