Windows 10 device roundup features Lumia smartphones with Display Dock

'No single device will be the hub,' CEO Nadella says. 'The hub is you.'

Microsoft on Tuesday jammed a range of new Windows 10 devices into a two-hour announcement -- everything from three new Lumia smartphones, a Microsoft Band 2 smart wrist wearable, a new Surface Pro 4 and its first-ever laptop, the Surface Book.

The 13.5-in. Surface Book, starting at $1,499 and available Oct. 26, might be the most compelling to the Microsoft faithful. Yet, there was a clear message from CEO Satya Nadella and others that Windows 10 Lumia phones, which only control 3% of the smartphone market, have an important place in Microsoft's Continuum world. With Continuum, apps and other software in Windows 10 are intended to run on all the new machines, opening up opportunities for IT, app developers and users.

"We're making progress toward moving people from needing, to choosing, to loving Windows," Nadella said. With the fastest ramp-up to Windows 10 of any prior Windows version (110 million devices running Windows 10 in just eight weeks), he said, "more and more people are coming home to Windows … We now begin a new chapter of Windows 10 with new devices built for Windows 10. We built Windows 10 for a new era of mobile computing. No single device will be the hub of activity. The hub is you."

The Lumia smartphone's prominence in that Windows 10 product line had been called into question by analysts, mainly because it has taken Microsoft several years only to earn a 3% global market share for its smartphones. But Microsoft attempted to show how a Lumia smartphone can become like a desktop PC when connected to a desktop display and keyboard through a new Microsoft Display Dock.

In an onstage demonstration, the dock was used to edit a PowerPoint presentation on a large display with a keyboard and mouse connected to a new Lumia device. Pricing and availability of the dock weren't immediately available.

The new Lumia 950 and Lumia 950XL start at $549 and $649, respectively, but Microsoft also announced the Lumia 550, a a more-affordable LTE smartphone priced at $139. The 950 and 950XL will ship sometime in November and the 550 in December.

New features of Microsoft Band 2 include a curved display and a barometric sensor to measure altitude changes for extreme athletes. The Band 2 will cost $249 and will be available Oct. 30.

The Lumia 950 and 950 XL are "the most productive phones on the planet," Nadella said. "You can run your entire business on them. In developing markets, they can be your first or only computing devices."

Some analysts have questioned whether new Lumia devices can do well in developing markets, where Android devices have a stronghold, followed by Apple's iPhone.

"I think the new Lumia phones are good devices for enterprise users and consumers who want a full Windows experience, but these phones are not about conquering the world in the way the phones were with Nokia," said Carolina Milanesi, chief of research at Kantar WorldPanel. "The phones are now a piece of the ecosystem that needs to be there to give Windows 10 users a full experience."

She added that it's not a question of whether the new Lumia devices can sell well during the coming holiday season, but "how many enterprises will think they finally have an enterprise-class phone that can appeal to consumers when universal Windows 10 apps are embraced by developers."

Milanesi and other analysts also hit on the central issue of whether the universal apps will be available in sufficient numbers. "The app problem has not gone away," she said.

"The new Lumias with the Display Dock using Continuum could be very enticing for the business user," added Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. "I believe these will help Microsoft increase share in the enterprise, but only if they can round out their Windows Store [with enough apps] so that the phones can be used well by business users at home."

In other words, the Lumias have to have value for business users for personal apps and services, especially since Android devices and iPhones have found their way into businesses through a bring-your-own-device approach.

Tuong Nguyen, a Gartner analyst, said he found the demonstration of the Display Dock with a Lumia phone "cool," in the sense that it showed a Lumia could be controlled with PC keyboard commands to provide "a consistent, familiar experience across platforms."

Providing a PC experience through a phone is a stepping stone to what Microsoft eventually intends, he said. "The Windows 10 experience and interface are certainly not the Windows of the past. The PC paradigm lets you work in a familiar way. If you're mobile-first, you have the option of doing things in a different way."

For example, during the demo of the Display Dock connected to the Lumia phone, Microsoft Lumia manager Brian Roper showed it was possible to interact with the phone's interface through a keyboard and mouse. "The important thing there is that Microsoft doesn't prevent you from doing things mobile-first," Nguyen said.

"I wouldn't necessarily say that's real value, but certainly more value," he added. "On its own, a phone or a wearable is pretty good, but with a base/dock it can be even more powerful. But it's not about a single device or feature. As Nadella said, 'the hub is you,' and that's exactly it. It's the spectrum of devices with you as the hub."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Microsoft

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matt Hamblen

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?