Weekly Surface News Roundup – 24 January 2016

Surface-News-Roundup

Another week and another set of news stories about the Surface and related subjects. Here’s what I have for this week:

  • January 2016 Firmware Update
  • New Surface Pro 4 and Book Models
  • Surface News Roundup: Paul Thurrott says Microsoft is “[email protected]#$ing up. Big time”
  • Surface News Roundup: Rechargeable Surface Pen?

Alright, let’s dive in. [divider]

June-2015-Surface-3-and-Surface-Pro-3-Firmware

Surface News Roundup: January 2016 Firmware Update

While Microsoft has yet (as I’m writing this) to release updates for the Surface Pro 4 or Surface Book this month, they did release a fairly substantial set of firmware updates for the Surface 3 and Surface Pro 3.

As usual, when they initially released them earlier this week, Microsoft didn’t really include any details. However, since then, the following detailed descriptions for the updates have surfaced (no pun – OK, small pun):

Surface 3:

  • Surface System Aggregator Firmware update (v1.0.51500.0) improves reliability with the Surface 3 Type Cover
  • Surface UEFI update (v1.51116.18.0) adds ability within Windows Power & sleep settings to turn off Wi-Fi during sleep. Improved touch support for UEFI menus and support for 3rd party onscreen keyboards improvements.
  • Microsoft Surface ACPI-Compliant Control Method Batter driver update (v1.2.0.2) ensures the correct surface driver is installed.
  • Wireless Network Controller and Bluetooth driver update (v15.68.9037.59) improves access point compatibility and throughput on 5GHz.
  • Surface Digitizer Integration driver update (v1.0.1.1) improves pen pairing feature with the newest surface pen.
  • Surface Pen Pairing driver update (v1.0.1.1) improves pen pairing feature with the newest surface pen.
  • Audio Device driver update (v604.10135.7777.2109) improves audio quality with some applications.
  • I2S Audio Codec driver update (v6.2.9600.527) improves audio quality with some applications.
  • Serial IO GPIO Controller driver update (v604.10146.2652.3930) improves system stability and touchscreen reliability.
  • Dynamic Platform & Thermal Framework Driver update (v604.10146.2651.1559) improves system stability and touchscreen reliability.
  • Serial IO I2C ES Controller driver update (v604.10146.2654.3564) improves system stability and touchscreen reliability.
  • Serial IO SPI Controller driver update (v604.10146.2657.947) improves system stability and touchscreen reliability.
  • Serial IO UART Controller driver update (v604.10146.2653.391) improves system stability and touchscreen reliability.
  • Sideband Fabric Device update (v604.10146.2655.573) improves system stability and touchscreen reliability.
  • Trusted Execution Engine Interface driver update (v2.0.0.1067) improves system stability and touchscreen reliability.

Surface 3 4G LTE (In addition to the updates above):

  • GNSS Bus Driver update (v20.23.8244.18) improves GPS experience.
  • GNSS 47531 Geolocation Sensor driver update (v20.23.8244.18) improves GPS experience.
  • Surface CoSAR driver update (v2.0.304.0) enhances the Wi-Fi connectivity reliability while mobile broadband is ON.
  • Surface IA7260 Firmware Update (v1544.01.00.28) improves mobile broadband network stability.

Surface Pro 3:

  • Surface Pro Embedded Controller Firmware update (v38.9.50.0) improves system start-up reliability.
  • Surface Pro UEFI update (v3.11.1150.0) adds pen support in UEFI menus and improved support for 3rd party onscreen keyboards.
  • Surface Fingerprint Sensor driver update (v2.2.10.6) improves accuracy.
  • Wireless Network Controller and Bluetooth driver update (v15.68.9037.59) improves access point compatibility and throughput on 5GHz.
  • HD Graphics Family driver update 4331 (v20.19.15.4331) improves color calibration and system stability.
  • Display Audio driver update (v6.16.00.3189) supports compatibility with the updated HD Graphics Family driver.
  • Surface Cover Audio driver update (v2.0.1220.0) improves system stability.
  • Microsoft Surface ACPI-Compliant Control Method Battery driver update (v1.2.0.2) ensures the correct surface driver is installed.

Frankly, while Microsoft is making some mistakes (See the Paul Thurrott says Microsoft is “[email protected]#$ing up. Big time” story below). I am happy that they are, at least, still supporting the Surface Pro 3 with updates.

Surface News Roundup New Surface Pro 4 and Book Models

Surface News Roundup: New Surface Pro 4 and Book Models

Earlier this week, Microsoft added new Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book models for customers in the US and Canada. These new high-end models sport 6th Gen i7 CPUs along with 16GB of RAM and a whopping 1TB SSD!

As you might expect, though, they won’t be cheap. The new SP4 goes for $2700 USD and the new Surface Book will, reportedly, go for $3200 USD!!! I say reportedly because, as of the time of this writing, the online Microsoft Store does not yet have the new Surface Book model listed.

In addition to the new SP4 and Surface Book, Microsoft is also launching a gold Surface Pen in Canada, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United States for $60 USD.

Related: Microsoft, eWeek,  Slashgear [divider]

Surface News Roundup Paul Thurrott says Microsoft is f@#$ing up. Big time

Surface News Roundup: Paul Thurrott says Microsoft is “[email protected]#$ing up. Big time”

Paul Thurrott is (arguably) the most prominent Microsoft blogger. Earlier this week, he wrote a post criticizing the SP4 and Surface Book.

As you probably know, Microsoft has had a series of problems with the two newest additions to the Surface line, including flaky screens that flicker during use and mysterious battery drains.

In his article, because of Microsoft’s lack of support/response, Thurrott compares these ongoing problems to the iPhone 4’s “Antennagate” issues that Apple had in 2010.

In case you don’t recall, the (then new) users of the iPhone 4 had a serious issue in that if it was held in a certain way, the phone would no longer get any service. After denying there was a problem for weeks and even blaming the users for “holding it wrong”, Apple eventually had to offer iPhone4 owners a special case that mitigated the problem. They quietly tweaked the design for the iPhone 4s to actually solve it.

If you look at Twitter and Windows Central, you’ll see some people agreeing with him, some disagreeing, and at least, one calling him a “whiner with a failed blog”.

Personally, I agree with him….. at least mostly.


I’ve been in IT for around 24 years at this point in my life and, like it or not, no product created by man is perfect (ironically, one of the things Apple said in 2010). Especially something that’s extremely complex like the Surface. So, I don’t “blame” the Surface for being flawed.

I do, however, think that Microsoft needs to “man up” and take on the problems instead of sitting behind a corporate wall of silence. Frankly, and I know this from years hard-won experience in mid-to-upper IT management, that’s the only way that they’re going to keep their creditability going forward.

Keeping quiet and hoping the people having problems will eventually go away, just won’t work. This is the internet, after all, right?

Related: Thurrott [divider]

Surface News Roundup Rechargeable Surface Pen

Surface News Roundup: Rechargeable Surface Pen?

A patent that was filed back in June of 2014 has recently come to light. The patent application was uncovered by Patently Mobile and shows that, for a while now, Microsoft has been thinking about using a rechargeable pen instead of one with batteries.

As you may know, when Microsoft switched from the Wacom pen tech to the N-Trig tech with the SP3, they had to include batteries in the pen to make it work with the screen. If they pursue this technology, the batteries will no longer be needed.

Now the big question is: will Microsoft make pens using this technology with the SP5/Surface Book 2, before the SP5/SB2, OR never use it at all?

Related: WinBeta, Patently Mobile [divider]

And that wraps up this week’s Surface-related news stories. I’ll have more for you next week.

Tim

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