The speculation about the Surface Phone from last week is continuing and overwhelming the news but I was still able to cherry-pick some interesting stories for you. So, here’s your Surface News Roundup for the week of March 13th, 2016.
- Project Rigel and Surface Hub
- Outlook Mail and Calendar Updates Coming
- Surface Might Have a Huge Market share by 2020
- 4th Major Windows 10 Update Pushed to 2017
- House of Commons to Vote With Surface
I think there are some interesting things in there this week so, let’s get started…[divider]
Weekly Surface News Roundup: Project Rigel and Surface Hub
This week, Microsoft announced Project Rigel which they’re selling as a better way to conduct remote meetings by delivering a “Skype Meeting-based experience”.
If this sounds kind of familiar, it’s because it is one of the things Microsoft has been touting about the (often delayed) Surface Hub. Ironically, the Surface Hub will be quite expensive at about $20K for the bigger version.
Zig Serafin, corporate vice president on the Skype Business Services team, had this to say about Project Rigel:
Project Rigel will bring a Skype Meeting experience pioneered on Microsoft Surface Hub to nearly any meeting room with a display or projector. It will use Windows 10 devices for center-of-room touch control and Skype for Business online meeting technology to easily connect remote users. Hardware partners including Polycom and Logitech will certify elements of their portfolios for use with Project Rigel systems, including the Polycom RealPresence Trio and CX5100, and Logitech ConferenceCam Connect, ConferenceCam GROUP and PTZ Pro Camera. Logitech also plans to deliver a purpose-built smart dock for Project Rigel to seamlessly connect the system elements in a meeting room, while Polycom plans to deliver a portfolio of complete Project Rigel systems
So, if you’re tired of waiting on the Surface Hub and/or you’re uncomfortable with the price tag, Project Rigel might get you (at least) some of the capabilities of the Surface Hub sooner and without such a sticker shock.
Weekly Surface News Roundup: Outlook Mail and Calendar Updates Coming
Earlier this week, Microsoft released an update for the Outlook Mail and Calendar app on Windows 10 devices, taking it to version 17.6769.40152.0.
The 145 MB update, which unfortunately is only available to Windows Insiders at the moment, includes the following features:
- Drag and drop attachments into your email messages (<- Yay!!!)
- Print week view in the calendar
- Turn off the message preview text in the message list
- Get rid of junk email with right-click Move to Junk
- Let others know “I’ll be late” directly from meeting notifications
So, if you’ve been frustrated with the Windows 10 Mail app due to some missing features (like drag and drop support), this new version might make you a little happier when it releases to everyone in the (hopefully) near future.
Related: WindowsLatest [divider]
Weekly Surface News Roundup: Surface Might Have a Huge Market Share By 2020
While it’s tough to predict the future, analysts over at IDC (a global market research firm) are predicting that 2-in-1 devices (like the Surface and Surface-clones) will have about 30% of the global computing market by 2020.
If this turns out to be true, as the “pioneer” of the 2-in-1 device form factor, the Surface is in a really good spot.
Just remember, this is only a prediction, not a fact. The IDC once predicted that Windows Phone sales would exceed the iPhone by 2017. So, don’t dump all of your cash into Microsoft stock just yet.
Weekly Surface News Roundup: 4th Major Windows 10 Update Pushed to 2017
If you’ve been waiting on the next major update of Windows 10 (Redstone 2) in the hopes it will add some features or fix any annoyance you have, you’ll be waiting a while.
Apparently, it’s being done to support a wave of “new Microsoft-branded Windows 10 devices”. Why yes, that does make me think they mean the next generation of Surface devices.
Frankly, after some of the problems with the SP4 and Surface Book at launch, it might be a good thing that they’re trying to better pair the new version of the OS to the hardware.
What that means for older devices, however, has yet to be seen.
Related: WindowsItPro, ZDNet [divider]
Weekly Surface News Roundup: House of Commons to Vote With Surface
Starting this week, the House of Commons in the U.K. started recording their votes with Surface Pros running custom software.
The clerk of the House of Commons David Natzler had this to say about the switch:
We are harnessing modern digital technology to make our work more effective, more efficient and more accessible, while respecting parliamentary conventions and traditions. Using tablet devices to record divisions will enable us in due course to publish the results much faster, meeting demand from the public who naturally want to know how Members have voted.
It’s one more endorsement of how the Surface is changing the way things are done around the world.
Related: Betanews [divider]
We’ve come to the end of the weekly Surface News Roundup for another week. I’ll be back again next Sunday with even more stories for your information and amusement.
Tim Rolston is a professional geek with over 23 years of experience working in Information Technology and dealing with everything from large-scale storage to remote systems management and automation for organizations such as Texas Instruments, Mobil Oil, and the University of Michigan (where he was an Academic IT Director).
He co-founded JTRTech along with Joanna to realize his long-time dream of working for himself.