After issuing a “Save the Date” for its fall hardware event a couple of weeks ago, Microsoft is sharing a bit more information about the upcoming launch. On Sept. 12, Microsoft sent out the official invitations for its Oct. 2 event in Manhattan, which will kick off at 10 am ET. (This year’s fall event will be live-streamed.)
The Microsoft fall event, like last year’s (which also was on Oct. 2), is going to be about both devices and “experiences.” That means Microsoft officials likely will talk about services and scenarios built around its coming devices — which makes sense given that, these days, Microsoft develops Surface hardware alongside Microsoft 365 software and services. I have good reason to believe that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella will be at this year’s fall event; he was not at the fall event in 2018.
(Coincidentally or maybe not, Amazon held a devices and services event on Sept. 25, where a barrage of new Alexa-centric devices were announced.)
I’ve heard, as I’ve noted previously, that we might see a several new Surfaces, possibly including a new Intel-based Surface Pro two-in-one with a more powerful processor and USB-C; an AMD-based Surface Laptop (and possibly a new Intel-based Surface Laptop, as well); and a new ARM-based (Qualcomm 8cx) Surface device.
There’s some speculation as to whether Microsoft also could introduce a new Surface-branded portable speaker at the event. It seems as if this device would be more business-focused and built around Microsoft’s Teams group-chat service based on some hints in a recent patent filing. As one of my readers speculated, maybe such a device also could be used with “Teams for Life,” an as-yet-unannounced (but expected) version of Teams that Microsoft could offer for families. I’d think if and when Teams for Life becomes available, it could be a cornerstone for Microsoft’s expected Microsoft 365 Consumer subscription bundle.
The biggest question in the minds of many of us Microsoft watchers is what, if anything, Microsoft will say about its still unofficially acknowledged “Windows Lite” OS, which is expected to be a ChromeOS competitor. Microsoft has been building a dual-screen PC, codenamed “Centaurus,” which could be one of several different Microsoft and third-party devices to run Lite OS.
Microsoft recently showed off advanced renders of Centaurus at an internal meeting, but my contacts say the device is still quite a way from being commercialized (if it ever is). Sources say Centaurus would be a 2020 product, at best, but Microsoft could opt to show off an early prototype or render of it at its fall event. Maybe we’ll even catch a glimpse of the Surface Hub 2X, the souped-up version of the Surface Hub due in 2020.
Just for the record (and because I’m a dream killer), I’ll be very surprised if Microsoft does talk about Lite OS at this event.