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posted by janrinok on Thursday October 08 2015, @09:24AM   Printer-friendly
from the busy-busy-Redmond dept.

Reported at Anandtech, Microsoft Announces the Surface Pro 4, from $900:

The display retails the 3:2 aspect ratio of the SP3 but boasts a '5 million pixel display', or 2736x1824 in numbers, with PixelSense. Each display is 100% sRGB with individual calibration, but also features 10-point multitouch. [...] Prices will start from $900 and go up to [$2700], with pre-orders starting on October 7th. Devices will be available from October 26th, but Microsoft failed to mention which regions they would be available, so given the price information we could assume it might be a US/NA initial launch at this point with other regions to follow.

Prices may start at $900, but escalate to $2700 for a tablet with an Intel Core i7, extra SSD storage, and 16 GB of RAM. Going from $900 to $1000 swaps the Intel Core m3 for an i5 chip with around triple the TDP.

Alongside Surface Pro 4, Microsoft is launching a Surface Book 2-in-1 laptop. The 13.5" display is detachable, and the keyboard/base houses an NVIDIA GPU (in most configurations) as well as batteries and ports. Surface Book shares the same 3:2 aspect ratio with Surface tablets. Prices range from $1499 to $2699.

Microsoft has announced a HoloLens Developer Edition augmented reality device, which is set to be released in Q1 2016 for $3000:

If developers are still interested in grabbing a HoloLens kit, they can start applying today. Applicants can only request a maximum of two devices, must reside in the United States or Canada, and participate in the Windows Insider program. Even after the applications, you won't find out until you're approved to pre-order HoloLens until January 2016. After that, HoloLens will ship sometime in the first quarter of 2016.

From The Register:

"HoloLens is packed with space age technology," enthused Terry Myerson, Microsoft's windows and devices group veep. "We've got see-through high definition lenses, spatially-aware sound, movement sensors and custom built silicon. And it's fully untethered."

The HoloLens team demoed a new game Microsoft has been working on, dubbed Project X-Ray. The headset maps out a living room and then superimposes robots breaking through walls while the player shoots them with a hologramatic gun wrapped around their hand. As gameplay goes, it was a pretty basic demo, featuring lots of funky graphics but nothing earth-shattering. Yet, with the right developers, Microsoft might well have a winner on its hands.


Original Submission

Related Stories

Microsoft Announces $3,500 HoloLens 2 With Wider Field of View and Other Improvements 5 comments

Microsoft Reveals HoloLens 2 with More than 2x Field of View & 47 Pixels per-Degree

Microsoft today revealed HoloLens 2 at MWC 2019 in Barcelona. The headset features a laser-scanning display which brings a field of view that's more than 2x the original HoloLens and 47 pixels per degree.

HoloLens visionary Alex Kipman took to the stage in Barcelona to introduce HoloLens 2 which addresses many of the key criticisms of the original headset: field of view, comfort, and hand-tracking.

Kipman says that HoloLens 2 "more than doubles" the field of view of the original HoloLens, though hasn't yet specified exactly what the field of view is. The original HoloLens field of view was around 35 degrees, so HoloLens 2 is expected to be around 70 degrees.

[...] HoloLens 2 is also designed to be more comfortable, with much of the headset's bulk balanced in the back of the headset. Kipman said HoloLens 2 "more than triples the comfort" over the original HoloLens... though the exact weight, and how they came to that specific figure, is unclear. Still, the front portion of the headset is said to be made entirely from carbon fiber to cut down on weight and offers a convenient flip-up visor.

HoloLens 2 also brings hand-tracking which goes much further than the coarse gesture control in the original headset. Now with full hand-tracking, users can interact much more directly with applications by touching, poking, and sliding controls directly rather than using abstract gestures.

Also at Engadget.

See also: HoloLens 2 Specs Reveal 2–3 Hour 'Active' Battery Life, Optional Top Strap, & More
Mozilla is bringing Firefox to Microsoft's HoloLens 2

Previously: HoloLens - Microsoft's Augmented Reality Product
Microsoft Giving $500,000 to Academia to Develop HoloLens Apps
Microsoft Announces Surface Pro 4, Surface Book, and HoloLens Dev Edition
Microsoft HoloLens and its 24-Core Chip
HoloLens 2 to Include Machine Learning Accelerated Hardware
Ford Using Microsoft HoloLens to Help Design Cars
Leaked Microsoft Documents Describe Plans for Surface Tablets, Xbox, "Andromeda", and HoloLens
HoloLens to Assist Surgeons at UK's Alder Hey Children's Hospital
U.S. Army Awards Microsoft a $480 Million HoloLens Contract


Original Submission

Microsoft Could Build a Life-Sized Cortana for HoloLens; Cortana for iOS and Android Launches 16 comments

VentureBeat reports on one of the user suggestions that have been made for HoloLens (an augmented reality headset) app development:

One of the more interesting parts of the Microsoft's HoloLens augmented reality initiative is the way Microsoft is listening to the public to direct some of its early-stage app development for the platform, through the Share Your Idea website launched earlier this month.

One of the top three ideas on the site, based on votes, is called Cortana in Person. Cortana, of course, is Microsoft's personal digital assistant that plays a starring role in Windows 10. She's a Siri competitor that, as gamers will know, was derived from the Cortana artificial intelligence character in the Halo series of games.

"Hologram of Cortana from Halo who you can talk to and interact with," forum user LookItsKris wrote in his description of the idea for Cortana in Person. "Works in the same way as Cortana on desktop/phone. Get answers to questions etc. Maybe ask a question on HoloLens and answers come through on phone? Possibilities are endless."

"Dude, that would be so awesome. A real-life Cortana," commenter H4rmonicAn4rchy wrote. "Who wouldn't want that?!"

Because Microsoft will actually build the top three ideas from the site, there is a chance that Microsoft will bring the idea to life for HoloLens, whose $3,000 development kits will be shipping in the first quarter of 2016.

The Cortana digital assisstant has been launched for iOS and Android devices, although some features will be limited compared to the Windows versions.

Previously: Microsoft Giving $500,000 to Academia to Develop HoloLens Apps
Microsoft Announces Surface Pro 4, Surface Book, and HoloLens Dev Edition


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 5, Touché) by WizardFusion on Thursday October 08 2015, @11:22AM

    by WizardFusion (498) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 08 2015, @11:22AM (#246810) Journal

    "HoloLens is packed with space age technology,"

    So 1960's stuff then.??

    • (Score: 2) by Hyperturtle on Thursday October 08 2015, @08:51PM

      by Hyperturtle (2824) on Thursday October 08 2015, @08:51PM (#247058)

      Yes, you nailed it.

      It also will be black and made of plastic.

      No one laughs at my joke when I say 1960s tech in response to "it's got space age technology in it!", so I am glad to see somewhere does..

      Technically, it's Sputnik era technology, so we can maybe get a Norman Rockwell era design wrapped around the space age tech?

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 08 2015, @12:11PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 08 2015, @12:11PM (#246819)

    It's kind of funny to me that the three laptops that I would want anymore are all produced by the three largest OS manufacturers. Apple -- Macbook Pro. Google -- Chromebook Pixel. And now Microsoft -- Surface Book.

    I think this speaks to the poor quality of machines that the OEMs have been putting out over the past six years or so. Ever since the 16:9 transition, quality has declined (although the members at Thinkpads.com would argue that quality declined when we moved to widescreens in general). For many years up until about 2014, laptops sold with shitty TN panels running at 768p; thank the MacBook Pro/"Retina" display for giving OEMs the swift kick in the ass needed to get on the ball again.

    Walk into any Best Buy and tap the back corner of the (non-Apple) consumer laptop displays. Notice that wobble? It shouldn't do that. But, you'll find it on everything these days. That's a shitty plastic hinge that will probably break in a year's time. Plastic palmrests creak under pressure, smudge when touched and scratch when repositioned.

    We are told a lie that 16:9 needed to happen because all of the screen manufacturers moved to 16:9 for television displays. I call horseshit on that. Nobody was selling (or buying) televisions in the 11-15" range. We were all sold on UEFI being necessary, but then we found out that it was used by manufacturers to install persistent malware that survives an OS reinstall. The irony is, if you want a proper functioning Linux laptop, the locked-down Chromebook Pixel is probably your best bet, since it runs Coreboot by default (a project to which Google is a *major* contributor) and is already running a sort of Linux by default. The 3:2 display is the game-changer there.

    Dell's 2015 XPS 13 with Linux seemed like a nice proposition (despite the 16:9 display), but it was a disaster out of the gate. You could have a functioning trackpad or functioning sound card -- but not both! Because they used the same bus (what is this, 1995 with IRQ's?) and a proper Linux driver was not available. It took six BIOS revisions to fix that, and it's still iffy. Not to mention the Broadcom Wifi card that was installed exclusively on the Linux versions when a decent driver wasn't in the mainline kernel and the Windows version of the *same* laptop came with an Intel wifi card which *was* supported by upstream. WTF?

    Modern Thinkpads are complete pieces of shit. Soldered, non-expandable memory, trackpoints without buttons (although they rectified this on the most recent lines, but the driver support is shit on Linux because the new trackpoint is just a hack over the redesign from the *40-series and not properly recognized by the BIOS) They are Thinkpads in name only. Six row, off-center keyboards? Fuck you Lenovo, for destroying what was the only decent machine in the market. Plus, I would rather not be seen with anything "lenovo" written on it, since I'm an IT guy by trade and it might lead to an irresponsible purchase of a malware-ridden lenovo device by someone who thinks "well, the computer guy uses them."

    I'm pretty stoked about the Surface Book hardware wise, but I doubt it will let me run Fedora out of the box, and a proper *BSD install is probably out of the question.

    TL;DR -- most modern laptops suck. Microsoft recognized this, and made one that probably doesn't suck. Hopefully this a kick in the ass that the OEM's needed to start making devices that aren't complete shit anymore.

    • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Thursday October 08 2015, @02:27PM

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 08 2015, @02:27PM (#246869) Homepage Journal

      You are bringing back memories. Way back in 1972, I saved up the money to buy my own real deer rifle. I was tired of hunting with hand-me-down rifles, I wanted my own brand new rifle. I couldn't afford the best, of course, but $75 plus about $4 tax got me a Winchester model 94. I spent many an hour cleaning and polishing that thing. Taking it apart, putting it back together. I knew every bolt, screw, and pin like the back of my own hand.

      Several years later - ohhhhh - maybe 20 years later, I was handed a brand new Winchester model 94 by a youngster who wanted approval of his purchase. WTF? No bolts. No machine screws. The thing was nothing more than a bunch of laminated metal, riveted together! You could no longer disassemble this rifle, the way I had disassembled my own.

      I smiled, and told the kid what a nice hunting rifle he had - but I was looking at a genuine piece of cheap shit.

      Oh - computers. Yeah. If a laptop can't be dropped several feet and survive, it's really not worth a crap. Anything portable WILL BE DROPPED sooner or later. Falling from the bench seat of your pickup truck shouldn't leave it inoperable. Plastic hinges? Yeah, those work real well - NEVER.

      --
      "no more than 8 bullets in a round" - Joe Biden
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 08 2015, @02:49PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 08 2015, @02:49PM (#246878)

        Oh - computers. Yeah. If a laptop can't be dropped several feet and survive, it's really not worth a crap. Anything portable WILL BE DROPPED sooner or later. Falling from the bench seat of your pickup truck shouldn't leave it inoperable. Plastic hinges? Yeah, those work real well - NEVER.

        The anecdotes that I used to tell about my Thinkpads -- one survived a fall on the tarmac (T40 series) from about 10 feet. The CD drive popped open --- and that's it. No physical damage, no internal damage. A few years later, an X60 fell down a flight of stairs in my house to the first floor. Bounced off the granite floor, hit the wall, and punched a hole in the sheetrock. I was more concerned about the Thinkpad than the wall....but when I picked it up, not only was it still running, but it didn't even lose WiFi signal.

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Thursday October 08 2015, @03:12PM

      by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Thursday October 08 2015, @03:12PM (#246894) Journal

      I find it funny that at least one OEM is not so scared/angry [computerworld.com] of Microsoft launching a Windows laptop, and are hoping it generates additional demand for premium laptop segments [theregister.co.uk].

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Thursday October 08 2015, @03:31PM

      by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Thursday October 08 2015, @03:31PM (#246901) Journal

      Ever since the 16:9 transition, quality has declined (although the members at Thinkpads.com would argue that quality declined when we moved to widescreens in general). For many years up until about 2014, laptops sold with shitty TN panels running at 768p; thank the MacBook Pro/"Retina" display for giving OEMs the swift kick in the ass needed to get on the ball again.

      Display quality has improved for more expensive laptops, but the dreaded 768p panels still persist:

      HP Pavilion 13-S120NR X360 Convertible i3-6100U 13.3" IPS 1366x768 Windows 10 $379.99 [slickdeals.net]

      It's no Broadwell throwaway, it's a brand new PC with an Intel Skylake Core i3-6100U [intel.com]. From the ARK you can find out that the integrated Intel HD Graphics 520 is technically capable of driving a 4096x2304@60Hz display.

      Of course you can now find 1080p for under $400 [slickdeals.net] without much effort, but it is tough to find better than 1080p under $1000.

      HP Pavilion x360-13t 2-in-1 Touchscreen Laptop (13.3" 1366 x 768) [slickdeals.net]

      3200x1800 is an odd resolution point but it's still 16:9.

      ASUS Zenbook $1075 (3200 x 1800) [slickdeals.net]

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 2) by LoRdTAW on Thursday October 08 2015, @04:54PM

      by LoRdTAW (3755) on Thursday October 08 2015, @04:54PM (#246945) Journal

      Hear, Hear!
      I'm also tired of the craptastic plague that is modern notebooks. Either they are flimsy crap or locked down and/or overpriced. And chiclet keyboards need to be pinocchio'd into existence so I can slowly and brutally torture it to its collective death. That is how much I despise chicklet keyboards, even on Macbooks. My old 2011 T410 Lenovo running Linux with an SSD and maxed out 8GB RAM is enough for now. Though, the 8GB limit is lame. And seriously, how many different notebook models do you need to make? Dell has at least 6 base models and a zillion options for each, and that's just for their business models. Why even bother making consumer and business models. Apple got it right from the start, keep it simple and build them sturdy.

      If I built laptops I'd go the solid aluminum case like apple, standard IO ports, no optical drive, coreBoot instead of EFI malware and only offer a few models. No need for twenty different hamstrung models.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by gman003 on Thursday October 08 2015, @12:53PM

    by gman003 (4155) on Thursday October 08 2015, @12:53PM (#246839)

    The new Lumia phones actually have one particularly interesting feature: pair a wireless mouse and keyboard, and hook it up to a monitor, and it switches the UI to the regular desktop mode.

    The app support is pretty limited - they're still ARM phones, so no x86 compatibility - but I can already see this being useful as a business phone. Hook it up to a projector, and bam. There's your Powerpoint machine.

    (I won't be getting one myself, but it certainly seems interesting)

    • (Score: 2) by SanityCheck on Thursday October 08 2015, @03:12PM

      by SanityCheck (5190) on Thursday October 08 2015, @03:12PM (#246893)

      You mean you won't be getting one by choice... if that little tidbit of info catches on with upper management it will doom us all... "You mean we don't have to give them laptops so they can email and do PowerPoint?." Which to be fair is reasonable reaction. Using a full laptop for a lot of the tasks is overblown. The reason why most of these work laptops are barely fast enough to do these simple tasks is all the shit that is put in them to keep them from doing anything but those things.

    • (Score: 2) by Celestial on Thursday October 08 2015, @04:14PM

      by Celestial (4891) on Thursday October 08 2015, @04:14PM (#246918) Journal

      The new Lumia 950 looks like a really nice smartphone. Shame about the OS though.

  • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 08 2015, @04:33PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 08 2015, @04:33PM (#246932)

    Microsoft often seems to have potential winners in its hands, but somehow lets them slip to oblivion while it chases the two in the bush.