Tag Archives: Surface Book

Owning Surface just got easier with the new Surface Plus Program

Surface is designed to help people better create, collaborate, learn, and get things done. Beginning today at 9:00 a.m. PT, we’re excited to announce the availability of Surface Plus and Surface Plus for Business; flexible financing options designed to help more people and businesses take advantage of the power of Surface. Available exclusively in the U.S. at Microsoft Stores and online at Microsoft.com, here’s all that Surface Plus and Surface Plus for Business can do for you:

Owning Surface just got easier with the new Surface Plus Program

With school starting soon, there’s never been a better time for students to find the best Surface that’s right for them. Whether it’s a Surface Laptop, Surface Pro, Surface Book or Surface Studio – Surface Plus provides a simple, no-hassle plan to help students unlock their productivity and be more creative with Surface.

Surface Plus benefits include:

  • Low monthly payments: Customers can purchase a Surface device with an easy, 24-month payment plan at 0% APR.1
  • Device upgrades: Customers can upgrade to the latest Surface after just 18 months.2
  • Dedicated Service & Support: Surface Plus offers best in class service and support from Microsoft Stores. Customers also have the option to add the Microsoft Complete extended service plan.
  • Microsoft Store benefits: All customers who shop at Microsoft Store enjoy access to benefits like a 30-day hassle free return policy, a Surface training and health check as well as a year of free in-store support and technical assistance.

For more information about Microsoft’s full suite of offerings and deals for students and teachers, check out today’s Windows Experience Blog post.

Surface Plus for Business

Owning Surface just got easier with the new Surface Plus Program

We’re also excited to announce Surface Plus for Business. Small and medium-sized businesses that are currently enrolled in the Surface Membership program will now enjoy the same enterprise-grade services and support under the Surface Plus for Business plan. Surface Plus for Business will offer new and existing customers:

  • Multiple Surface models: Customers can add as many devices as they want into a single agreement and can have a mix of models across the Surface portfolio.
  • The latest devices: Previously unavailable, customers can now finance a 55” Surface Hub in addition to the new Surface Pro, Surface Laptop, Surface Book, and Surface Studio to unlock the power of the group in their businesses.
  • Office 365 for Business:. For an additional $8.25 per user per month, businesses can enjoy the ultimate productivity experience on Surface.
  • Flexible Terms3. Businesses can choose flexible 18, 24 or 30 month periods, with the ability to upgrade devices after just 12 months on the 18-month term (or after 18 months on the 24-month term). Businesses can also expand or reduce their device fleet mid-term.*
  • Device Protection: Surface Plus for Business offers peace of mind with the Microsoft Complete for Business extended service plan with accidental damage protection.

Surface Plus and Surface Plus for Business is ownership, re-imagined. For customers in the U.S., we invite you to visit your nearest Microsoft Store for a device fitting or enroll online today to choose the best Surface for you.

1Promotional 0% APR available to qualified customers and subject to credit approval by Klarna. 19.99% APR after 24 months.. Financing issued by WebBank, member FDIC, and serviced by Klarna. Subject to Surface Plus Terms and Klarna Credit Terms
2 Upgrade subject to device availability and eligibility requirements, including an account with Klarna, Inc. in good standing, the return of the functional device to Microsoft in good condition, and new 24-month payment plan and credit agreement with Klarna.
3 The 19.99% interest rate is specific to individual Surface Plus customers financed via Klarna. Surface Plus for Business financing is provided by LiftForward and does not incur interest rates.
*Updated to reflect Surface Plus for Business length terms and financing details

Windows virtualization use rights coming to CSP

We’re exceptionally proud that Windows 10, the most secure Windows ever, offers the widest range of device form factors and the greatest breadth of input options with support for touch, pen, gesture, and voice. Customers choose Windows 10 knowing that they can purchase a great new business PC for just a few hundred dollars, an incredible Surface Pro or Surface Book device for the ultimate in business productivity, or build their own custom rig part-by-part to meet any budget.

For some business customers, Windows virtualization is the solution that best meets their productivity, security, and IT infrastructure needs. This may mean PCs connecting to Windows client VMs running on dedicated or multi-tenant hardware enabling users to freely move from device to device, through to scenarios where a particular app or data set requires an additional layer of separation from the end-user device achieved through virtualization. The common factor here is choice and it’s one of the main reasons our customers and partners choose Windows 10.

Today, we’re making two announcements that provide our business customers with greater choice.
The first is that virtualization use rights will be coming to Windows 10 subscriptions in the cloud solution provider (CSP) program starting in September, with the flexibility to host in both Azure or with 3rd party hosting partners. And the second announcement is a new certification program for 3rd party hosting partners that wish to host virtual machines (VMs) licensed via CSP subscriptions.

Virtualization is not for every customer and so we’re creating offerings with and without virtualization use rights to ensure customers have the choice to subscribe to the solution that best meets their needs while not paying for rights they don’t require.

Beginning September 6th, 2017, customers will be able to choose from five subscription offerings in the CSP program with Windows 10 virtualization use rights, enabling Windows VMs to be hosted in Azure or with a qualified multitenant hosting partner:

  • Windows 10 Enterprise E3 will be available with or without virtualization use rights
  • Windows 10 Enterprise E5 will be updated to include virtualization use rights
  • A new Windows 10 Enterprise E3 VDA offering will be created for customers that require access to Windows VMs on non-Windows Pro devices
  • Customers purchasing or already subscribed to Microsoft 365 Enterprise (formerly known as Secure Productive Enterprise) via CSP will automatically receive Windows 10 virtualization use rights at no extra cost

Compute and consumption charges may apply based on VM use.

To learn more about Windows Enterprise subscriptions in CSP or to find a Windows 10 in CSP partner please visit this page.

To learn more about Windows virtualization licensing please refer to this document

And for partners who wish to learn more about becoming a qualified multitenant hoster, please visit this link

Announcing Microsoft Store back to school deals that begin today

Starting July 7 through September 17, your local Microsoft Store is offering savings on best-in-class products for back to school.

Before heading back to school or setting out on that first job search, there is a moment where the excitement, hope for the future and desire to learn is empowering, and Microsoft Store is the best place to discover and purchase the technology to help you achieve more. Starting July 7 through September 17, your local Microsoft Store is offering savings on best-in-class products, including the well-crafted Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book to help students and young professionals start new adventures and make ideas happen. Microsoft Store offers a 10 percent discount for students, faculty, and staff currently attending or working at a higher education institution in the U.S.

Two young students at Microsoft Store interacting with a Microsoft Surface.

Below are the deals available to help students and new professionals make their ideas happen:

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 shown with blue Type Cover and Surface Pen.

  • Get a Surface Pro 4 and a black type cover for $999, $899 for students*: Surface Pro 4 is powered by Intel Core processors and Windows 10 – with features like Paint 3D, game broadcasting, Windows Ink, Microsoft Edge and more. Surface Pro 4 combines the portability and performance of a laptop to enable the creator in all of us. With its unmatched versatility as a tablet or a laptop, it’s perfect for students, teachers and anyone who needs to get things done on the go, with a sleek and light form factor. With Microsoft Store’s Recycle for Rewards, customers can also trade in their old devices including laptops, tablets, phones and gaming consoles for up to $850 off a new Surface Pro or Surface Laptop**. Additionally, students and teachers get Office 365 for Education for free, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and now Microsoft Teams, with additional classroom experiences. All you need to get started is a valid school email address.

Microsoft Surface Book shown with Surface Pen.

  • Save up to $150 on Surface Book: Surface Book is the ultimate laptop combining the power of a high-performance laptop with the versatility of a tablet. Surface Book enables people to do what they need to work with professional-grade software, anywhere they want.
  • Receive a 3-month Groove membership with any Surface purchase: Surface devices are well-crafted, beautiful devices that help people get stuff done, and with a Groove membership, you will have access to millions of ad-free songs, custom and expert-curated playlists and artist radio.
Dell XPS 15 powered by Windows 10.

Dell XPS 15 powered by Windows 10.

Lenovo Yoga 910 powered by Windows 10.

Lenovo Yoga 910 powered by Windows 10.

  • Get creative with a free Intel Software Starter Pack with eligible PCs: Receive the software bundle, worth $429, with seven apps centering around creativity, entertainment, and productivity when you purchase an eligible PC, including Dell XPS 15, Dell XPS 13, HP Spectre x360, and Lenovo Yoga 910.

Technology not only helps to inspire your best ideas, but also helps take those ideas, and make them a reality! Visit your local Microsoft Store and microsoft.com for the best-in-class products to start a school year or first job off on the right foot. Need help finding the right fit? Microsoft Store’s knowledgeable and friendly associates are on hand to help, support and make recommendations that best fit your technology needs. Customers can learn how to make the most of their technology at the Microsoft Store with personal training, workshops, and more.

Happy shopping!

  • Deals begin on July 7 and are available at local Microsoft Store and microsoft.com, while supplies last. Unit limit per customer will also vary.
  • Surface Pro 4 bundle offer runs through September 19.
  • *With valid student ID.
  • **Based on the appraised value of the trade-in device.
  • Surface Book offer runs through July 15 and Groove membership offer runs through September 17.
  • Intel creativity software starter pack offer runs through August 31.
  • Xbox One S console offer runs through August 30.
  • Valid in the U.S. only at Microsoft retail and microsoft.com
  • For local store hours visit this link

Windows 10 Creators Update coming April 11, Surface expands to more markets

Creativity has led the inspiration of our world’s greatest inventors, architects, educators, entrepreneurs, developers, and students, delivering advancements that move our world forward. Today, people value creativity more than ever, placing us on the cusp of a new wave of exploration, advancement, and impact.

We designed Windows 10 to empower the creator in all of us. To us, that means that everyone has the power to dream big, whether that involves starting a company, developing a lesson plan, inventing a product, developing or broadcasting games, or imagining a whole new world in Minecraft or mixed reality. And we want Windows to be the place you love to create and play, with the tools to help you make your mark on the world.

Windows 10 Creators Update coming April 11

Today, I’m excited to share our latest update to Windows 10, the Creators Update, will begin to roll out on April 11. The Creators Update is designed to spark and unleash creativity, bringing 3D and mixed reality to everyone and enabling every gamer to be a broadcaster. Beyond creativity, it brings new features to Microsoft Edge, additional security capabilities and privacy tools, and so much more.

Whether you’re already a Windows 10 customer or looking for a new Windows 10 device from Surface or our partners, here are just a few of the new features coming in the Windows 10 Creators Update.

3D for Everyone and enabling mixed reality

3D goldfish inside a fish bowl as created in the new Paint 3D app in Windows 10 as part of the Windows 10 Creators Update

With the new Paint 3D app in the Creators Update, it’s simple to create 3D objects from scratch, easily changing colors, stamping textures, or turning a 2D picture into a 3D work of art.

The 3D industry is estimated to grow by over 62% by 2020, and we want to empower everyone to experience, create and share in 3D with the Creators Update.

Most of us have been limited to a two-dimensional canvas with existing tools, yet we live in a multi-dimensional world. With 3D, we can communicate ideas and express ourselves better, and learn faster because it’s much more representative of the world we live in. The 3D industry is estimated to grow by over 62% by 2020, and we want to empower everyone to experience, create and share in 3D with the Creators Update.

Windows has long been home to creation, with the original Paint seeing over 100 million monthly users as one of the most popular creation tools. With the new Paint 3D app in the Creators Update, it’s simple to create 3D objects from scratch, easily changing colors, stamping textures, or turning a 2D picture into a 3D work of art. Remix3D.com offers pre-made 3D art in a growing online library for your use or you can share your own creation with this creative community.

From 3D to mixed reality, the Windows 10 Creators Update enables immersive experiences that blur the lines between the physical and virtual worlds. Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, and Lenovo will ship the world’s first Windows Mixed Reality-enabled headsets with the Creators Update, starting at just $299 USD later this year. These headsets will contain built-in sensors to enable inside-out, six-degrees of freedom, allowing for easy setup and free movement without the need for external markers or sensors in the wall. These devices will light up with new, immersive Windows Mixed Reality apps and experiences, which developers are creating on the recently available Windows Mixed Reality dev kits.

Watch, participate, chat and interact in real-time with Beam

Built-in game broadcasting on Windows 10. Now you can effortlessly stream your gameplay using the Game Bar—just hit Windows + G, click Broadcast, and start streaming on Beam—all without the need for additional log-ins.

Built-in game broadcasting on Windows 10. Now you can effortlessly stream your gameplay using the Game Bar—just hit Windows + G, click Broadcast, and start streaming on Beam—all without the need for additional log-ins.

We’re committed to making Xbox the best place to create and play games across Windows 10 and Xbox One. As part of that, we are unifying players across Xbox console and PC with Xbox Live and through programs like Xbox Play Anywhere, which enables you to buy a game once and play it on both your Xbox One and Windows 10 PC.

With the Creators Update, we are delivering more ways to play, interact, share and enjoy across Windows 10 and Xbox One. With Beam, we’re inviting Creators on Windows 10 PC and Xbox One to stream gameplay and interact with community in real-time using Beam’s ultra low-latency – no extra hardware or software required. With Beam, you don’t just watch your favorite game streams, you can chat, interact and participate with streamers and community in entirely new ways.

With Windows 10 Game Mode our goal is to offer the best and most consistent gaming experience on your Windows 10 PC by dedicating more system resources to your PC games. Once you’ve enabled Game Mode, you can apply it to any game. Learn more about the corresponding Xbox One update and new features here.

Microsoft Edge is faster and safer with better browsing and entertainment

Tab Preview in Microsoft Edge with the Windows 10 Creators Update.

Set your tabs aside for easy access; Microsoft Edge is the default reader for books in Windows Store.

Because so much time is spent online, we’ve designed Microsoft Edge to be the best browser for Windows 10. People are choosing Microsoft Edge because it is safer and faster than Chrome, with better battery life. With all the dangerous security threats online today, Microsoft Edge blocks 9% more phishing sites and 13% more malware than Chrome* – helping protect your identity and information; speed matters on the Web and according to Google’s own benchmarks, Microsoft Edge is faster than Chrome**. Finally, Microsoft Edge makes your battery last longer so you can stream up to 1.5 hours of video longer than Chrome***.

But that’s not all. With the Creators Update, we’ve added new features like advanced tab management to help you find, organize and open tabs you’ve set aside without leaving the page you’re on. You can now discover and get your favorite e-books in Windows Store and read them in Microsoft Edge across all of your Windows 10 devices. And, it is the only browser that can play Netflix movies and TV shows in 4K Ultra HD resolution ****.

From sleeping better to easily managing your children’s screen time

Sometimes it’s the little things that delight the most. And with the Windows 10 Creators Update, there are many delightful updates and features based on your feedback.

By reducing the blue light emitted by your screen, the night light feature helps you sleep better. With night light, when you’re working late your brain is more ready to power down for a good night’s sleep. Smartphone users love this feature and now, it’s coming to Windows 10 with the Creators Update.

The mini view feature lets you keep an ever-present small window on top of what you’re doing. This means you can do things like binge-watch your favorite show, carry on a Skype conversation or control your music, regardless of what else you’re working on.

With the Windows 10 Creators Update, parents familiar with screen time limits for Windows 10 will now find a similar set of controls for Xbox One. With screen time limits parents can manage how much time their children play games across the console and PC, giving you an extra hand, say, when your younger family member has played enough Forza Horizon 3 for the day. With screen time limits, parents can set a daily time allowance for each child and your Xbox One or Windows 10 PC will automatically sign them out when time is up. For Windows 10, you can even get a report telling you what your child played each week. To set up screen time limits, head over to account.microsoft.com/family, sign in with your parent account, and select “Screen time” for your child’s account.

Windows Hello can use any paired iPhone, Android or Windows Phone to detect when you step away from your PC or tablet, automatically locking it behind you for an extra measure of security and privacy. This remote lock feature works with smartphones, fitness bands or any device that’s paired to your PC or tablet.

Additional security and privacy protection

The new Windows Defender Security Center dashboard coming with the Windows 10 Creators Update gives you visibility of your device security, health and online safety.

The new Windows Defender Security Center dashboard coming with the Windows 10 Creators Update gives you visibility of your device security, health, and online safety.

Customers like MARS, Adventist Health Systems, and the Australian Department of Human Services are choosing Windows 10 because it is the most secure enterprise platform. Businesses and people at home need advanced protection because security experts are seeing increased efforts to make common malware and ransomware more prevalent and difficult to track and defend against, putting everyone at greater risk. With Windows 10, we’ve built the most robust security protection into Windows to protect you from these threats whether you are visiting a website, sending an email or storing files in the cloud.

With the Creators Update, we offer a new service to help you monitor your security, the Windows Defender Security Center. It offers a single dashboard display so you can control your security options from one place – everything from anti-virus, network and firewall protection; to assessing your device performance and health; to security controls for your apps and browser; to family safety options. And there’s more: The Device Health Advisor gives you information on the vital signs of your device, and new settings give you more control over app installation. For our business customers, the Creators Update will continue to bring new tools and capabilities that help simplify IT – making it easier to better deploy, manage and support Windows 10 devices – and to help stomp security threats.

Your privacy deeply matters to us and to you, and the Creators Update makes it easier than ever to manage your privacy with Windows 10 and other Microsoft services with a new set up experience that lets you choose the settings that are right for you. A new Microsoft privacy dashboard lets you see and manage your activity data across multiple Microsoft services.

The Creators Update will start to roll out via Windows Update on April 11. We will be rolling it out in a measured way to ensure the best possible customer experience.

Surface Book and Surface Studio coming to more markets

Surface Studio with mouse and keyboard

Surface Studio turns your desk into a creative studio. It is a new class of device that transforms from a desktop PC into a powerful digital canvas, unlocking a more natural and immersive way to create.

Since we introduced Surface Studio, Surface Dial, and Surface Book with Performance Base last fall, we’ve heard amazing feedback on how these devices are transforming the way people bring ideas to life. Surface Studio has captured people’s imagination with a completely new way to create at your desk. And Surface Book with Performance Base has delivered an unprecedented combination of performance, battery life, and portability. We’ve heard from engineers, developers, Silicon Valley startups, designers, and photographers about how Surface devices not only help them get more done but to interact with their work in new ways. To help meet the demand for Surface devices as part of the modern office setting we are investing in partnerships with companies like Steelcase to help businesses unlock the full creative potential of their employees. With Surface and Windows 10 we are helping people realize their full creative potential and we are excited to bring that experience to more people around the world today.

Surface Book with Performance base is available for pre-order today in Austria, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom and will be available for purchase on April 20th. And, Surface Studio and Surface Dial are available for pre-order today in Australia, Canada and New Zealand and will be available for purchase starting April 20th.

Windows 10 Creators Update for Surface Hub

Last but definitely not least, Surface Hub customers worldwide will receive the Windows 10 Creators Update for Surface Hub. The update delivers some of the top requested features to make Surface Hub an even more powerful collaboration device. The updates include an improved new start screen that allows you to sign on with your credentials and access your Office 365 apps and OneDrive materials as well as new manageability tools to simplify large-scale deployments. Apps like Skype for Business are being improved to help you connect better and the Whiteboard app will now easily enable real-time collaboration between Surface Hubs. Expect a more detailed update on the great Surface Hub improvements coming in Creators Update before April 11th.

Stay tuned right here on the Windows Blog for more information soon about how to get the Windows 10 Creators Update. We are so excited to deliver the Creators Update to you and for more of you around the world to experience the amazing Surface devices that bring creativity to life.

Thanks,

Yusuf

*Based on NSS Labs report.
**More information on benchmark here.
***Windows data found here.
****Exclusive DRM privilege to allow 4K stream for Microsoft Edge and Netflix app on Windows 10 on compatible Windows PCs.

Microsoft and Steelcase unlock creativity at work

Today, I’m excited to announce that Steelcase and Microsoft are joining forces to reimagine the modern workplace by integrating the best of Microsoft Surface devices into the architecture of Steelcase. We are unveiling five new “Creative Spaces” to help companies revolutionize their workplaces, both physically and digitally. Creative Spaces are designed to help people better harness their own creative potential, transfer their creativity into their work and improve how they collaborate with their teams. Creative Spaces unlock people’s imaginations and optimize their interactions with both their teammates and Surface devices, unleashing the full capabilities of Windows 10 and Office 365.

Steelcase and Microsoft believe that a thoughtfully designed workplace – that brings together the right mix of Technology and Space design- can unlock the creative potential of individuals and teams, stimulate ideas and accelerate business transformation.

Creativity as a transformative asset

A recent PricewaterhouseCoopers 2016 CEO Survey cited creativity as one of the key skills needed for employees today. Furthermore, CEOs have said creativity is the most challenging skill to recruit and retain in employees. Visionary business leaders know that in order to succeed in tomorrow’s economy, where productivity will be a given, they need to solve this problem by unlocking the creativity of their employees and then infusing that ingenuity into their company’s products, solutions, and business strategy.

Surface devices with Windows 10 exist to inspire and enable people to create more at home, school, work or anywhere else in their world. Steelcase is a global leader in workplace design and architecture and has designed innovative workplaces for more than 100 years.

Steelcase and Microsoft believe that a thoughtfully designed workplace – that brings together the right mix of Technology and Space design- can unlock the creative potential of individuals and teams, stimulate ideas and accelerate business transformation.

Together, Steelcase and Microsoft believe that a thoughtfully designed workplace – that brings together the right mix of Technology and Space design- can unlock the creative potential of individuals and teams, stimulate ideas and accelerate business transformation.

This is not simply about creating new desks, chairs or conference rooms. This is about two committed partners coming together to reimagine what the workplace of the future will look like, paying close attention to the constantly evolving rhythm of people’s days, and creating physical spaces to help individuals and teams optimize their creative potential.

Introducing Creative Spaces

The first phase of the collaboration is the launch of new workspace environments designed with both space and technology in mind: Creative Spaces. Steelcase will showcase Creative Spaces in 10 of their WorkLife Centers worldwide including, New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, Munich and London, with additional international markets to come. Creative Spaces are available exclusively through Steelcase.

Steelcase and Microsoft believe that a thoughtfully designed workplace – that brings together the right mix of Technology and Space design- can unlock the creative potential of individuals and teams, stimulate ideas and accelerate business transformation.

Throughout a typical work day, people alternate between individual work, shoulder-to-shoulder work, and group work. Here’s a look at how Creative Spaces help to make the transitions between “me” time and “we” time seamless:

Select Steelcase dealers become Surface Hub resellers

We are also happy to announce that starting today select Steelcase dealers in the United States and Canada will start reselling Surface Hubs to their customers, with the United Kingdom and Germany coming online this Summer. Together we plan to announce additional markets in 2017.

More to come

Last, but not least, in the coming months, Steelcase will announce new technology-enabled workplace solutions built on Microsoft Azure IoT technology. These solutions will provide companies with analytics that improve workplaces and solutions to help employees find the best places to do diverse types of work within the office.

Steelcase and Microsoft believe that a thoughtfully designed workplace – that brings together the right mix of Technology and Space design- can unlock the creative potential of individuals and teams, stimulate ideas and accelerate business transformation.

At Microsoft, we are proud to work with great partners, like Steelcase, who share our vision and understand the need for business leaders to look at their company’s digital transformation journey’s holistically. Digital transformation does not happen simply by procuring new devices or installing a new meeting room. Business Decision Makers and CXOs must work together to analyze and anticipate the needs of their employees and create scenarios – both digitally and physically – that help their most valuable assets, their teams, create and thrive.

For additional information you can visit this link on Creative Spaces and the partnership between Microsoft and Steelcase, you can also visit steelcase.com/creativity.

Celebrate Presidents’ Day with big savings at Microsoft Store

Customers shopping at the Microsoft Store

Presidents’ Day weekend is here, and so are some great deals on a few of Microsoft Store’s best tech finds. Starting today through Monday, Feb. 20, Microsoft Store locations across the US and microsoftstore.com are offering discounts on best-in-class products, including stunning Surface Pro 4, Surface Book, Windows 10 PCs and Xbox games. Make the most of your long weekend and visit your local Microsoft Store or microsoftstore.com for more details.

Here are just a few great deals for major savings:

All deals are available while supplies last. Visit your nearest local Microsoft Store or microsoftstore.com.

Happy shopping!

  • The Presidents’ Day Sale will be offered while supplies last. Unit limit per customer will also vary
  • Valid in the US only at Microsoft retail and microsoftstore.com
  • In-store offers are available starting at the time the store opens until close. For local store hours visit microsoftstore.com/locations

Silicon Valley startup innovates using Surface Book

“He walks off the plane from Tokyo at 3 a.m. and joins my call with Toronto at 5 a.m.,” remarked David Sidhu, VP of customer success at Litmus Automation. David was describing the incredible work ethic of Co-founder and CEO Vatsal Shah, the man behind the rapid growth and development for his Silicon Valley startup, launched in 2014. In three short years, Vatsal has built an incredible team of software engineers, from “a few guys in a room” to a bustling HQ in San Jose and satellite offices in Tokyo and Toronto.

Litmus Automation is leading the revolution for “connected things,” IOT for some of the largest manufacturing companies in the world. Renault, Nissan, Texas Instruments and Dell are just a few to leverage products Loop and Loop Edge, a secure cloud based on premise middleware platform to deliver rapid solutions for connected car and manufacturing scenarios. Companies who need to drive insights from IOT but don’t want to build an infrastructure from scratch are turning to Litmus Automation.

Silicon Valley startup innovates using Surface Book

Vatsal cleared his calendar for a day to spend some time with me discussing the decision to launch Litmus Automation. I wanted to understand the methods, tools, team development and deployment of technologies like Surface that helped to grow Loop and Loop Edge, two “internet of things” software products that offer connectivity, management and application integration for thousands of disparate parts at industrial manufacturing behemoths like Nissan, Renault and Intel.

Silicon Valley startup innovates using Surface Book

As we explored the ethos that supports their innovation and product development, Vatsal shared his enthusiasm to truly surprise and delight his customers, delivering the highest level of satisfaction by consistently creating the best quality products. “Better tools deliver better products, and Surface is the perfect combination of Hardware and Software,” said Vatsal. “My first computer was a Windows computer and my the last computer we purchased was a Surface Book.” He described the need for a versatile device that empowered his workflow from long haul flights to sending sketched diagrams and updates while discussing new connectivity and implementation while on-site with new clients. Surface provides the combination of touch and incredible ink quality with an extended battery life, and the ability to use as a powerful tablet without sacrificing access to powerful applications. His executive and development team alike frequently run simultaneous programs such as sketch, Skype for Business, OneNote and Power BI while reviewing code in Visual Studio Code with Docker, and Xamarin which compiles for both Android and iOS.

Silicon Valley startup innovates using Surface Book

With Surface Book, Vatsal uses the pen every day to sketch ideas in OneNote and Sketch, replacing analog whiteboards and saving thousands on printing costs. This has allowed him to get thoughts and diagrams out rapidly and more securely store and share at any hour of the day.

Silicon Valley startup innovates using Surface Book

At the end of our day together, we joked that while Vatsal didn’t achieve his one-time goal of employing 27 people by the age of 27, he’s well on his way to employing over 100 by the age of 30. I’ve no doubt he’ll achieve that and much more.

The next generation of makers: UW Formula Motorsports Team

In celebration of Computer Science week, we wanted to highlight a group of student engineers using Surface and their engineering chops to build a Formula 1 style race car. Check out the video below to hear about the challenges they face and the competitive advantage Surface Book and Surface Pen bring to the team.

Make sure to check out more amazing things being done on Surface over at Created on Surface and please give us a shout on Twitter via @Surface with your #CreatedOnSurface activities!

Made with Unity, Coded on Surface – The Story of Contingent 99

Over the next few months, we will feature game creators who are making games using the Unity game development platform. We’ve partnered with the Made with Unity program to showcase some of the amazing, talented game developers out there and how they use Surface to make their games come to life.

At Surface, we believe that people’s ideas are their most valuable asset. We strive to make products that break new ground and let people work in ways not previously possible. Whether it’s Surface Studio, Surface Book or Surface Pro 4, we feel that Surface brings a unique value proposition to game creators by combining the amazing performance of a full PC with the versatility of professional digital inking into a single, meticulously crafted device. For Bundy and Dahoon, who need to code and design artwork while moving from home to their co-located office space to events, the uncompromising mobility of the Surface Pro 4 was what made it their device of choice to make Wizard of Legend come to life. This is the story of Contingent99.

Made with Unity, Coded on Surface – The Story of Contingent 99

Galileo: Why don’t you begin by telling us a little about yourselves and how you know each other?

Bundy: Hi, I’m Bundy Kim and I’m a programmer and the artist for Contingent99.

Dahoon: Hi, I’m Dahoon Lee and I’m a programmer at Contingent99.

Bundy: Contingent99 is made up of the two of us, Bundy and Dahoon. We’re two high school friends that have probably played an irresponsible amount of games together over the years. We both have engineering backgrounds and hold degrees in Computer Science, and though we’ve done a lot of coding related work in the past, this is our first journey into game development. As it’s just the two of us on the team, we both wear a ton of different hats, filling in wherever necessary. But on a day to day basis, Bundy usually draws the artwork while Dahoon designs the game concepts. Once we discuss the design and come to an agreement, we both work to implement it into the game.

Galileo: How was Contigent99 formed?

Bundy: Dahoon was finishing up his Computer Science degree and Bundy had just quit his job at a local internet startup. The timing just happened to match up where we were looking for something new to pursue. Both of us dreamed of creating a game when we were younger and we figured if we don’t do it now, it might never happen when we’re older.

Made with Unity, Coded on Surface – The Story of Contingent 99

Galileo: How did the idea for Wizard of Legend come about?

Bundy: Although we had made the decision to get into game development, we weren’t sure where to start. After some discussion, we decided to try working in Unity and spent a couple of months prototyping game ideas and concepts in order to get a feel for what we’d like to make. At the beginning of each week, we met up to choose a theme or genre that we were interested in exploring. We then individually worked on a very rough prototype of a game that revolved around the central theme and reviewed the games at the end of the week. A few prototypes and many Unity tutorials later, we landed on an action adventure game that evolved over time into Wizard of Legend.

Galileo: What’s your work setup like?

Bundy: As we’re just a small two-person indie team, we don’t require much other than a couple of desks and a quiet place to work. As such, we’re currently working out of a co-working space in Los Angeles. We mainly work off a Surface Pro 4 or a laptop connected to a second monitor. Also, as Wizard of Legend is best played with a gamepad, we play test the game with both Xbox 360 and Xbox One controllers. On a day to day basis, we use Unity, Photoshop, and our text editors of choice. We occasionally use Fraps and Premiere for capturing or editing footage of the game.

Made with Unity, Coded on Surface – The Story of Contingent 99

Galileo: So why did you, Bundy, choose a Surface Pro 4 as your main device?

Bundy: My old laptop was having some difficulty running Unity and I was in the market for a new lightweight portable device. I remembered the multiple write-ups that Gabe from Penny Arcade posted of the Surface Pro 3 and the Surface Book praising the devices. As I’d been drawing all of the artwork for Wizard of Legend, it seemed like the Surface would be perfect both for creating artwork as well as for coding. It was also clear from his follow up posts that the team at Microsoft was very dedicated to supporting the Surface line and they took a lot of his feedback to heart, implemented multiple improvements and fixes over time. They even invited him over to the Microsoft offices to discuss ways to improve the experience.

As a result, I ended up picking up the Surface Pro 4 and working with the device has been a great experience. Getting our game up and running in Unity and working in Photoshop went smoothly. The stylus is great for getting artwork done in Photoshop, even if we’re doing pixel art. The device is also portable enough so that I don’t mind carrying it to the office every day.

Galileo: And why did you choose Unity?

Bundy: We looked at a variety of game engines and Unity seemed to offer the best 2D support while maintaining very good cross platform compatibility. After using the Unity engine during our prototyping period, we didn’t see any reason to switch over to another engine as it had all the features we were looking for. We started development of Wizard of Legend on Unity 4.x and since then with the release of Unity 5, we’ve seen a lot of improvements and are excited about the new features they plan to release in the future.

Galileo: How and why did you get involved in the Made with Unity program?

Bundy: Being game developers who use Unity every day, we saw the opportunity to be part of the Made with Unity program on their social media channels and jumped on the chance. We rarely get a chance to show off our game to the public and get live feedback, so we felt it would be really good experience.

I want to thank Bundy and Dahoon for taking the time to share with us their story. Make sure to check out their game Wizard of Legend and wish them success on their venture. If you happen to be creating a game on your Surface, give us a shout on Twitter via @Surface. Lastly, check out the Made with Unity program and all the awesome games being shown off over there.

New Surface devices perfect fit for engineers with Siemens NX Certification

We’ve seen great momentum across a range of industries and use cases for Surface devices – especially from engineers, who are some of the most creative people in the world. They are often responsible for designing some of today’s most complex and sophisticated products – from trains and planes, to automobiles and medical devices.

Today, we’re announcing Microsoft Surface devices, including the new Surface Studio and Surface Book with Performance Base, which are all certified to run Siemens NX software, one of the world’s most advanced product design software applications. This will give engineers the confidence in their ability to utilize Surface devices to help them design and create such innovative products.

The Siemens NX team joined us in New York City for our recent launch and I was fortunate enough to sit down with Joe Bohman, Vice President of Product Engineering Software for Siemens’ product lifecycle management (PLM) software business, where he told me more about why he thinks Surface represents the future of devices for engineers like himself.

New Surface devices perfect fit for engineers with Siemens NX Certification

How do you think the new Surface devices will change how Siemens NX customers work?

With the new generative design approaches of Siemens NX Convergent Modeling and Siemens NX Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing), the latest Surface devices allow people to completely rethink the way they design and develop products. For the first time, they can use their device to simultaneously design and edit scanned, organic and engineered shapes, allowing engineers to create products that could never have been manufactured before. With Surface, they can fully immerse themselves and create directly with their hands, making the process more tactile and creative.

Surface Studio and Surface Book offer our users a more flexible and creative platform for design thanks to a combination of touch, pen and traditional inputs to develop ideas in a more natural manner.

Surface Studio and Surface Book offer our users a more flexible and creative platform for design thanks to a combination of touch, pen and traditional inputs to develop ideas in a more natural manner. The high-resolution display on Surface Studio really gives a greater sense of confidence and precision when looking at complex shapes and offers a better understanding of the aesthetics during the design process. Adding Surface Dial brings a whole new degree of flexibility and control especially when interacting and changing designs.

What are the unique use cases you see for each of the devices?

With Surface Book, it’s about flexibility and performance. People have the combination of power and mobility that lets them take their work from the office to the manufacturing floor without missing a beat.

On the other hand, Surface Studio is perfect for designers who have, up until now, been relegated to pen and paper, or multiple devices, to do one job. Studio is ideal for those who want to mix activities such as complex modeling with Siemens NX™ software and freehand sketching with Siemens Catchbook™ software, on a device that feels natural and comfortable. Surface Dial enhances both devices by offering an entirely new way for engineers to view, edit and render their designs.

In one Surface Studio use case, we created a fabrication of an engineered plate to repair damage to a human skull. With Siemens NX, we brought in a 3D scan of the injured individual’s skull, designed the plate needed to repair it, and then combined to accurately and precisely make edits for a perfectly designed fit. This type of simultaneous “Convergent” modeling has never been possible before. The potential is truly incredible.

What does the Siemens NX certification mean for Surface? What is the significance?

We’ve worked closely with Microsoft and feel confident in certifying both Surface Book and Surface Studio to run Siemens NX software.

The Siemens NX certification is granted only to devices that have passed our series of hundreds of tests, which weigh a device’s ability to deliver a highly satisfactory end-user experience. Our customers, including numerous major airplane and auto manufacturers, require and depend on this certification to tell them what devices will offer their team the best user experience. To do so, our team tests device capabilities like processor performance, graphics systems and more.

We’ve worked closely with Microsoft and feel confident in certifying both Surface Book and Surface Studio to run Siemens NX software. For us, the most important outcome of these certifications is that our customers have the confidence that Siemens and Microsoft are committed to them.

What type of functionality does Siemens NX have for Surface Dial?

Surface Dial lends itself to a number of key functionalities within Siemens NX™ software – including manipulating view attributes, zooming, panning and rotating of 3D models – all of which are a massive part of a typical Siemens NX user’s daily routine. Going a step further, we also looked at how Surface Dial can support dynamic geometry manipulation, such as changing sizes and adjusting attributes. These functions can all be performed more smoothly and reliably with Surface Dial versus traditional mouse dragging or even touch, allowing for much finer control over changes.

We also looked at how people can access their favorite, most commonly used commands via Surface Dial; this increases productivity by removing the need to move to the ribbon UI to select common commands and ultimately saving time.

Overall, the numerous uses of Surface Dial make it a very powerful accessory for any Siemens NX user.

What business problems are Surface Studio, Surface Dial and Surface Book helping to solve?

We have had a lot of feedback from our customers about devices like Surface Book and trust when they tell us that Surface Book’s power and mobility are exactly what they’re looking for in a device. These factors are so important for the needs of engineers and designers who have to be more flexible about their work locations due to the need to visit customers and/or remote factories. We see this as a result of the increasing globalization of business and the increased levels of partnership between companies around the world. They need a device that supports this changing landscape.

We’ve heard from our customers through our social media channels and they’re very excited about Surface Studio and Surface Dial. The high resolution and high power combined with the flexibility to run Surface Studio in both traditional and flat configurations is turning heads in our community. We expect more and more people to ask, “How can I try one of these new devices?”

How does Siemens software take advantage of the best of Surface devices?

Siemens has been in the business of manufacturing for over 150 years. Design, engineering and manufacturing are all about the ability of users to create, participate and collaborate. Powerful mobile devices like the new Surface Book with Performance Base enable engineers to use NX to design and revise products in locations they never could before, like in the field or sitting with customers.

Drawing naturally, yet accurately, on digital devices and enabling anyone to participate in design has been a longstanding goal. Surface devices have enabled us to realize this with our new Siemens Catchbook™ mobile app that you can download from the Windows Store.

Siemens NX is arguably the most powerful and capable design application on the planet and is on the forefront of this next generation of rich, immersive, touch and stylus interaction. Surface devices give us the new direct and precise interaction methods that our customers want, and we at Siemens are thrilled to see this manifest and allow Siemens NX to become even more powerful and accessible.

The team here at Microsoft is so proud of how Surface Studio, Surface Book with Performance Base and Surface Dial can help engineers and professionals get things done, no matter where they are. We love hearing how our partners like Siemens see Surface benefitting their customers, and how Microsoft can help bring their vision to life. Thanks to Joe and the full Siemens NX team for their partnership and letting us tell their story.