Microsoft’s Windows 10 event: It’s time to show us the products – CNET

A follow-up to the popular Surface Pro 3 is expected to launch at the event Tuesday.
Sarah Tew

Microsoft has spent the better part of a year talking about the software flourishes of Windows 10. Now it must get down to talking about hardware.

A number of PCs and tablets already run Windows 10, which was released to the public in late July. On Tuesday, Microsoft will get a chance to show off its own products at an event in New York. The company is expected to release the next Surface Pro tablet, at least one flagship smartphone and a follow-up to its Microsoft Band fitness wearable.

The products will play a critical role in driving the adoption of Windows 10, serving as ambassadors and standard bearers for the latest from Microsoft. Specifically, the smartphones represent Microsoft’s best shot at keeping its Windows 10 software relevant in the mobile arena, which is dominated by Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. A new Surface Pro, meanwhile, could undercut Apple’s business ambitions with the iPad Pro.

Windows 10 has drawn favorable reviews since its debut, with CNET’s Nate Ralph calling it the “Goldilocks version of Microsoft’s venerable PC operating system.” It’s gotten plenty of support from Microsoft’s PC and tablet manufacturing partners, but Microsoft could pique more consumer interest by revealing the hardware it’s got up its sleeve.

To get all the details, follow CNET’s live blog of the event. CNET’s Jessica Dolcourt, Dan Ackerman, Scott Stein and I will be bringing you live updates, while Sarah Tew will provide photos. Our colleague from CNET en EspaƱol, Juan Garzon, will also be on the scene.

Tune in Tuesday: CNET’s live blog of the Microsoft Windows 10 device launch

The event starts Tuesday at 7 a.m. PT/10 a.m. ET. Our live blog will kick off a little before the start, so come early and settle in for all the news.

The Microsoft Band is the company’s take on the smartwatch and fitness wearable.
Sarah Tew/CNET

The stakes are especially high on the mobile side. Adoption of smartphones running on Windows software has been anemic, with Windows Phone representing just 2.6 percent of the market. That stands in comparison with the 83 percent share that Android commands, according to IDC.

Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft hasn’t unveiled a premium flagship smartphone since it acquired Nokia’s devices business in April 2014, releasing just a handful of budget-friendly devices. Microsoft is due for a mobile product that sparks excitement and gets people talking about the software again.

A follow-up to the successful Surface Pro 3, meanwhile, could maintain the momentum of its homegrown tablet franchise. Business customers have gravitated toward the product, and Surface became a billion-dollar business in January.

Others are likewise keen to tap the business market. Apple is waiting in the wings with its larger iPad Pro, while Google last week introduced the Pixel C tablet. Both follow Microsoft’s path of offering a keyboard that doubles as a cover and helps with typing and other work-related tasks.

Microsoft has an advantage because plenty of businesses use Windows already, but Apple has increasingly made headway in the corporate world, tying up with heavy hitters such as Cisco Systems and IBM.

The Microsoft Band, meanwhile, is the company’s take on the burgeoning trends of smartwatches and fitness bands. The Band aims to be a marriage between the likes of an Apple Watch and a Fitbit activity tracker.

Microsoft could have even more in store, including updates on its Xbox game console or on its HoloLens augmented-reality system, a headset that offers computer-generated images layered on top of your view of the real world.

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