Microsoft took a decidedly low-key approach to the release of Windows 10 back on July 29, largely because the devices optimized for the new operating system weren’t ready. But by making Windows 10 Pro available free of charge for users to upgrade on their existing systems, the company has given them a chance to see and interact with the new operating system.
Now that the hardware is about ready and the key fourth-quarter purchasing season is about to heat up, Microsoft and its partners this week will be unveiling a slew of new PCs, tablets and phones optimized for Windows 10, taking advantage of features such as the Windows Hello biometric authentication capability, Continuum, electronic inking, Cortana and Skype. Perhaps most noteworthy is that many of the high-end new ultrabooks and all-in-one desktops will come with the new Intel Core 6 Skylake processor.
At a launch event tomorrow in New York City, Microsoft is expected to debut two new Lumia phones for Windows 10, an updated Microsoft Band and, perhaps most notably, a new Surface Pro. Some reports have indicated there could be two Surface systems — a 12-inch model with a similar form factor to the Surface Pro 3 and possibly a larger 14-inch configuration to respond to the challenge of Apple’s larger iPad.
Suppliers of Windows devices remain deferential in giving Microsoft the first word. Nick Parker, corporate VP of Microsoft’s OEM division, showcased some devices in the pipeline at last month’s IFA conference in Berlin. Among the devices Parker showcased was a forthcoming Dell Latitude 11, with an 11-inch display powered with the Core 6 processor and offering a smaller footprint than the popular Dell Latitude 13. Other new business-focused convertible two-in-one systems showcased by Parker were the Hewlett-Packard EliteBook Folio and a new Lenovo Yoga 360.
For the education market, Parker talked up the new Acer Aspire 1 tablet, which is 18mm thin and is equipped with two microphones to make it suited for Cortana and Skype use; and the 14-inch Lenovo IdeaPad, which boasts 12 hours of battery life. Two all-in-one desktops highlighted were the new Dell Inspiron 24 with a Windows Hello camera and an edge-to-edge 24-inch display, and the Asus Zen, also a 24-inch system with a 4k option, Windows Hello camera and support for accelerated graphics cards. Parker also talked up the microphones on the Asus device, an important feature for those using Cortana and Skype.
Another system that stood out was the new Toshiba Radius 12, a 12-inch system equipped with the new Intel processor, a Windows Hello camera and a 360-degree hinge. Speaking of Toshiba, Parker also pointed to the company’s Data Logger for industrial Internet of Things operations. The device has 20 sensors, which can track information such as GPS, biometric pressure and temperature, he said.