Newspaper article International New York Times

Microsoft Shows off a Pile of New Devices

Newspaper article International New York Times

Microsoft Shows off a Pile of New Devices

Article excerpt

Microsoft introduced a new laptop, its latest Surface tablet computer and new smartphones, which can be plugged into big displays.

Not long ago, Microsoft had little interest in being in the hardware business, aside from its Xbox game console, computer keyboards and mice.

On Tuesday, though, the company packed an event in New York with all its latest devices.

Microsoft introduced the new laptop, Surface Book, and its latest Surface tablet computer. The company showed new smartphones, which people can plug into big displays to use as they would ordinary PCs, a wearable fitness band and its HoloLens augmented reality headset.

The products are a sign of how much Microsoft has changed in the last few years as it shifts further from its roots as a software maker to a company that, in some cases, believes it has to invest in hardware to stay competitive.

In many cases, those investments have not paid off. But that has not stopped Microsoft from keeping at it.

The devices Microsoft showed also served a bigger corporate agenda -- illustrating the possibilities of Windows 10, a new Microsoft operating system designed to run nearly any device. The company has not fully gravitated to Apple's approach of making all its own hardware. It still wants other companies to make the bulk of Windows devices and says it believes that its own hardware can inspire others to push the boundaries of their products.

Of the new devices announced on Tuesday, the Surface Book garnered the most attention because it plunges Microsoft deeper into making PC hardware. The company positioned the device, which starts at $1,499, as a more powerful competitor to the MacBook Pro, by Apple.

While the device has a traditional keyboard attached to the screen through a hinge, the two can also be separated so the display can be used as a tablet. "We made the ultimate laptop," said Panos Panay, head of Microsoft's devices business.

Microsoft also showed its new Surface Pro 4, the fourth generation of its tablet. The device, which starts at $899, has a 12.3-inch screen; the previous model had a 12-inch screen. …

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