Microsoft launches Surface Book, its first own-brand laptop

Software giant Microsoft announces a range of new Windows 10 devices, including smartphones, a tablet – and Surface Book, the company's first laptop device

Microsoft has launched its first own-brand laptop, along with a tablet and smartphones running Windows 10

The Surface Book laptop is a hybrid device with a detachable keyboard, based on Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors. Microsoft is aiming the device at users wanting the latest “super thin” laptop, similar to Apple’s MacBook or the Ultrabook machines available from Windows laptop suppliers. The Surface Book is initially only available in the US, with prices starting from $1.499.

No UK release date has been announced.

Microsoft announced a tablet, the Surface Pro 4, calling it the “the thinnest, lightest and most powerful tablet” from the supplier. The device is 8.4mm thin, features a 12.3-inch PixelSense display and runs on the Core i5 and Core i7 chips. The device is available from 26 October 2015 in the UK, and can be ordered at the Microsoft Store. Prices start at £749 for the low-end, 128GB, Intel Core m3 version with 4GB memory – up to £1,799 for the top-of-the range 512GB Core i7 version with 16GB of memory.

Two smartphones are available, as part of the Lumia range brought into Microsoft with the acquisition of Nokia in 2014. The Lumia 950 and 950 XL are the first to run Windows 10, which Microsoft describes as “the phone that works like your PC”, suggesting they will be aimed at corporate users looking for a single operating system (OS) across their phone, tablet and PC estate. Prices on the Microsoft Store start at £499.99 for the 5.2-inch screen 950 and £549.99 for the 5.7-inch 950 XL.

Microsoft also announced a low-end Windows 10 smartphone, the Lumia 550, based on Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core processor, with prices starting from $139 in the US. No UK pricing is available, but the device is expected to be released in Europe in December 2015.

Microsoft released Windows 10 in July 2015 as the latest version of its flagship OS, its first to run the same version of Windows across smartphones, tablets and PCs. The company provides the software as a free upgrade for consumers who bought Windows 7 or the much-maligned Windows 8 – although businesses will need to upgrade to Windows 10 using their existing Software Assurance corporate licensing deals.

Microsoft said 110 million devices worldwide are running Windows 10 – representing 6.6% of the global desktop operating system market, according to NetMarketShare research.

“With Windows 10 and these new Microsoft devices, you are at the centre of magical new experiences,” said Satya Nadella, chief executive of Microsoft.

“We’re moving people from needing to choosing to loving Windows, and these devices promise to fuel even more enthusiasm and opportunity for the entire Windows ecosystem.”

Read more about Microsoft's Windows 10 OS

Many organisations skipped the PC-unfriendly Windows 8 release. But Windows 10 is far more enterprise-focused.

Microsoft says Windows 10 allows companies to bring the latest innovation to their existing PC fleet, but how good is the latest version of the operating system really?

Windows is at a crossroad. Microsoft needs to convince businesses and third-party app developers to adopt Windows 10.

Read more on Laptops and notebooks

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This will be interesting to follow. Microsoft's forays into hardware haven't been terribly successful to date. I wonder what they've learned, I wonder how a new OS will affect sales.
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