Microsoft Live Event Touts Innovations In Tablets, Gaming, Wearables, More

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Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) held a live event in New York City today, beginning at 10:00 EST. The event was expected to unveil a broad spectrum of Microsoft products, including new Lumia phones, a new Surface tablet, a new wearable fitness band, and possible updates on Xbox One and Microsoft’s mixed reality headset HoloLens. Let’s run through all the presentations and see what users and investors will take away from Microsoft’s event.

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Microsoft starts the event by hitting us up with some impressive figures, including the fact that Windows 10 is already being used on over 110 million devices just weeks after its debut and that gamers have already streamed 120 years worth of video game action from their Xboxs to their Windows 10 devices. That leads into a look at Microsoft’s upcoming lineup of games for the Xbox One, which it boasts could be the greatest of all time, for any console. Among the games shown in the accompanying video presentation are Halo 5, Forza, Tomb Raider, and Gears of War, and Microsoft shows off some Xbox One bundles, including ones packed with Fallout 4 and Halo 5.

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From Xbox we jump to a live demonstration of Microsoft HoloLens, a mixed reality headset that combines virtual reality elements with the real environment all around you. We see our demo protagonist don a virtual bazooka on his arm and robots begin to virtually break through his living room wall. The player is able to move around, avoiding fire from the enemies while firing off blasts of his own. Perhaps most interestingly, the virtual foes can even use the real environment to their advantage, presumably to seek cover, though this wasn’t apparent in the demo.

Could this be the next big thing in gaming, or will it be another over-hyped disappointment, ala the Move/Kinect? While the demonstration looked somewhat poor, partly due to the slow-as-molasses nature of the action, actually experiencing it with the headset on and at an enhanced speed could be something rather interesting. Microsoft announces that it is taking applications for the HoloLens Development Kit, which is scheduled to be released in the first quarter of 2016 for $3,000.

If you haven’t worked up enough of a sweat from dodging fake robots like a lunatic, Microsoft next shows off its Microsoft Band 2 fitness tracker. The band does a lot of what such bands are known for, including tracking calories and sleep, but comes with a much sleeker design, with an OLED Gorilla Glass display. The Band 2 also features Cortana integration and has even been tailored for the golf addict, with it being able to distinguish between putting and driving the ball, and tracking your score in the process.

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