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Microsoft shows partner innovation with Always-Connected PCs, MR and IoT at Computex 2017

Written By published May 31, 2017

Computex, Asia’s largest IT trade show, is always an exciting event for Microsoft. We see the OEM and ODM ecosystem come together with over 40,000 visitors and 1,600 exhibitors on new technologies and business relationships. This year, it is inspiring to launch partners’ innovative devices with Windows 10. Beyond the PC market, these partners are also driving emerging categories like the Internet of things and mixed reality. The Microsoft booth at Computex displays the latest in device and solution innovation and gives people hands-on time with the latest technologies.

This year I had the pleasure of taking the keynote stage with Nick Parker, CVP, consumer and device sales and Matt Barlow, CVP, Windows marketing to talk about how Microsoft is ‘Building the Possible’ with our partners.

Our announcements included:

  • Debut of numerous modern devices from top partners,
  • OEM and Operator commitments to deliver Always Connected PCs,
  • Windows Mixed Reality progress on the road to launch later this year
  • Windows and Azure IoT solutions in key verticals like manufacturing and utilities.

We talked about our efforts to inspire customers with new Windows experiences and devices, to help grow the ecosystem, and to bring new categories to life.

Diverse Windows Mixed Reality Headset designs

Last year at Computex, Terry Myerson and Alex Kipman invited partners to join us in building devices that merge physical and virtual realities. Since then we have seen Windows Mixed Reality Headsets from partners like Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, and Lenovo.

At the show this year, we are able to show off the great new designs from these partners making mixed reality available for everyone later this year. These headsets, coming to market this holiday, use Microsoft’s platform to enable a single and consistent user interface, standardized inputs, and a universal app platform for developers.

Acer Windows Mixed Reality headset
Acer Windows Mixed Reality headset
HP Windows Mixed Reality headset
HP Windows Mixed Reality headset

During Alex Kipman’s Build keynote, we announced that Windows Mixed Reality dev kits from Acer and HP are now available for pre-order through the Microsoft Store for developers in the US (Acer, HP) and Canada (Acer, HP). The response to these dev kits has been positive and we look forward to seeing all the great content that our development ecosystem will create.

ASUS Windows Mixed Reality headset
ASUS Windows Mixed Reality headset

As a leading gaming and innovation partner, ASUS is expanding on its prowess into the fast emerging mixed reality category. In addition to its Oculus-Ready ROG gaming desktops and VR-Ready VivoPC X, ASUS will be adding a futuristic head-mount device with a unique polygonal 3D cover panel, designed with comfortable ergonomically adjustable strap, enabling an easy one-hand setup. ASUS is engaged with Microsoft to make this HMD fast, powerful, and ultra-light with a six degrees of freedom (DOF) tracked motion controller, for an incredible, immersive MR experience.

Dell Windows Mixed Reality headset
Dell Windows Mixed Reality headset

Dell is building on their Virtual Reality (VR) leadership in premium gaming and professional creation by partnering with Microsoft to deliver an affordable consumer headset, which will bring mixed reality experiences to a broad audience. Dell’s stylish white headset is uniquely focused on user comfort, designed by the same team that crafts their premium XPS and Alienware PCs. The Dell headset, which will be available by holiday, is thoughtfully designed for comfort and convenience with innovations such as comfortable cushions that can be replaced for a personalized experience, weight balanced headband centered on the user’s head for long-term comfort, cable routing to free the user from dangling wires and, a flip-up visor for easy wearing and removing.

Lenovo Windows Mixed Reality headset
Lenovo Windows Mixed Reality headset

Lenovo is partnering with Microsoft to bring this amazing technology to everyone through an incredibly affordable mixed reality headset for truly immersive, beyond-the-screen mixed reality experiences. Coming later this year, Lenovo’s mixed reality headset will contain built-in sensors to enable inside-out tracking and simplified set-up to let users move around more easily as they experience virtual worlds.

Internet of things solutions are coming in key verticals

Businesses, governments, and academic institutions are harnessing the internet of things (IoT) to drive business forward. With Windows 10 IoT core on devices, Azure IoT, Cortana analytics, and business intelligence, Microsoft is providing a consistent, end-to-end platform that enables partners to build enterprise-grade, IoT solutions for customers.

IoT is about more than a device connected to the cloud, it is really about a multitude of devices, connected together, to deliver insights. In the Microsoft booth, my colleague Mike Quinn showed journalists “a Day in the Life with IoT,” and how these devices work together. For example, the Airbox device collects and reports data on air quality metrics like temperature and humidity and displays the analytics on a dashboard. While in the restaurant scenario there is digital signage, a digital price board, a kiosk for self-ordering, and a robot which makes product recommendations based on historic order information.

New “Always Connected PCs” allow constant connectivity

There is a new generation of users that need to be connected to the cloud at all times. They are students, creators, freelancers, small businesses, and enterprises.  This means sharing experiences across screens and leveraging the latest network technology like gigabit LTE and eSIM. We are collaborating with our ecosystem on a shared vision. This starts with a close partnership at the silicon layer, with Intel and Qualcomm and with our mobile operator partners to provide seamless eSIM connectivity. Microsoft device partners ASUS, HP, Huawei, Lenovo, VAIO, and Xiaomi, are committed to this new category of Always Connected PCs using eSIM technology. In addition, Microsoft announced Always Connected devices will be coming from ASUS, HP, and Lenovo on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset. These new devices will feature Windows 10, always-on LTE connectivity and great battery life.

New, innovative Windows 10 PCs

By far, my favorite part of the show every year is seeing the latest devices from our partners come to market. Partners like Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo, MSI, Panasonic, Samsung, Toshiba, Huawei have all brought beautiful new thin and slim laptops, ruggedized tablets, 2-in-1’s and gaming PCs to market in recent weeks. Here are a few announced here at Computex:

Acer’s new Nitro 5 series and its latest Spin 1 convertible notebook

With Acer’s new Nitro 5 series, gamers can choose from a variety of configurations that feature popular graphics and processors to meet different budgets and needs. Dual fans with Acer Coolboost technology deliver heightened fan speeds and cooling ability, and allows users to manually control the cooling process when heavy use requires an added boost.

The latest version of Acer’s Spin 1 convertible notebook features a sleek metal chassis and vibrant Full-HD display. It comes with Windows 10, and is lightweight, portable and supports Windows Ink through an Acer Active Stylus for creative users on the go.

ASUS brings new thin and light PCs and gaming devices to market

This week, ASUS introduced a line-up of thin-and-light ZenBook and VivoBook laptops that push the boundaries of design and technology to deliver the ultimate mobile computing experiences. The new laptop line-up includes support for many new Windows 10 features — including Windows Ink, Windows Hello, Cortana, and Modern Standby — that boost productivity and gives users an amazing computing experience. Also unveiled at their ROG event here in Taipei was the long-awaited ROG Zephyrus. Zephyrus is the world’s slimmest gaming laptop powered by a 7th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 processor and the latest NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1080 graphics. Zephyrus features the Windows 10 Creators Update, which improves the performance of PC games via the all-new Windows Game Mode, and makes it easier to perform native game-streaming with Mixer, Microsoft’s streaming service.

Dell’s new Inspiron AIOs and gaming desktop  

Dell’s new line-up includes the Inspiron 27 7000 AIO, the Inspiron 24 5000 AIO and the new Inspiron Gaming Desktop – the first gaming desktop to join Dell’s expanding Inspiron Gaming line-up. The new systems boast Dell’s iconic virtually borderless InfinityEdge display technology for a beautiful viewing experience – available for the first time on the Inspiron AIO line – and “Ready for VR” configurations which are capable of delivering immersive experiences through high-end VR headsets. Both new AIO devices are equipped with Windows Hello for one look login and Cortana for far-field speech recognition.

Lenovo’s new V720 designed for small business

The digital transformation is your stepping-stone to the technologies of the future. Enabling employees to realize the benefits of digital transformation requires computing devices that offer power, flexibility, durability and mobility.

It was exciting for me to announce on stage a new commercial device from Lenovo. Thin and light and with an industry leading 77% screen proportion, the new Lenovo V720 is powered by the latest Intel processors and includes next-gen features like Microsoft Hello and Cortana. USB-C Thunderbolt and discrete NVIDIA graphics will help end-users leverage digital technologies to match the pace of business transformation.

MSI Promises the “Next Gaming Dimension”

MSI displayed this week high-end Windows gaming devices. This includes its refreshed gaming laptop rosters: the GT75VR, GS63/73VR, GE63/73VR series and the very latest X299 GAMING M7 ACK, X299 GAMING PRO CARBON AC, X299 TOMAHAWK motherboard. In its booth, they also showed the beefy Infinite A and Trident Arctic gaming desktops, and gaming accessories like the Clutch GM70 gaming mouse, Vigor GK80 gaming keyboard along with Core Frozr XL CPU cooler.

Samsung’s Notebook 9 Pro

I also had the privilege of showing for the first time, Samsung’s new 2017 Notebook 9 Pro which allows users to easily switch between typing on the keyboard, write with their intuitive S Pen, and navigate the brilliant touchscreen. Its slim and lightweight design is for those who are always on the go and need a portable, yet powerful device.

This year, more than ever, we’re seeing new devices in emerging categories truly changing the market. From mixed reality headsets coming at highly affordable price points and connected IoT-enabled devices enabling consumers and businesses to achieve more to new “Always Connected PC’s” powered by eSIM technology, the opportunities for partners to bring new types of devices to life has never been greater.

A thriving ecosystem

All of these devices and new categories create business opportunities for our partners. From new business models like dynamic store bundling and cloud to expanding the ecosystem into new areas like head-mounted displays and motion controllers for mixed reality, our platforms are creating new opportunities for partners.

Our partners push the envelope in gaming experiences. They deliver affordable devices for education. They bring to market devices that light up Windows 10 experiences. Through this thriving ecosystem of partners, new categories come to life.

I’m very excited for the year ahead and for how this ecosystem works together to build the possible.