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Microsoft is introducing the Surface 3 to the tablet family and best of all it’s the cheapest Surface you’ll find, price starts at $499. The new Surface 3 is powered by a 64-bit Intel Atom x7 (Cherry Trail) processor and it’s a tablet aimed to non-pro users, such as students, regular users, and all those who find the $799 starting price for a Surface Pro 3 a little in the expensive side.
The Surface 3 isn’t very powerful, but it gets the work done. The new tablet features a system-on-a-chip (SoC), Quad-core Atom x7-Z8700 processor (2MB Cache, 1.6GHz with Intel Burst technology up to 2.4GHz), 2GB of RAM (up to 4GB), and 64GB of SSD storage (up to 128GB). The display is a 10.8-inch 1920 x 1280 ClearType HD with a 3:2 aspect ratio.
The new Surface 3 includes a full-size USB 3.0 port, Mini DisplayPort, microSD slot, Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.0, and unlike the Surface Pro 3, the new tablet features a Micro USB charging port that works with the Surface charger or any generic USB phone charger.
Microsoft will make available a Wi-Fi only and a 4G LTE version of the tablet, which initially will be available later this year through T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless in the United State.
Unlike the Surface RT and Surface 2, the Surface 3 runs an x86 processor, and not an ARM-based chip, which means that this tablet ditches Windows RT completely and users will be able to work with Windows apps and Windows Desktop apps. The tablet comes pre-loaded with Windows 8.1 and it will be upgradable free to Windows 10, when it releases later this summer.
Microsoft is also including one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal free, which is valued at $70.
The downside is that Surface 3 introduces a new screen size, which is different to all the previous Surface tablet screen sizes and it means that existing Type and Touch Covers, and docking stations won’t work with Surface 3.
Of course, Surface 3 will has its own Type covers in Bright Blue Cyan, Blue Navy, Purple, Black, Red, and new Bright Red. Each cover will have a price tag of $129.99.
Surface 3 features a three-position kickstand, but it doesn’t feature a full rotation hinge like the one found in Surface Pro 3.
Now the pen from Surface Pro 3 is compatible with the Surface 3, but Microsoft will also be making available four pen colors: silver, blue, black, and red. Each pen will cost $49.99.
You can pre-order the new Surface 3 starting today, March 31, in the Microsoft Store in the following markets: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Luxembourg, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States. Microsoft will begin shipping the tablet on May 5.
Seeing that you’ll have to buy a few accessories to get the full Surface 3 experience, let see how much you’ll be actually spending to run Windows apps and Windows Desktop apps. The starting price is $499, then you need to add $129.99 for the Type Cover, $49.99 for one of the pens, and $199.99 for the Surface 3 Docking Station. So, you’re looking at $879 before taxes and without adding the Microsoft Complete Extended Service Plan for Surface that cost $99 (recommended). If you need the Surface Mini DisplayPort HDMI AV Adapter, it will cost you an extra $39.99 and the 13-watt Power Supply charger designed for Surface 3 costs $39.99.
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SAN FRANCISCO –- UPDATED: Five years after helping to launch Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing initiative, Bill Gates put some grace notes on how far and wide the extensive effort helped improve the company’s product lines.
“It was just last week that we released Vista and that’s a big milestone for us in terms of security because we had a chance to apply our development process, our secure design lifecycle process to that product,” he said during the RSA Security Conference here.
Gates, who is transitioning out of day-to-day management of the company by 2008, called security the fundamental challenge that will determine whether the industry can successfully create a new generation of connected experiences.
“The answer for the industry lies in our ability to design systems and processes that give people and organizations a high degree of confidence that the technology they use will protect their identity, their privacy and their information,” he said.
In an update that reflected a thaw in Microsoft’s approach to some open source projects, Gates said the company’s Windows CardSpace identity management metasystem will work with OpenID 2.0, an open source user-driven digital identity framework.
OpenID is a decentralized digital identity system, in which any user’s online identity is given by URI (define), such as a Web address, and can be verified by any server running the protocol.
Web sites that support OpenID are fashioned in such a way that Internet users don’t need to create and manage a new account for every site before being granted access; users need only to authenticate with an identity provider that supports OpenID.
Gates and Microsoft Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie also outlined Microsoft’s conceptual approach to supporting Trustworthy Computing.
This includes adapting to the evolution of networks, protection and identity.
Mundie said policy will be the key to managing computer access, rather than the gear connecting to the network. The executive said the idea is for the network and the Internet to seamlessly work together.
Gates also said Microsoft is a strong supporter of IPSec (define) and IPv6 (define). IPsec calls for Internet Protocol (IP) communications to be protected by authenticating or encrypting each IP packet in a data stream. IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) will significantly boost the number of IP addresses available for networked devices.
Gates and Mundie also called for devices that protect computer users’ data in transit and data at rest whether they reside on server, the desktop or a mobile handheld computer or smartphone.
Finally, in the thought stream that led to the CardSpace-OpenID interoperability news, Gates and Mundie stressed the importance of an open, standards-based identity metasystem.
These approaches, Gates and Mundie argued, will lay the foundation for accessing the Web from any device without undue worry.
This is important, Mundie said, because computer-savvy criminals are becoming more “nefarious and serious” about hacking into databases or duping unsuspecting victims into coughing up personal information. “There are so many devices and people connected,” Mundie said. “This challenge is going to get tougher.
In other Microsoft news today, Microsoft announced Identity Lifecycle Manager (ILM) 2007, which adds support for managing strong credentials such as certificates and smart cards over, as the name suggests, the life cycle of a user identity. The company will rev ILM “2” in late 2008.
Microsoft also announced the public beta of the new Forefront Server Security Management Console, a Web-based management application that does on site or remote administration of Microsoft messaging and collaboration security software.
ForeFront is Microsoft’s enterprise security suite, a portfolio the company has created in the last few years through acquisitions and in-house development to vie for new market share versus Symantec, McAfee, IBM, CA and others.
Finally, the company said it is supporting Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificates in Internet Explorer 7. When a user visits a site with a valid EV Certificate, Internet Explorer 7 will alert the user to the identity information by turning the background of the address bar green and displaying identity information.
The company also recently updated customers on the availability of Longhorn server, the long-awaited successor to the Windows Server operating system.
Beta 2 is currently available and is intended for evaluation by hardware manufacturers, independent software vendors and developers and the IT professional community. Beta 3 will be available publicly in the first half of 2007.
Longhorn security features include Network Access Protection (NAP), which allows administrators to isolate computers that don’t comply with their security policies.
It is designed to protect both remote and local users from viruses, worms and malicious software by helping to verify and directly update any computer attempting to access the network, while restricting the network access of clients that aren’t compliant with network policies.
What’s new in Microsoft’s Your Phone App
Microsoft is introducing new features in your phone app that lets Windows users launch the most recently used apps on their Android phones.
This new Your Phone feature relies on the existing remote Apps capability that allows owners of select Samsung Galaxy phones to access their mobile apps on their Windows PCs.
The new feature is said to be a step towards Apple’s handoff feature that lets users use one app and continue where they left on another device.
Microsoft is rolling out a new feature in its Your Phone app that lets Windows 11 users launch their most recently used applications on their Android devices.
The company is testing the new functionality, which doesn’t require any additional effort on the part of the user to set up, with Windows Insiders and it leverages the existing Apps capability already built into several select smartphones.
Your Phone allows users to mirror their Android phones directly to their PCs to respond to texts, notifications, and photos from their mobile devices. The app already lets users mirror multiple apps to a PC while they work on other tasks.How it works
In Windows 11, the mouse cursor can be placed over the Your Phone icon in the notifications area of the taskbar to access the recent Apps feature.
With the new Recent Apps feature, your recently used Android apps will appear on the Your Apps page of the Your Phone app.
This change makes it easy to quickly access an app, making it possible for you to switch from your desktop to your mobile device
Microsoft plans to roll out this new Continuity feature to everyone over time and expects that everyone will have access within weeks.Devices used
The new feature is currently only supported by select Samsung Galaxy devices that support the exclusive link to the Windows feature that can be accessed from the quick panel menu.
Link to Windows was developed by Microsoft and Samsung, and it allows users to sync their phone with their Windows 11 PC without using a USB cable.
If you don’t want to open an app, you can also just drag and drop files between your phone and PC by simply tapping and holding on to a file you want to transfer.Apple’s handoff feature
Microsoft’s implementation is more sophisticated than Apple’s Handoff feature. It works with any app on all three platforms. Microsoft’s solution will open the native app that supports Handoff when it transitions from an iOS device to a Mac or vice versa.
This isn’t quite as handy as Apple’s solution since it doesn’t work with native iOS apps. You can only access apps on your Mac or Windows computer or through Chrome browsers on a Mac and Windows PC.
One nice thing about this new Continuity feature is that it works across multiple devices. If you pick up where you left off on one device, you can continue using that app on another device.
The big caveat here is that this new recent app feature only works with specific phones right now. Microsoft says support for more Android phones running will be added soon.
The Your Phone app will require an active internet connection and Bluetooth connection between your phone and PC to make this work.
The experience isn’t as seamless as Apple’s handoff feature where you could easily switch from one device to another without launching individual apps.
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Revenue from Microsoft’s Surface lineup topped nearly $2 billion for Microsoft’s fourth calendar quarter—and Microsoft believes so strongly in its success that it’s predicting another 20-percent growth on top of that for the current quarter.
In all, sales of Microsoft Surface devices grew about 39 percent, “ahead of expectations,” to $1.86 billion, Microsoft chief financial officer Amy Hood said during an analyst call covering Microsoft’s second fiscal quarter of 2023. Overall, Microsoft made $8.4 billion on revenue of $32.5 billion, up 12 percent overall.
There’s another trend: The revenue mix within Microsoft’s More Personal Computing business is expected to shift more toward Surface and Xbox gaming, and away from Windows.
Mark Hachman / IDG
Move over, Windows: For now, Surface is ascendant.
That’s interesting, if only because Microsoft’s three business units generally break down like this: Productivity and Business Processes (up 13 percent to $10.1 billion) is where Microsoft Office lives. Intelligent Cloud (up 20 percent to $9.4 billion) is where Azure and its cloud services reside. More Personal Computing (up 7 percent, to $13.0 billion) is the traditional home of Windows.
But for this quarter at least, Windows will take a back seat to Surface. Windows OEM revenue dipped, by 2 percent in sales of Windows 10 Pro, and by 11 percent in what Microsoft calls “non-Pro” revenue. Surface soared to $1.86 billion in revenue, and gaming was even higher: $4.232 billion.Microsoft: chip shortages are hobbling Windows
Although it’s exciting to think that Microsoft’s Windows division could evolve into the Surface division over the long term, it’s not as simple as all that.
Low-end processors—which, presumably, would power inexpensive Windows PCs that would sell in greater quantities than more expensive models—are in short supply, and there’s little Microsoft can do about it.
That doesn’t help Microsoft, whose executives complained repeatedly that Windows as a whole was suffering because of it. “The overall PC market was smaller than we expected primarily due to the timing of chip supply to our OEM partners which constrained an otherwise healthy PC ecosystem and negatively impacted both OEM Pro and non-Pro revenue growth,” Hood said.
Over time, then, it’s possible that Windows will swing back to becoming the growth driver of Microsoft’s biggest division, and Surface growth will taper off somewhat. But though we were fairly lukewarm on Microsoft’s tweaks to devices like the Surface Laptop 2 and Surface Pro 6, buyers are obviously snapping them up.Can enterprise synergies fuel Surface further?
While Microsoft Teams didn’t do it for us, hundreds of thousands of enterprises disagree.
Teams encourages the use of Office 365, but also shows off the power of Microsoft’s Azure cloud, its home for AI-driven services. Azure revenue increased by 76 percent. Microsoft uses both Azure and the cloud to power its security offerings, protecting Outlook’s email. What Microsoft calls its “Power platform”—including PowerBI and more—also taps the cloud. And it continues from there: Microsoft’s xCloud will enter public trials this quarter, tapping the power of Microsoft’s cloud to power Xbox games.
What’s not clear is whether Surface devices are benefiting from this synergy yet, or whether they’ll rocket up further if Microsoft figures out a way to make them uniquely part of its ecosystem. Though Surface devices like the new Surface Go are priced for consumer budgets, most of the Surface lineup’s price tags are aimed at the corporate market.
For now, though, Surface is rolling. Hood even predicted the Surface lineup would grow an additional 20 percent during the current calendar quarter—a sign of extreme confidence in how Surface is doing right now. While Microsoft’s phone business may have failed, PCs are clearly a success story in Redmond.
Windows is under assault like it’s never been before, and Microsoft just missed a crucial chance to use its sweeping Windows 10-powered New Xbox One Experience update to cut a powerful new competitor off at the knees.
From the rise of mobile technology to the tremendous slowing of PC performance increases to Apple’s Mac surge, Windows has been looking wobbly for five years or more. What’s worse (for Microsoft), the titanic mistake dubbed Windows 8 sparked a mutiny of sorts inside the PC industry itself, inspiring Valve—the company behind Steam—and over a dozen PC makers to gamble on Steam Machines: radically small PCs, powered by the Linux-based SteamOS, designed both to usurp Windows’ iron-fisted control over PC gaming and to drag PC gaming into the living room.
After a long delay, the first wave of Steam Machines launched this week, alongside Valve’s radical Steam Controller and Steam Link. Make no mistake about it: The appearance of a gaming-focused, Linux-based threat to Windows, backed by the largest and most beloved company in PC gaming, is nothing short of a major threat for Windows. We found our initial week in a Steam-powered living room nothing short of intoxicating.
Zotac’s tiny Steam Machine, next to Valve’s Steam Controller.
It’s a glaring potential pain point. This is where Microsoft could have struck with its New Xbox One Experience—but it failed to do so.
Leaning on its shared Windows 10 core, the Xbox One’s NXOE lets you stream your Xbox games to any Windows 10 device in your house. Critically, however, it fails to do the reverse. You can’t stream PC games from your Windows 10 system to your TV via the Xbox One, despite the fact that Steam in-home streaming and Nvidia’s GameStream technology already offer that very feature.
Nvidia’s GameStream technology already allows GeForce-equipped PCs to stream games to TVs via Nvidia’s Shield devices.
If Microsoft had enabled PC-to-Xbox One streaming in the New Xbox One Experience—which was pushed out a mere two days after the Steam Machine launch—it could’ve effectively leveraged its console to hit a major competitor where it hurts, while that competitor’s still in its infancy.
Ignoring the bare-bones Link, the cheapest Steam Machine available today costs $450. The Xbox One sells for $350. If PC-to-Xbox streaming were enabled, that $350 would grant you access to not only the full Xbox One game library, but your full PC gaming library as well. Note that I didn’t say your Steam library: While Steam Machines lock you into Valve’s ecosystem, Microsoft could theoretically open the doors to your Origin, uPlay, and locally installed games, as well.
But it didn’t. The NXOE’s game-streaming is a one-way street, and it’s pointing in a direction that does no good for PC gamers.
Microsoft’s Windows 10-powered New Xbox One Experience.
Maybe the Xbox One’s weak AMD Jaguar CPU cores have issues decoding streams sent from PCs. Maybe Microsoft’s focused on maximizing the Xbox One’s utility, or perhaps it’s worried that allowing streaming from PCs could cannibalize Xbox game revenue (Steam sales are damned sweet). Arguably, that loss could be worthwhile if it staved off a threat toward Windows itself. Who knows?
For what it’s worth, Microsoft says it’s working to allow Windows 10 users to stream games to the Xbox One. Not having it ready in time to roll with the New Xbox One Experience—to shatter the Steam Machines before they get off the ground—feels like a significant miss, though. If Steam Machines rise in popularity during this holiday season, and enjoy even mild momentum in the years to come, this tardy Xbox One feature could wind up proving costly indeed.
Microsoft’s idea for a new Surface Book leaves MacBook Pro looking dull
Microsoft’s new Surface could adopt a very different screen hinge design, with newly-spotted patents suggesting the company is flirting with an iPad Pro-style floating hinge. Currently, the Surface Book has a detachable screen – which pulls away from the keyboard to form a standalone tablet – while the Surface Laptop adopts a more traditional notebook form-factor.
Microsoft’s well-praised industrial design has avoided any major changes over the Surface range’s lifespan, from the earliest shock at the Surface Book’s trick detachable screen. Since then, we’ve seen processor and graphics updates, among other things, but no dramatic aesthetic modifications. According to a new patent, though, that time may be at hand.
The filing, “Computing Device Hinges,” was published by the World Intellectual Property Organization on July 22. Spotted by WindowsUnited, it details a more complex hinge mechanism that could elevate the display above the base section. It would also allow that display to be pulled forward, closer to the user, making touchscreen and stylus use more straightforward.
It’s reminiscent, certainly, of the iPad Pro’s Magic Keyboard. That has a keyboard and trackpad, but also lifts Apple’s tablet above it so that it’s at a more ergonomically comfortable position.
In Microsoft’s design, the tablet section does not look like it releases from the base – unlike how the iPad Pro and the Magic Keyboard work – but instead the whole thing is a single, more flexible laptop. It’s not, as Windows Central points out, the first time we’ve seen such a concept from PC-makers. HP’s Elite Folio offers such a layout, allowing the touchscreen to be pulled forward so that it covers the laptop’s keyboard though not its touchpad.
Last year, meanwhile, the Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel took a similar approach. It promised mobile artists a workstation which could be used as a traditional laptop or as an art studio, courtesy of a dual-hinged screen.
If Microsoft goes ahead with the idea – and that’s a big “if” given patents regularly fail to pan out into actual production devices – it’s unclear what the form-factor might replace in the existing Surface line-up. Or, indeed, if it would add to it rather than supplant an existing model. The Surface Book remains a popular device, with its extra GPU and battery grunt in the keyboard section, but it’s questionable as to just how many people actually regularly remove and use the tablet screen section independently. This new design might allow for a more tablet-like experience but without having to sacrifice the GPU boost in the process.
Alternatively, the Surface Laptop – most recently the Surface Laptop 4, released earlier this year – could get a more user-friendly form factor. That might help emphasize Windows 11’s touch enhancements, and offer Microsoft a strong contender to the iPad Pro for those users who know they’re rarely going to want to be out of reach of a traditional keyboard.
Either way, it’s fair to say Microsoft has been imaginative when it comes to pushing back at the idea that only Apple innovates in portable computing right now. Not all of its projects have been entirely successful, mind. The Surface Neo, a clever dual-touchscreen device that was to bridge laptops and tablets, met with an unexpected hurdle earlier this month, when Intel announced the chipset it was meant to be using has been pushed into end-of-life status much earlier than anticipated.
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