back to article Team Microsoft: Device Police... 'Are you pumped? I'm pumped'

“Someone out there must have a family,” Panos Panay remarked yesterday, surveying his audience of potato-shaped gadget bloggers. An optimistic view, I thought. Panay was presenting Microsoft’s Devices event in New York, an event designed to get bloggers’ juices running. And boy, it did. Years ago, I was in a MacWorld audience …

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Oh dear

Who ever thought there would be a Microsoft conference where Microsoft software was the elephant in the room everybody was studiously trying to ignore?

For all that the Surface Book might be a game changer, and the Lumias might be the greatest phones ever made, all I can smell from here is the slow, creeping spread of decay.

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Coat

Re: all I can smell from here is the slow, creeping spread of decay.

Yeah, I hate hot desking too. You never know what the last occupant has been up to....

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Re: Oh dear

"Who ever thought there would be a Microsoft conference where Microsoft software was the elephant in the room everybody was studiously trying to ignore?"

Anyone who picked up on the theme of the event being hardware...? I for one would've been somewhat surprised if an event billed 'device day' had started with a 3-hour showcase of a desktop O/S. Complaining about the shortage on software is like going to a Google event on self-driving cars and complaining that there was no Android showcase included.

The Surface book is the big ticket item, there's no denying that - and tbh it's a very good big ticket item. The Surface unit has been increasing in revenue enormously since 2010, and while Andrew may not have met anyone that's bought one I know a lot of people who have - and I don't know anyone who's used a Surface 3 Pro who actually dislikes it. They're good machines, and the Book honestly looks like a very solid option at a very attractive price from this distance.

The Lumias will undoubtedly continue to be a ludicrously niche device, even though I don't share Orlowski's pessimism about Continuum (I for one have enough monitors lying around my house that the ability to convert a phone or tablet into a PC on the fly is genuinely interesting). But MS might as well accept that they're never, ever going to win a big slice of the consumer pie in smartphone land, and would do better to concentrate on taking up an enterprise-centric, AD-integrated strategy, adopting the niche that currently just contains the corpse of Blackberry.

And Band is about as exciting as other wearables, meaning 'not remotely'. Seriously, is anyone who's actually really tech-aware (i.e., genuine techies as opposed to journos and analysts) excited about ANY wearable yet? Has anyone found any real reason for their existence? Watch/Wear are most useful for saving you 3 seconds to remove your phone from your pocket; most of the rest are little more than pedometers and 1980s calculator watches. Hololens has more promise in this area, but suffers from making the wearer look like a prick, needing to be plugged into a PC, and being prohibitively expensive.

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Re: Oh dear

I still haven't figured out what the book is and why its so much dearer than a Surface Pro. Isn't it just one of the Asus Transformers with an extra graphics card? Don't get me wrong I actually think the original Surface Pro 1-3 is a nice bit of kit - I just don't get why I might need one, like I needed (for shiny values of need - ie want) an iPad or a MBA.

Actually I find the band quite more needful. It seems to get good reviews and seems reasonably well priced. Ok its a 200 quid toy but toys can be good.

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Re: Oh dear

Focusing on Enterprise for WP seems to be the trick MS are missing currently. The decline of Blackberry is leaving a gap that MS would be the natural candidate to fill given that most IT departments run AD and Microsoft device management products. WP is a good product, just way too late to the party, I really hope they can find a good healthy market for it.

I've got the Band 1, mainly to give myself a kick up the ass to get a bit fitter. But I have found it invaluable for the notifications. Emails and texts come through, and with a quick peak at the band I can see if they're worth reading in full or not, the phone comes out of my pocket a lot less often these days, which gives the kids much less opportunity to try and steal it for gaming. Also, having it tell me how many steps I've done, miles, etc, is a really good motivator for a naturally physically-lazy individual such as myself.

One minor correction on the HoloLens though, it is untethered so you're not plugged in to a PC, you're wearing it. I suspect this will go the way of the Kinect, a great idea in theory but with very little mainstream use. This isn't necessarily a bad thing though as the Kinect is a profitable unit despite being a niche product.

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Re: Oh dear

Hololens doesn't need to be plugged in, it is entirely standalone!

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Re: Oh dear

> the ability to convert a phone or tablet into a PC on the fly is genuinely interesting

I see two problems with Continuum. First it is ARM powered so, at best, it will be like RT and will run only 'Universal*' apps and the cut-down Office RT. Second, in enterprises, staff will be taking their 'desktop' machines to the pub in their pockets, and/or running them on their home network with all the security protection that entails (ie: none).

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Coat

Re: Oh dear

> "excited about ANY wearable yet?"

That depends. Does a fleshlight count as a wearable?

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Oh dear

"Anyone who picked up on the theme of the event being hardware...? I for one would've been somewhat surprised if an event billed 'device day' had started with a 3-hour showcase of a desktop O/S."

*straw man klaxon*

Microsoft usually shows off new features of the platforms along with the hardware - but not so much this time. In context, Microsoft has the biggest change to its mobile platform since 2009 coming up - just a month away, I'd have expected lots of teasers of new features showing how exciting this is going to be, to crank up the hype. It is an omission worth noting.

"Windows Everywhere... but not here I'm afraid."

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Re: Oh dear

I bought a Band 1 because I'm an unashamed MS fanboi and wanted to play with the new tech. I never expected it to be of any use whatsoever. In the end I found it indispensable for two reasons:

(1). unlike all the other wearables it has integrated GPS as well as all the biometric stuff, which meant I could go running or biking without having to carry the phone or wear a chestband HR monitor with my Suunto. It's much more comfortable and the web interface is pretty good too.

(2) the notifications are genuinely convenient. If I'm on my bike, in the tube or at a meeting I get an inaudible buzz on the Band and I can discretely and/or safely check to see if it's something important or not.

I was so impressed that when the, much prettier and slicker, Band 2 came out I upgraded. The Band 1 went to a colleague (Apple fan) who loves it.

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Facepalm

See icon

See title.

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Re: See icon

See title.

We need an icon that's just the words "See text".

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Nail on the head

But a Surface on its own remains an expensive and very heavy alternative to a tablet

I don't often agree with Mr Orlowski, but this phrase pretty much sums up my view of the Surface range.

As for the whole "laptop replacement" thing - the only thing I can see any point replacing my laptop with is a newer, better laptop.

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Re: Nail on the head

I replaced my desktop, my laptop and my tablet with a Surface Pro 3 and desktop dock... YMMV

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Re: Nail on the head

In my opinion unless you're replacing a desktop-replacement laptop (and actually use it as such, rather than as a status symbol) then a SP3 or SP4 is not your target. It's the non-pro Surface 3. It's good enough for *most* tasks, and at £550 (for the higher memory & storage and pen) is a laptop replacement price.

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Re: Nail on the head

It depends, I use 3 displays (not possible on the 3, available with the 3 Pro), I run a web browser, Outlook, X-Windows client, Teamviewer, VNC, ERP client, Word, Excel, OneNote, Paint.net and Powerpoint all at the same time, something which a 3 would struggle with, but which the Pro 3 is comfortable doing.

Obviously on the run that lot is not really realistic as I only have one display and having more than 2 windows visible on the small display isn't really practicable, but when it is docked it is fine.

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Sil

Re: Nail on the head

The Surface 3 Pro may be expensive, but it is a true laptop replacement for many people, except it's vastly better for anybody enjoying / needing a stylus or touch. It is indeed way more portable than most laptops: it fits perfectly in my leather business case whereas even my super thin XPS couldn't. And it is truly an exceptional product, from the super build quality to the best stand on the market. An almost 4 bn $ business a year is nothing to sneeze at, even if it is dwarfed by Apple, whose tablets really do not belong to the same category.

It seems to me Microsoft has presented a very strong offering with the Surface pro 4 and the Surface Book, and I bet they will continue to increase their market share in the enterprise space.

I have no idea whether the concept of a smartphone + dock as a PC/tablet replacement (or most probably complement/backup) will hold, but it sure seems interesting. The killer feature would be to be able to print while docked - or even better untethered.

The Lumia 950/XL seem very worthy successors to the outstanding 930. They may be expensive, but relatively. They are way cheaper than their 6s/Plus 16 Go counterparts, but with much more: double the storage, sd card, 30%+ bigger battery, 1 Go more RAM, higher screen resolution, integrated wireless charging, better camera, and on and on.

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Sil

Re: Nail on the head

Indeed, I'm quite sure the Surface 3 would be enough for most knowledge workers, including most managers. I have an S3 Pro and a Surface 2, I was amazed by what typical Office work I could expedite even on a S2. The S3 removes the two S2 biggest sins: WinRT and no stylus.

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Pumped?

Unlike these lot the only time I'm pumped is after I've lifted weights.

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Anonymous Coward

Answers:-)

a) "Are you pumped? I'm pumped" - "No, I had the salad, not the beans"

b) "Generations in the making" - "Aren't we all, it's called life"

c) "Tech-powered insights" - "He had a torch?"

d) "Crunchable and applicable" - "As the starving man said to the Hob Nob"

e) "Be productive, like the boss" - "It's the boss being re-productive that scares the sh$t out of me"

f) "Scenario-based ideation" - "Thinking about real things then"

g) "Wrist-optimized" - "The porn version of giving your self a pat on the back?"

And the winner is - your guess is a good as mine:-)

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Re: Answers:-)

Indeed so.

How many ways can you say 'Meh'?

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What's the problem?

What would be achieved by demonstrating Windows 10 especially when it is already out there and being used? This was a hardware launch and as such they were focusing on that. In the software launches they don't demonstrate the hardware features beyond the software running on hardware and I didn't expect that to happen this time either. ( Apart from the Continuum demo which was showing off Hardware and Software.)

Since everything they showed used Windows 10 they weren't really hiding it at all as Orlowski stated there just wasn't a need to focus on it.

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Re: What's the problem?

Yes, it was a hardware launch. Yes, MS was there with a Lumia, holding it carefully.

That's a bit like Elon Musk holding a big reveal conference about his latest Tesla model and all anybody can see is a poster of it.

At a hardware show, you're supposed to demonstrate the hardware, not just show a piece of it.

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Cool hardware

They just need a good OS to go with it. Maybe they could license Blackberry's, or, at a stretch, Android.

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Continuum

If the idea is that the interface should adapt to the display/device type why did the go to the trouble of trying to build a one-size-fits-all interface for 8? Alternatively, if they realised after the reaction to 8 that this really wasn't such a good idea, why didn't they revert the desktop aspect back to what had been more widely accepted for 10? Will there be another iteration in a few years time?

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d) "Crunchable and applicable"

Microsoft is not in the chips business (yet), so they don't do crunchy.

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Comment choice

I'll 'pump' for 'Generations in the Making'

After all MS seems to try, fail, try, fail, try, fail etc etc

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Zen

> At times an exec held a Lumia in the hand for the camera – but was careful not to touch it.

"Hold it in the hand, but take care not to touch it."

"What was never lost can never be found."

“Life is a journey. Time is a river. The door is ajar”

I came to The Reg for technology news, but received enlightenment.

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Facepalm

Re: Zen

Can you hear the sound of one hand slapping?

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Bonus Quiz

c) "Tech-powered insights" ?

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Bonus Quiz

I'm going for (e), it's also as accurate as a VW emissions test

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Anonymous Coward

Quiz

On the Bonus Quiz please tell me it's E

I know they have shareholders and they need to run around screaming and back slapping each other or "the market" complains but for f*ck sake MS could do with a character who cares beyond the next few years, maybe Jobs was the answer to Apple because he had a real want for it to exist beyond his own life. I can't help thinking the alleged dog-eat-dog mentality at MS favours those who don't really care about the company just their own backs and how to step on others for the next few years and bonuses. Who in MS would die with the company name on their lips?

Nothing is for the long term, they don't seem to have much aesthetic or humanistic desire to enrich anyone but themselves, give the public something to want as a future and you might be part of it, worry about quarters and be eternally devided.

Surface F*ck Yeah!, great phrase, not sure about the last word though.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Quiz

No, not (e)

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WTF?

The need some training

Finally watched it last night - like the tech; even Windows 10, even running it on my Lumia phone.

However, boy are they awkward speakers - Panos barely smiled once - not even a Gordon Brown special. What a dour delivery, even "I'm so pumped" ewwwwwwwww they've bone from one extreme (Balmer) to the other.

You may have sorted the gadgets and software out but get some interpersonal skills, public speaking training!

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Def
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Why all the phone hate?

I accidentally smashed (slightly partly on purpose, but not really) the screen on my HTC 8X a few weeks ago and was waiting for the new Lumias to be announced.

I think they look great. Nice clean design, with great specs.

I will be buying a 950 just as soon as I can. I'm not sure I'll ever use the dock, but I might buy one just in case.

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Re: Why all the phone hate?

Yeah but good luck getting any decent apps on it.

Nice phones, terrible ecosystem.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why all the phone hate?

what apps is it missing that you need?

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Def
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Re: Why all the phone hate?

Yeah but good luck getting any decent apps on it.

Unlike you who clearly 'heard something on the Internet' and decided to repeat it, I've been using Windows Phone 8 for the last couple of years. Can't say I've ever had trouble finding an app.

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Re: Why all the phone hate?

Nope I'm not repeating anything on the internet.... I had a 1020 for at least a year and a half, maybe 2. Before that I had played around with a Sammy Focus. Many apps were just weblinks. Mapping was ugh. A few others like my banking app were not as good as the iOS/Android one, but they did the job.... until they were discontinued. I am not sure what your expectations are, if they are low then I guess it's ok. I had to leave the phone when I needed to use work stuff like vpn, office, rdp, and the Android ones were way better.

I know for a fact if you use a Win phone, you are compromising left and right.

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Now with call recording!

Fuck yeah! *

* For small values of fuck. Beejeebus Christ, nearly 2016 and only just managed to do call recording. Have they done anything since WP7 apart from re-arrange the deckchairs?

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Re: Now with call recording!

> Have they done anything since WP7

Sure. They've changed the name to Windows Mobile. Again.

-A.

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Re: Now with call recording!

Fuck yeah! *

* For small values of fuck

And also small values of "yeah".

Seriously though, did they really say "ideation" in a non-satirical setting? That word needs to be dragged out onto tarmac and shot.

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Re: Now with call recording!

-"ideation" in a non-satirical setting? That word needs to be dragged out onto tarmac and shot.-

According to the Daft Dictionary:

ideation: Noun; a deceitful echoic construction, used instead of other synonyms for "con game" by hucksters trying to conceal their intent from the less savvy.

It's use is a very useful warning that you should shield your wallet and run away swiftly.

See also: flim-lam, con, deceit, deception, hoax, bamboozle.

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Anonymous Coward

h) Your data is secure with us and we would never give it to the NSA or use for our own nefarious purposes.

Do I win a cookie?

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Big Brother

> Do I win a cookie?

Yes, a very persistent one.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: That was a hit-piece....

Sounds like more pieces of a failed "mobile first" strategy hitting the fan....

best to simply "duck and cover" so you don't splashed...

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Paris Hilton

So Continuum is like Blackberry Blend

with added dongle?

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Alert

Am I pumped?

Better than that.

DEVELOPERS!

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Headmaster

One of the points with the Surface Book is precisely this:

"Gadget perks have replaced car perks. Everyone I know who has a Surface Pro likes it, but in every case they’re either borrowing it, or it was bought for them."

What is true for the Surface Pro* is even more true for the Surface Book. Here Microsoft is not only trying to benchmark/set its footprint on the premium end of the market, it is, with the Surface Book, producing the "status lappie" for the "managerati" with the intention of making them adherents of a Win10 device as a status symbol contra a high-end MBP. How often have we seen directors/senior managers carrying highly specced MBPs when they in reality have no need for that level of kit in their hands on work? They are status symbols ("I deserve this" "it validates me") - Redmond is trying to ensure that it is their status symbol that gets carried into boardrooms throughout enterprise. How far they will succeed is of course another question.

* Admission: Both La Senora and I own Surface Pro 3s - although we bought them ourselves. :P

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