Brand new Windows 8.1 devices innovate and impress at IFA 2014

This is an exciting week in Berlin with IFA, one of the largest consumer electronics trade shows in the world. We always look forward to seeing new technology innovation from the industry and supporting our partners as they announce new Windows devices coming to market for holiday.

One area we have seen incredible momentum over the last year is with new Windows Phones both from Microsoft and our OEM partners. At Mobile World Congress, Joe Belfiore and I had the pleasure of introducing nine new Windows Phone partners to the ecosystem, to help continue growing and scaling Windows Phone globally. Since then, we’ve announced 13 new Windows Phone partners from key markets including India, China, the U.S., Europe, APAC, Russia and Latin America. Here in the U.S., we just saw the new HTC One (M8) for Windows, while in India, we are seeing new phones from Micromax and Xolo and in Vietnam, there is the new Q-Smart. In Europe, Prestigio announced new Windows Phones and just at IFA, ARCHOS, Kazam and Yezz announced devices with Windows Phone 8.1. Microsoft also announced additions to the Lumia line of devices.

At Computex in June, I talked about our expanding ecosystem of partners, how they are helping us deliver a broad range of Windows devices across more price points and in new markets, and how we continue to invest and drive growth with our partners through innovation in our business model, software and services platforms. I’d like to highlight just a few of the coolest new Windows devices seen during IFA.

There is incredible innovation and creativity from our partners in the 2-in-1 category, and we are seeing a range of new devices to meet customer needs, whether it’s low-cost, versatility, mobility, productivity or all of these combined. The 2-in-1 is a great no-compromise solution and our OEM partners are delivering even more revolutionary features in each new device like the new Acer Aspire R13. For those that loved last year’s Aspire R7, Acer has taken this device to the next level with the hinges now on the side of the device, giving it a futuristic look and feel. HP is also continuing to innovate and improve on some of their most impressive designs. Just an hour ago, they announced two new additions to the HP ENVY x2 line of Windows PCs and they introduced the Pavilion x2. These thin and light detachable PCs are perfect for anyone that needs both a laptop and tablet but the convenience of just one device. And the 2-in-1 category is not just for fun, it’s about business too. Just a few hours ago, Lenovo announced the next generation of the business-ready ThinkPad Helix. This convertible device is now thinner, lighter and has improved battery life over the previous models. You will never have to worry if your laptop will make it through your next meeting at work, let alone worry if it will last the whole day.

More of our partners around the world are introducing new Windows tablets in a range of sizes, from 5 inches to 10 inches and larger. I had the chance to unveil a 7-inch device from Toshiba during Computex and Wednesday at IFA, they officially announced it as the Encore Mini. The beautiful little device offers the best of Windows and Office 365 Personal in an ergonomically designed, affordable, mobile package. If you have ever worried about breaking a phone or tablet, then you will be impressed by Panasonic’s announcement today bringing the ToughPad FZ-E1 to Europe. This rugged 5-inch tablet with Windows Embedded 8.1 can withstand the harshest environments, from being submerged in water to freezing temperatures to being dropped on concrete. It also has a 14-hour battery.

When it comes to value, many of our partners are shipping the $0 Windows SKU on smartphones and tablets that are less than 9 inches. There is incredible value in these devices, many of which include Office 365, OneDrive and Bing services to enhance the experience. For example, the newly announced Toshiba Satellite CL10-B Cloudbook offers the freedom to save and access files in the cloud, using one travel-friendly laptop that is coming this holiday at an incredibly affordable price. The brand new ASUS EeeBook X205 shown off yesterday will fit within any student’s budget as they head back to school. This affordable 11.6-inch laptop is priced at just $199.

For PC gaming, there are some special things that gamers want to see in a device and our partners are delivering. A great example is the new Acer Aspire V Nitro that was announced at Gamescon last month. While it is not your traditional gaming rig, the cutting-edge, slim design comes with Full HD IPS display, four built-in speakers with 8W output total and Dolby Digital Plus Home Theatre Dialog Enhancement technology. The Black Edition V Nitro series laptops have a special “Turbo Mode” that can be manually activated when heavy use requires added ventilation and enables 19 percent faster fan speed, and 11 percent lower CPU/GPU temperatures. Last week, Dell announced the all-new Alienware Area-51 with the Triad chassis industrial design engineered to provide superb thermal efficiency, amazing ergonomics, ease of access for upgrades and looks as powerful as it performs. Just announced at IFA is the new Lenovo ERAZER X310, which has 2TB of storage, though not all gaming needs that much power. For a family that is just looking for a computer to share and play all the great apps available on Windows, the latest in the Lenovo portable All-in-One line, the Horizon 2s and 2e, are a great solution. The slim 2s is 10 pounds lighter and perfect to take into the family room for a quick game or just to watch a movie.

It’s great to see the progress we’ve made in these areas with our partners, in just three months since Computex. There are more than 6,624 Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 certified products and our new local partners in the China Technology Ecosystem will bring more than 86 Windows tablets to market by holiday. Through a new strategic alliance with Gome Electrical Appliances, a major retailer in China, we have also launched a strategic platform to sell Windows tablets in the region.

The innovation on Windows devices certainly doesn’t stop here! We continue to work closely with our partners and are excited about the range of devices they are bringing to market for holiday.

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