Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2 could be the beginning of the end for the hardware brand

Microsoft hasn’t had a lot of good fortune when it comes to its own hardware, at least outside of the Xbox consoles. Its first attempt at an iPod killer turned the Zune into a laughing stock, and its efforts to create its own mobile platform as well as adopt Android both ended up as market failures. Surprisingly, it struck gold with the Surface, particularly the Surface Pro line of 2-in-1 detachable tablet PCs that challenged the iPad and offered an even more versatile working experience on the go. That gave birth to a family of products ranging from computers to accessories and some hope that Microsoft has finally succeeded after all those years. Last week even saw the announcement of a new Surface Laptop Studio 2, but reception has been a little bit lukewarm and even doubtful of the future of these portable computers.

Designer: Microsoft

It’s not that the new Surface Laptop Studio 2 is terrible, just that it comes two years after the very first model. The Surface Laptop Studio definitely turned heads with its unique design in how it combined laptop and tablet forms in a way no other manufacturer has done before. It’s still a single piece of hardware, unlike the detachable Surface Pro, but part of its display detaches from the back and can be tilted at different angles, transforming the computer into a tablet or entertainment center. It practically combines the Surface Laptop and the larger Surface Studio to create a portable creativity powerhouse like no other.

The Surface Laptop Studio 2 upgrades that design from the inside, with newer options when it comes to specs. There are also some changes from the outside, like the addition of a full-sized USB-A port and a microSD card slot, but the overall form remains the same. It’s more of an incremental step forward, which might sound a bit disappointing considering how much time has passed between the two generations.

What has some Microsoft fans more concerned, however, is what the company wasn’t saying or showing during that event. The Surface Pro 10 was nowhere to be seen, which was strange considering it is the poster child for the brand. Even the smallest Surface got an upgrade, though the Surface Go 4’s middling specs and business-oriented rhetoric might make it less interesting for consumers. The Surface Laptop Go also arrives with a third-gen model, though this is also the less powerful version of Microsoft’s self-branded laptop.

Instead, Microsoft’s event seemed to focus more on its AI-powered Office features, which isn’t surprising considering how it’s a very hot topic and how Microsoft has invested heavily in this technology. But along with the departure of Panos Panay, considered to be the face of Microsoft Surface, there have been murmurs and doomsayings about the future of this product line. After all, the design of the Surface devices hasn’t change that much over the years, and, save for the Surface Laptop Studio, hasn’t seen much innovation either. It remains to be seen if Microsoft has lost its touch and, just like its previous hardware products, put the Surface to pasture soon.

BREAKING: Carl Pei’s Latest Brand “CMF” is launching a Smartwatch, TWS Earbuds, and GaN Charger

Earlier this year, Nothing teased a sub-brand by the name of CMF with nothing more than just a logo reveal. Today, leaked images obtained by Twitter-user @techleakszone show three CMF products in the works. We upscaled these low-res images to get a clearer picture of the three products – a smartwatch, a pair of TWS earbuds, and a 65W GaN charging brick, all scheduled for an end-September release in India. All products have one thing in common – the use of a vibrant orange that draws instant attention to them, in a way contrasting Nothing’s transparent approach to design rather wonderfully!

This is an AI-upscaled Image (Ignore warped graphics on product)

The most prominent of the products is the smartwatch, which is priced at a budget-friendly ₹4499 ($54.48 USD) and comes with a 1.96″ AMOLED always-on display. Styled to somewhat lock horns with other budget watches/wearables like the Fitbit, the CMF smartwatch comes with an aluminum alloy case and a silicone band. A 330mAh battery gives it up to 13 days of use on a single charge, and the wearable works as a comprehensive fitness/sports tracker with support for 110 sports, along with features like heart-rate monitoring, blood-oxygen monitoring, stress monitoring, sleep tracking, etc. The spec sheet below compares the watch with other budget smartwatches on the Indian market, comparing features along with an incredibly competitive price tag.

This is an AI-upscaled Image (Ignore warped graphics on product)

The second product (code-named Corsola) is a ₹3499 ($42.3 USD) pair of TWS earbuds designed to compete with other brands in the low-budget segment. CMF’s earbuds are significantly different in appearance from the Nothing Ear (2) earbuds. They aren’t transparent, and they come in a circular case instead of a square one. The earbuds have up to 45dB of active noise cancellation and an impressive 37-hour battery life with the charging case. Just like the Ear (2), they are IP54-rated as well, although at half the price.

This is an AI-upscaled Image (Ignore warped graphics on product)

The third is probably the most interesting product of the lot – a GaN charger designed to compete in the accessories market and probably bring in the green for CMF by selling to both Android and iOS users alike. In a world where phone makers are increasingly deciding to ditch the idea of packaging chargers along with their phones, CMF’s 65W GaN charger makes quite an impact. With three ports (two USB-C and one USB-A), the charger can simultaneously power three devices, giving you a multifunctional power brick that takes care of your phone, tablet, and earbuds or power bank. The GaN semiconductor keeps the charging brick’s size extremely compact, and that bright orange color means you’ll never misplace it! The charging brick is expected to have a ₹2499 ($30.2 USD) price tag at launch a month from now.

Images via @techleakszone