Saturday, 18 November 2017
News Tech

Microsoft gives hourlong look inside Surface development at Ignite conference


Why it matters to you

This presentation from the Ignite conference demonstrates the ethos that has allowed the Surface line to prosper, while previous Microsoft hardware hasn’t take off.

Microsoft’s Surface line has been one of the company’s biggest successes in recent years, carving out a niche in the PC hardware market with far greater success than any of its previous efforts. At this week’s Ignite conference, attendees were given a glimpse into the building where all the magic happens.

Delivering a keynote at the conference, Director of Program Management Tim Golik offered up some fascinating insight into how the Surface team works in Building 87 on Microsoft’s Redmond, Washington campus. The talk covered its focus on innovation, as well as its preferred techniques for design and prototyping.

Golik played up the “unique” aspects of the Surface line, from its bespoke 3:2 displays to its system-wide compatibility with the Surface Pen peripheral. “We’re pushing these things,” he explained, referring to the way that the Pen has been implemented across Windows 10, after being something of a passion project for the Surface group in the very beginning.

As well as an exploration of the ethos behind the design of Surface products, the talk honed in on the culture that was established among the team. Golik characterizes the group as being comprised of small teams of designers, engineers, and user researchers, who combine their skills to try and come up with something genuinely new and useful.

“Everything we do, it starts with something physical,” Golik said. “We have a lab on campus, it’s called Building 87. It’s an amazing space, to be an engineer. This is where a lot of it starts.” These comments introduced a video about the facility, which made it look like a hub of activity and collaborative work.

The presentation concluded with a look at the latest addition to the Surface line, the Surface Pro LTE. This device was announced in May, per a report from MS Power User, but since then Microsoft has remained fairly quiet on the system. Now, the Ignite conference has offered up confirmation that the LTE model will be available beginning December 1.

As for what is next for the Surface line, Panos Panay is scheduled to make an address at the Future Decoded event in London next month.






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