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Microsoft Faces Immense Pressure After CES Success

Microsoft Event

With this year’s CES now at an end, we have a good idea where manufacturers and designers see the future. Success will be found in all things that fold. All across the Las Vegas Convention Center were the concept laptops which flexed and folded like Optimus Prime in Transformers.

Which puts a huge amount of pressure on Microsoft. It needs to deliver a version of Windows that will allow the hardware to live up to all the gambles made in Vegas by the end of 2020.

Let’s take a look at the CES successes powered by Microsoft’s Windows 10.

Intel produced a concept device, obviously to show what its chips can do with new laptop forms, but the fact that it was showing off the new form as a foldable laptop with a single screen taking up the screen, bending round the inside hinge, and then down over the space normally associated with the keyboard is a clear indication that this is a route it is comfortable with.

How about two of Dell’s examples; the ‘Concept Duet’ which shows a twin screen no physical keyboard design, and the ‘Concept Ori’ which is closer to a tablet design that can hinge upwards into a laptop style angle.

While Asus didn’t go for a flexing screen, the Asus ZenBook Duo also works on two screens, although here the second screen shares the bottom half of the laptop design with a physical keyboard.

The there’s Lenovo’s Thinkpad X1 Fold, which does go with the full screen that curves into thing when closed just as a normal laptop.

But there’s a literal twist to all of these innovative laptops. At CES they were all running Windows 10 Pro, a workmanlike solution at this early stage but not refined to make a seamless foldable or dual screen device feel like magic.

Luckily Microsoft has an answer in Windows 10X.

Windows 10X was announced in October 2019 alongside the dual screened Surface Neo as the operating system that would power this device – and it would allow for an ecosystem of devices from Microsoft’s partners. I suspect this is one of the key reasons that the announcement of Windows 10X happened in Q4 2019… it placed Microsoft publicly in the driving seat of foldable laptops it used the Surface brand to continue pushing innovative form factors and software, and its announcement created a tacit agreement to its partners that it would be ready by the end of 2020,.

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All this amounts to pressure. The early announcement of Windows 10X, coupled with the Surface Neo release window of Q4 2020 has created a hard deadline for the OS team to deliver not just to the Surface team at the Redmond Campus, but to Microsoft’s key hardware partners who have shown their hand at CES.

Microsoft has always looked forwards into the future but it usually remains behind closed doors until everything is cooked. With multi- and folding-screen technology, it has decided to share that future vision today. Let’s hope that Microsoft has thought carefully about delivering to that timetable.

Now read how the Surface team have beaten Apple’s iPad team in one key area…

Check out my website.

I am known for my strong views on mobile technology, online media, and the effect this has on the public conscious and existing businesses. I’ve been following this space for over ten years, working with a number of publishers, publications and media companies, some for long periods of time, others for commissions, one-off pieces or a series of articles or shows. As Scotland’s first podcaster, I continue to be a prominent voice in the rise of podcasting and new media online, and picked up a British Academy (BAFTA) nomination for my annual coverage of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, alongside contributions to Radio 5 Live, the BBC World Service, presenting Edinburgh local radio’s coverage of the General Election. You’ll find me on Twitter (@Ewan), Facebook, and Google Plus.

Source: Microsoft Faces Immense Pressure After CES Success

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Microsoft Just Announced the Surface Neo and Surface Duo and It Could Be Bad News for Apple

Microsoft has always been a software company. It’s what make it the most valuable company on earth (twice), and it’s what makes it so interesting that the company has been making some serious hardware for a few years now. And when I say serious hardware, I mean it’s seriously good. I’m not a Windows user, and you’d have to pry my MacBook Pro out of my cold, dead hands if you tried to make me switch, but I will freely admit: Microsoft has some serious design chops.

New Surface Devices

Take, for example, the slate of new products the company introduced yesterday, like the updated versions of the Surface Laptop, including a 15-inch model. The Surface Laptop 3, as it’s called, also finally gets USB-C, which is long overdue. It’s impressive, but it’s not even close to the highlight of the event, at least from the standpoint of innovation.

That would be the introduction of two new dual-screen devices, the Surface Neo and Duo. It’s actually not even a new concept. Microsoft worked on a similar product called Courier back in 2008, though it canceled the project two years later without ever it being released.

The Surface Duo.Courtesy Microsoft

Surface Duo

The most interesting thing about the smaller of the two devices, known as Surface Duo, is that it’s a Microsoft product that runs Android. Which is because it’s a foldable smartphone, though Microsoft really doesn’t want you to call it a phone.

But it is. It’s a foldable smartphone, which unlike Samsung’s Galaxy Fold, avoids the messy technical problems of foldable screens. Instead, this one has two screens and opens like a book. Instead of focusing on futuristic display technology that isn’t quite ready for prime time, Microsoft is focusing on the user experience.

Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella told Wired magazine that “The operating system is no longer the most important layer for us…What is most important for us is the app model and the experience.” Which is probably why it doesn’t run Windows Mobile.

Surface Neo

The larger device, known (at least for now) as Surface Neo is a dual-screen device with a moveable keyboard that attaches magnetically and charges wirelessly. You can place it over one of the screens, and it covers about two-thirds of that screen, leaving space for a virtual touchpad (at the bottom) or what Microsoft calls Wunderbar (at the top).  The latter feature is sort of like a giant version of Apple’s Touch Bar.

The Surface Neo. Courtesy Microsoft

What’s really interesting about Microsoft’s strategy here is that the device will run a variant of the company’s operating system known as Windows X, which will also reportedly power future dual-screen devices from Dell, Asus, Lenovo, and HP.

This incarnation finally begs the question of whether the world needs a dual-screen device, and if so, for what?

Interestingly, both devices will be able to run different apps across both screens, or in some cases, span both displays, opening up a range of potential uses. For example, Microsoft points out that you can arrange the displays back to back to present PowerPoint slides on the front, while viewing your notes on the reverse side.

And, according to Georg Petschnigg, CIO of WeTransfer and the CEO of Fifty Three–the developers of the popular Paper app–the Duo especially has major creative potential. “Mobile creation and productivity has great potential. I would not be surprised if Google and Microsoft invest in a new App Store based on Android for the Duo,” Petschnigg told me.

A Real Challenge to Apple?

In fact, I think you could argue Microsoft has done something that many tech observers and creative entrepreneurs (like me) would have never thought possible: transitioning from making boring software like spreadsheets and email servers, to a company that now rivals Apple in terms of design and user experience.

Microsoft won’t actually start selling either device until the holiday season in 2020, more than a year away at this point. Normally, tech companies keep innovative new products under wraps until they’re almost ready to ship, but in this case Microsoft is putting it out there for the world to see.

You might even say it’s putting the world–and companies like Apple–on notice.

By: Jason Aten

Source: Microsoft Just Announced the Surface Neo and Surface Duo and It Could Be Bad News for Apple | Inc.com

2.72M subscribers
Microsoft’s 2019 Surface event was filled with big announcements, including the Surface Neo dual-screened device that runs Windows 10X, the Android-powered Surface Duo, and the Surface Pro X that’s built with a custom Qualcomm SQ1 chipset. The Surface Pro 7’s debut wasn’t much of a shock, but there were other surprises, too, like the new Surface Earbuds, and the debut of a Surface Laptop 3, which will be available in 13- or 15-inch sizes. Read more: http://bit.ly/2n1n9I0 Microsoft Surface Neo first look: http://bit.ly/2owUIC3 Surface Laptop 3 hands-on: http://bit.ly/2ovb5za Surface Pro X and Surface Pro 7 hands-on: http://bit.ly/2owDKnv Surface Earbuds hands-on: http://bit.ly/2n4Dpbi Subscribe: http://goo.gl/G5RXGs Like The Verge on Facebook: https://goo.gl/2P1aGc Follow on Twitter: https://goo.gl/XTWX61 Follow on Instagram: https://goo.gl/7ZeLvX Why’d You Push That Button Podcast: https://pod.link/1295289748 The Vergecast Podcast: https://pod.link/430333725 More about our podcasts: https://www.theverge.com/podcasts Read More: http://www.theverge.com Community guidelines: http://bit.ly/2D0hlAv Wallpapers from The Verge: https://bit.ly/2xQXYJr Subscribe to Verge Science on YouTube, a new home base for our explorations into the future of science: http://bit.ly/2FqJZMl

5 Changes Shaping The Future Of Learning Technology – Steve Lowenthal

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What Changes Are Shaping The Future Of Learning Technology

A perfect storm of disruptors is leading us all into uncharted territory. Given this uncertainty, it’s not surprising that Ambient research [1] has forecast negative 14% growth for the US LMS market over the next 5 years.

The LMS Is DEAD Or Is It?

But don’t panic, it’s not that we’re heading back to the dark ages of Excel spreadsheets and manila folders. Rather, we’re entering an era of integrated best-of-breed technologies that in the best case will work together seamlessly to deliver personalized, just-in-time learning experiences.

If you aren’t already in the process, check the following 5 changes that will help you prepare for the future:

1. Compatibility With New Learning Technology

Over the past 5 years, new learning technology products are entering the market at a record pace. This includes social tools like Yammer, AR/VR solutions, gamification platforms, and more. These products are often “self-contained solutions” that control how the user experiences them, what data is collected, and how new experiences are created.

The positive is that we now have an expanded toolset to create the best learning experience based on the content, audience, and goals. The downside is that, in the worst-case scenario, learners are logging into multiple systems, learning paths are disjointed and cumbersome, and data is spread across multiple systems. The future organization needs a guide that supports the ability to combine these disparate technologies into a unified learning experience.

2. Data Is The New Currency Of L&D

The L&D market is quickly approaching a tipping point around data analysis. We’re moving from tracking consumption—e.g. how many people finished a course—to business intelligence or BI. BI refers to technologies, applications, and practices for the collection, integration, analysis, and presentation of business information. The purpose of Business Intelligence is to support better business decision making.

BI requires data that matters—data from an LMS, from work systems—e.g. a CRM, from social apps and from all of the new learning technologies mentioned above. The future organization needs the capability to integrate and analyze data from multiple systems and sources.

3. User Experience Is King

Content is king used to be a commonly heard phrase in our industry, but today User Experience has muscled its way to the top of the list. LMS is too often an inhibitor to the great User Experience. Historically, LMS was designed as an aggregator of learning resources with the main purpose being to gatekeep, assign, and track learning.

This outdated perspective too often is at odds with providing great experiences and outcomes. The future learning organization needs to create great User Experience—this means easy-to-use, available at the point of need, and connected to other resources and people.

4. Amazon And Google Have Changed Expectations

If I have a question, I google it and expect to get the best possible matches to my query. And that simple experience has changed expectations for every one of us. At the same time, we, as learning professionals, have matured in our thinking too.

We’ve moved from thinking of learning resources as a closed loop system—if we haven’t built or vetted it we don’t want you to see it—to a realization that there’s great content available from many sources. The future learning organization needs tools that facilitate the finding and sharing resources as well as social features for users to highlight the gems and call out the lemons.

5. Make It Personal

The final change driver is personalization. Making learning personal has 3 significant benefits:

  1. It reduces the time it takes to complete training and in turn that reduces the opportunity cost of spending time on unneeded learning.
  2. It increases the impact—spending the most time on the most important things that I have the largest knowledge gap produces a better result.
  3. Finally, it makes our learner happy by respecting their time.

Check out the Personalized Learning, by Filtered (full disclosure: they are a Kineo partner and have received investment from our parent company City & Guilds) to better understand the benefits of personalization and the AI that fuels it.

The future learning organization needs tools to help employees find the most relevant and impactful learning and to avoid unnecessary time spent learning what I already know.

As an industry, we’re at the precipice of a dramatic change. Best-in-class learning organizations will be more efficient, focus on things that have the greatest impact, and have more of their activity and investment be informed by data. Who’s ready to get started?

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