Quantum @ Index Conference

Microsoft Surface Studio

 

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I have just finished watching the entire Microsoft event, which was held in New York. Yes, Microsoft, not Apple.

As frantic as it sounds, even to myself, I felt they’ve done a pretty good job. Oddly enough, I even feel quite energised and entertained, just like the old days when Steve Jobs used to launch i gadgets.

Microsoft’s been on my radar since the launch of Surface RT and windows 8 touch interface (which frankly was a disaster). Those features were sufficient to prove that Microsoft has realised the importance of producing their own hardware, as well as paying attention to user-centric design. The launch of Windows 10 and Surface Pro product lines verified that very vividly in the eyes of consumers and analysts.

However, the critical point for me was Surface Pro 4 and most interestingly Surface Book. In my view, Surface Book is the most stylish and innovative laptop in the market. More Importantly, it is the most practical hybrid laptop/tablet with a great handwriting experience.

The event started with the introduction of new 3D features of Windows 10 and Microsoft Hololense. The demo was simply amazing and almost flawless. We get to see lots of VR/AR products these days, but hardly anything on development kits and tools. The ‘Creative Updates’, which will come to Windows 10 early next year, adds a number of new features for content creators and artists to develop their own virtual/augmented reality in a seamless fashion.

The Surface Book now offers 16 hours of battery life with Core Intel i7. That’s pretty awesome and a game-changer for those loyal Macbook Pro owners, who have been longing for an update, not to mention the Macbook Air fans.

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But the most mind-blowing take of this event is an addition to the Surface lineup. Microsoft Surface Studio is a touchscreen desktop, with a thickness of 12.5 mm and resolution of 13.5 megapixel. It offers a zero-gravity hinge that allows the screen to be tilted down with minimum effort at a sharp angle. That’s quite useful for artists and graphic designers. I say it’s a game-changer, because Surface Studio is Microsoft’s first desktop PC, and they seem to have got it right in terms of design, features, and its target audience.

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Another remarkable feature is an accessory called ‘Surface Dial’, which works as an input device for selecting various menus on and off screen in order to provide a more genuine touch experience with both hands on the screen.

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Panos Panay, Microsoft CVP for Surface, apart from being an excellent presenter, has done a great job reinventing the Surface lineup. His appearance on stage followed a round of applause and cheering from the audience just like Steve Jobs back in the day. He is definitely one of the most skillful presenters with a fantastic body-language and a thorough understanding of his audience.

Having watched the entire event, for some reasons my mind flashed back to that part of Steve Jobs’ bio where Bill Gates emailed his team after iPod and iTunes deal with major music producers, saying “Apple’s Jobs again”. Under Satya Nadella, Microsoft seems to be back on track on every angle.

When I look at every single Surface product, I see nothing but art and elegance, and it is just a matter of time for that to be reverberated around the system and UI integration of Windows as well.

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Having expressed my sincere appreciation for Microsoft’s new product strategy, I still have faith in Apple and I am very much looking forward to tomorrow’s Macbook Pro event. I very much hope the update will be more than the rumoured interactive display, which supposedly replaces the top function keys.

Bezel-less (almost) and Beautiful!

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This impressive phone is Xiaomi Mi Mix. Offering edge-less 6.4′ display with up to 6GB of RAM, Qualcomm Quad-core Kryo, and a 16 MP camera.
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JavaOne 2016

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Intel Software Event Twitter account has just twitted about my talk at the JavaOne 2016. I’ll be speaking about Java technologies in smart city applications and our collaboration with AESE at Imperial College London at this session (CON6204). If you’re attending the conference please head to Hilton Golden Gate 4/5 at 2:30 pm on the 22nd.

There is an Intel booth (Booth 101) in the exhibition hall with loads of cool IoT products, as well as an number of talks by Intel staff including a keynote by Michael Greene, VP of software and services at Moscone North Hall D, Ian Graves on Vectors in Java (CON1560) and Murat Yener on Maven vs. Gradle (CON2951).

Fitbit Pool Party!

Fitbit held a somewhat luxurious event at Haymarket hotel this evening, launching its new Fitbit Charge 2 and Fitbit Flex 2 smart watch/band.

Charge 2 is a combination of HR and Charge with added GPS support, in a more stylish form factor like a smartwatch.


Despite the fact that the whole event was around a pool with many aquatic fantasies, Charge 2, like its predecessor, is not waterproof. 


Only Flex 2, which is a smartband, is waterproof but lacks GPS, hear-rate and obviously display. 

Charge 2 comes with a variety of accessory bands, in two classic and Luxe collections with special editions in Rose Gold casing.  


Fitbit Charge 2 provides a very accurate sleep-tracking and comes with SmartTrack capability, which recognises exercise activities automatically. Other interesting features include reminders to move and guided breathing sessions like the one on Apple Watch OS 3. 
With 80% of US and a quarter of global  marketshares for wearables, Fitbit seems to be moving in the right track. My judgement is purely based on their categorical simplification. In other words, they seem to be narrowing down their flagships into 2 main categories of Charge and Flex, silently downplaying the Surge, which is a chunky version of Charge and definitely not an impressive product.