Growing Opportunities for Enterprise Mobility as Microsoft Launches New 2-in-1 Devices

Jim Rapoza

Microsoft’s Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 have gone on sale this week, what does this new range of devices mean for the enterprise?

Microsoft’s announcement of their new line-up of products earlier this month, which provide increased opportunities for enterprise mobility, turned a lot of people’s heads. It’s pretty hard to not compare this to Apple’s recent product announcements and come to the conclusion that Microsoft is, at least right now, doing more interesting things than Apple.

Of course, this transformation didn’t happen overnight and for several years now, starting with the release of the first Surface devices, Microsoft has been visionary in understanding where tablets, laptops, and computing is heading. But given Microsoft’s reputation, the initial Surface announcements didn’t get a lot of love.

However, the recent line-up of Surface 3 devices changed a lot of minds. Many people found these devices to be a perfect blend of portable and useful, both for consumer use and for the enterprise. So much so that even Apple is now following Microsoft’s lead with its newest iPad and MacBook.

With the most recent releases, the tech giant may finally be getting the respect it deserves. The biggest news has been the release of the Surface Book – which has gone on sale this week – a Microsoft-made laptop that turns the Surface "tablet that you can use as a laptop" around by being a "laptop that you can use as a tablet".

Technically, the Surface Book looks to be an impressive piece of machinery both for consumers and the enterprise, as it combines high-end performance and capabilities with style and functionality. Microsoft also announced the new line of Surface Pro 4 devices, which by themselves would have been an impressive announcement. And they displayed new Nokia smartphones which can be used as full Windows 10 systems themselves.

A lot of people have focused on the fact that Microsoft has now fully transitioned into a hardware company, but the software is still the driver here, and all of these devices do a good job of leveraging Windows 10, which at least so far is proving to be the best version of Windows in a long time.

One other development that isn’t getting a lot of attention, but is of particular interest to enterprises, is how Microsoft is boosting the amount of storage available on these devices.

In recent years, the move has been to smaller drives on devices with the belief that all necessary data will be in the cloud. But reality is proving that the cloud isn’t all that reliable a place to keep the data and media that you want access to all the time – especially for enterprises that may have sensitive information they need to store.

Surface devices support up to a terabyte in drive space, and we may finally see a move back to devices having enough local storage for most files and data.

For enterprises, the increasing use of devices such as these could finally signal a move back to enterprise and business focused mobility.

Smartphones have changed the way everyone connects to others and find information, for the most part these devices are designed with consumer uses in mind and often aren’t ideal for enterprise business use. However, 2-in-1 devices like the Microsoft Surfaces (and other new laptops and tablets) provide excellent mobility while also being devices specifically designed for business use.

This not only means getting more done while out of the office, but also that enterprise IT will have more opportunity to manage and leverage these devices.