Microsoft challenges Apple and Google with new devices


Technology major Microsoft on Tuesday unveiled a flurry of devices using Windows 10, sounding a challenge to rivals Apple and Google in the mobility space.

In an event streamed globally, it unveiled a holographic computer, three smartphones, one tablet and a convertible laptop PC along with a new Xbox gaming console and a new gaming controller.

Both Apple and Google recently launched several devices and upgrades to their apps and services in order to stay ahead of the competition and woo more customers. The companies’ launches include bigger tablets and newer smartphones including the Nexus and the new iPhone 6s range.

However, all of Microsoft’s launches were aimed at the productivity mantra spelled by its chief executive Satya Nadella who has been supporting a “mobile first and cloud first” approach.

Executive vice president, Windows and devices group Terry Myserson launched the new products and Nadella spelt out the rationale.

“We at Microsoft are looking at the mobility of your experience and not mobile devices. No device can be used continuously and thus we built Windows 10 which can be synced across all devices,” Nadella said.

“Every successful company has a mission and our mission is to empower more people and organisations to achieve more. We make things that lets you make things. We approach our work keeping in mind people’s aspirations and how technology can bring them closer to reality,” he added.

Prior to the launch, Myerson said that over 110 million devices had moved to Windows 10 within 10 weeks of the operating system’s (OS) launch.

“Nearly 650 billion web pages have been viewed with the new Edge browser and 120 years of gameplay has been streamed via the Windows 10 Xbox app,” he said.

He also said that along with the share of Windows 10 PCs increasing in the market, app developers revenue has moved up four times.

As a part of the launch, Microsoft unveiled the its Windows 10-powered augmented reality headset, HoloLens, which will ship to software developers in the first quarter of next year for a price of $3,000. According to analysts, the HoloLens will put Microsoft at the driving seat of innovation in the mixed reality segment.

The company also launched its new wearable device called the Microsoft Band 2 at a price of $249 which will become available by the end of the month.

The band, which supports all platforms including Android and iOS, will come with the VO2 (a measure of the maximum volume of oxygen that an athlete can use) Max measuring technology and a barometer to map elevation for users.

It can work not only as a fitness device but also as a proper extended device making it a stiff competitor for the Apple iWatch.

Microsoft also extended its Lumia range of smartphones by launching three new models – Lumia 950 XL, Lumia 950 and the Lumia 550 – at prices of $649, $549 and $139 respectively.

The Lumia 950 family will come with adaptive antenna technology which will ensure better connectivity at all points. The new technology includes embedding two antennas instead of one in the phone.

The phones, which will be available end of the month, will come with Windows Hello and windows continuum. Microsoft will accept pre-orders starting Tuesday.

The company also launched a tablet and convertible laptop PC – the Surface 4 Pro and Surface Book – priced at $899 and $1,499 respectively.