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Microsoft Devices Event Lowdown: New Lumias, Surface, HoloLens & more

microsoftdevices

Microsoft announced its latest line of Lumia phones, Surface tablets, accessories and its Band at the Microsoft Windows 10 devices event held yesterday. The company also announced the developer kit of its virtual reality solution Hololens which will be released next year, along with new universal apps for Windows 10 etc.

Here is a quick lowdown of all the new devices and features announced at the conference yesterday:

Lumia phones: Not to be outdone by Google or Apple, both of which announced two new phones at their respective events, Microsoft has launched three new Lumia phones, the high end Lumia 950, the phablet-sized Lumia 950 XL and the much cheaper Lumia 550. The 950 is powered by a Snapdragon 808 processor and features a 20 megapixel camera. The XL features a similar camera, but at 5.7 inches, is slightly better than the 5.2 inch 950. Both phones feature a WQHD resolution and OLED displays. The Lumia 950 will cost $549 at launch while the XL variant will cost $100 more. The Lumia 550 is a 5 inch entry level device with a 5 megapixel camera. The device will cost $139 at launch.

Surface tablets: Microsoft also launched two Surface tablets, the Surface Pro 4 and the Surface Book. The Pro 4 sports a 12.3 inch display and offers upto 1TB of storage and 16GB of RAM. It also comes with a Surface Pen, which the company claims performs better than the Apple Pencil. Basically, with this tablet, Microsoft is taking a direct shot at the Apple iPad Pro, a similarly high specced tablet which Apple claims is aimed at professionals. The new Pro tablet will be priced starting at $899.

The Surface Book is simply a convertible laptop version of the Surface line of tablets. It comes with a 13.5 inch display and supports both stylus and touch input. It claims to have a 12 hour battery life and sports a glass trackpad. The device can be detached from the keyboard to be used as a standalone tablet. The Surface Book will be available starting at $1,499. The dock can be purchased separately as well, and is backward compatible with the Surface 3 tablet.

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Microsoft Band: Microsoft also launched a new wearable called the Microsoft Band, the same name as it’s last year’s activity tracker. The new Band features a touch sensitive OLED display with Gorilla Glass 3. The device features a barometer to measure elevation and Cortana integration to send reminders in case of missed work outs. The device also features a GPS, heart rate monitor, sleep and calorie tracker and provides guided workouts as well as notifications. The Band will be available starting at $249 and will work with iOS and Android devices as well.

HoloLens: Microsoft announced that the new HoloLens development kits will be available for developers starting at $3,000 starting the first quarter of 2016. The company has started taking applications for pre orders for now. While the company still hasn’t revealed the exact specifications of the units, the company claims the finished product will be fully untethered, capable of working without a remote PC connection.

The company also said it was working with some professionals including NASA scientists, to produce a catalogue of applications. As one of its latest demonstrations of the device’s capabilities, Microsoft showcased a seriously cool demo of a dude shooting aliens in his living room. While reports have it that the demonstrations by Microsoft are somewhat misleading, as the field of view is quite limited, we feel that if done right, this has a lot of potential in pretty much any field like education, gaming, real estate, medicine. Check out the demo below:

Universal apps: In a big boost to its push for universal apps, apps that work across all Microsoft devices, the company announced that Facebook is creating universal Windows 10 apps for Messenger, Instagram and Facebook. Note that while an official Facebook app existed for Windows 8, Instagram hasn’t been updated on the Windows Phone for nearly 2 years and still lacks features like video upload.

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