Rumors of Microsoft's big-bang October hardware launch start to coalesce

Microsoft may be gearing up to launch new Surface Pro 4 tablets, two new Lumia premium phones, the next iteration of its fitness band and maybe more in October.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

It looks like the rumors of Microsoft doing a big-bang first-party hardware launch this fall are starting to coalesce.

A few times over the past few weeks on the Windows Weekly podcast, Paul Thurrott and I have wondered aloud whether Microsoft might opt to unveil a number of new Microsoft devices at a separate, dedicated event.

WPDang is reporting Microsoft is planning to do exactly that in October -- which lines up with the rumored timing of Microsoft's next major update to Windows 10, codenamed "Threshold 2."

I've also heard from my contacts that October is the likely timing and New York City the likely venue. Could the new Microsoft flagship store on Fifth Avenue, due to open "this Fall," be the place? I don't know.

In addition to announcing the rumored premium Windows Phones, codenamed Cityman and Talkman, which will run Windows 10 Mobile, Microsoft also is likely to announce the Surface Pro 4, its successor to the current Intel-based Surface Pro 3 tablet which will ship with Windows 10 preinstalled, say the tattlers. Because of Microsoft's commitments that existing peripherals, like the Surface Dock, charger and covers, will be compatible with future Surface Pro models, there are unlikely to be drastic changes to the Surface Pro 4 externals.

The second version of Microsoft's fitness Band -- which still will not be running Windows 10, but rather a non-Windows-10 firmware core, from what I hear -- also could debut at the same October event, say WPDang and my own contacts.

WPDang reports some other new device might also launch at the event, such as an Xbox One Mini console. The Verge's Tom Warren wonders whether there might be some other new Surface-branded hardware instead. My totally-uninformed guess: Maybe we'll get a glimpse of the post-CityMan/TalkMan premium Surface Phone that some have been hoping/wishing for.

Update: As a few readers have noted, showing a flagship Surface Phone while launching "premium" Lumia Windows Phones would pretty much undermine the market for the new Lumias. A new guess on my part: Maybe Microsoft will show off or maybe even deliver the awaited developer version of the HoloLens augmented reality headsets (which have Windows 10 at their core) at the October event?

Microsoft is expected to show off Windows 10 PCs, tablets and other devices made by its OEM partners a month ahead of its own launch at the IFA show in Berlin in September.

Though the tech press and many techies live for the latest gadgets, it's worth repeating one more time that Microsoft management these days sees Microsoft-made hardware first and foremost as a showcase for Microsoft software and services.

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