When Microsoft first introduced the Surface Pro 4 tablet and Surface Book laptop back in October 2015, the tech giant said it was just trying to show its PC manufacturer partners what the future looks like.
Judging by a CES 2016 event I attended this week hosted by Microsoft, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s “Mission Accomplished” time.
In fact, most of the major PC manufacturers, from Lenovo to Dell to Samsung, are showing off tablet/laptop convertibles that very obviously take their design cues from the Surface Pro, with detachable keyboards, or the Surface Book, with detachable laptop sections.
But Terry Myerson, Microsoft VP of Windows and Devices, told Business Insider in a short conversation that the fight is all but finished.
“I don’t feel in any way like, ‘mission successful,'” Myerson says.
Sure, Microsoft has proven its point with what it calls “two-in-one” devices, he says. The modest but still substantial success of the Microsoft Surface has proven that there was, indeed, a market for powerful, productivity-focused Windows tablets.
Samsung even used CES to announce the Galaxy TabPro S tablet, a superthin Surface-like device that’s also the first Galaxy device to run Windows instead of Google Android.
Yet, Myerson says, there are still plenty of opportunities for “device innovation.”
The Surface Pro and Surface Book are just a piece of Microsoft’s device business, as he points out. And just as Samsung, et al, have put their own unique spin on the Surface concept to appeal to their own core markets, Myerson sees a lot more chances for PC makers to run with the company’s other ideas, too.
Plus, there is still plenty of room for partners to take platforms like the Microsoft Band 2 fitness tracker, belaugered Microsoft Windows 10 Mobile smartphone operating system, or even the forthcoming HoloLens holographic goggles, and put their own spins on them.
This actually slots right in with what we’ve heard about Microsoft’s next flagship smartphone, which the company has hinted will change how we approach the phone the same way the Surface changed how we approach the tablet.
Myerson also says that one often overlooked area of innovation is low-cost laptops. It’s easy to dismiss a Windows 10 laptop that just takes another design concept and makes it less expensive, Myerson says. But partners who take the sweet design and features of super-tablets like the Surface Pro 4 and work it into cheaper laptops are doing important work, he says.
“I think that’s actually a pretty material thing,” Myerson told us.
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