Surface Pro 4 and the new Lumias are on their way: please Microsoft, get this right

On July 29th, Microsoft launched the final version of Windows 10 for desktop PCs and laptops, but that was only the first part of their ‘One Windows’ launch strategy. Now comes the hardware.

The event Microsoft has confirmed for October 6th is going to be a big one: the first high-end Lumia 950 / 950 XL made by Microsoft will  be cornerstones of their new, ambitious roadmap. Both specs and images have been leaked, and although the design is not that interesting,  the specs are. One of them is really interesting, in fact.

It’s not the screen, processor, iris scanner or even the 20MP camera that they will supposedly have. Not even the support for wireless charging. No. It’s the USB-C port that is specially exciting.

And it’s interesting because that port will be responsible for that bold behaviour of these smartphones that won’t be usual smartphones anymore. They will be, more than ever, pocket PCs. PCs that actually act as PCs.

That, my friend, is not your smartphone. It's your new PC. Get used to it.
That, my friend, is not your smartphone. It’s your new PC. Get used to it.

On one of the leaked images one of the phones appeared connected to some kind of dock, wich will for sure be crucial to offer the Continuum for phones feature. That is: you connect the phone to the dock and that dock to the monitor, and voilà: that smartphone is no longer a smartphone: now it’s a desktop PC. You will connect a Bluetooth/USB keyboard and mouse for sure, and then you’ll have your miniPC running from the new Lumias. Gorgeous.

That USB-C port the leaked information talks about shoud of course support the new USB 3.1 Alternate Mode, one of the main features of the new standard that will allow us to connect VGA or DisplayPort devices to the products using this standard. It won’t probably be a USB 3.1 Gen 2 interface (10 Gbps) but maybe it will have Power Delivery too and will take advantage of this interesting feature of the new standard for fast charging. In that case, these Lumias would be the first devices to include such technology finally. That USB-C connector is indeed exciting.

And of course, we have the Surface Pro 4. Now that the convertible tablet seems to be a valid form factor -several models are available or will be in the next few weeks- it will be interesting to see if Microsoft can really leave behind other proposals due to its experience in this particular segment.

There are several improvements to be made. A UHD (not 4K) screen would give those users a screen that would be difficult to match (the new Dell XPS 12 is reportedly getting this kind of screen). There’s the processor, too. The new Skylake processors that Intel recently launched are going to be used, for sure, but the question, of course, is which one. I’m betting for the Intel Core m7-6Y75 on the top model, a CPU with a maximum TDP of 7W that seems perfect for this machine.

There have been comments about a bigger version (14”) and even a ‘lite’ edition (Surface 4, but I think it’s a little too early for that given that the Surface 3 was introduced last May), but I wonder if Microsoft will be bold with its new Surface Pro 4 as well. The new USB-C connector would be a nice option here, and I wonder if Microsoft will include the keyboard with the package (please don’t sell it only as an accesory), something that would allow Microsoft to give a sense of completion to the product and would for sure give some advantage over the iPad Pro, whose keyboard and stylus accesories are optional and, by the way, pretty expensive.

A rigid keyboard like the one Logitech has created for the iPad Pro would be nice to see as an option.
A rigid keyboard like the one Logitech has created for the iPad Pro would be nice to see as an option.

Let’s see if Logitech does the same that is has done on the iPad Pro and offers a CREATE keyboard, but with the edition for the Surface Pro 4. I’d love to be able to use a more solid, rigid keyboard on this device. This could be really a good option for users that are not comfortable with the Type Cover.

We’ll see what happens on October 6th. Can’t wait.

Source: Microsoft to launch Surface Pro 4 and new phones at October 6th event | The Verge

Javier Pastor is a technology journalist that has been writing about tech since 1999. He started writing for PC Actual in Spain, the leading printed magazine in the country, and in 2006 started to write online. First as the Chief Editor for The Inquirer ES, and after that for MuyComputer until 2013. That year he became senior editor at Xataka, the leading tech news website in Spanish with over 5M uniques/month (Aug'15, comScore). Xataka is part of Weblogs SL, a blog network that gets over 40M uniques/month and that has a wide catalog of publications in Spanish. The Unshut is his new venture and allows him to express his opinions and thoughts on everything touched by technology, and follows what he has been doing at Incognitosis, his personal blog, since 2005.