Fox on Tech: Microsoft’s big announcement

The holidays are almost here, and with it comes the busiest shopping season of the year. The market for electronics is expected to be red-hot this year, and Microsoft is throwing its hat in the ring.

Just a few weeks after Apple unveiled new iPhones, watches, and other devices, Microsoft took the wraps off its own new "Surface" devices. The Surface first appeared back in 2012 as a tablet-computer hybrid, designed by Microsoft to run windows in a non-PC format. But fast-forward to this week, and the Surface is radically different, boasting tablets, laptops, desktop computers, and headphones.

The flagship device is the Surface Pro 6, which Microsoft says was completely redesigned for this generation. It's small, light, and responsive, weighing in at only 1.7 pounds. Anticipating greater need for longevity in work and play settings, the battery life has been greatly enhanced, and it should keep you working for more than 13 hours on a single charge. And you'll get plenty done - the company promises the Intel processor will run almost 70 percent faster than the last model.


For those looking for a more traditional laptop experience, the Surface Laptop, first unveiled last year, is back with a second generation. It features vastly beefed-up RAM, and the ability to add up to a terabyte of onboard storage - plenty of space for photos, apps, and high-definition movies.

The Surface Studio is back as well. The desktop computer still packs a 28-inch-display but has been souped up to run 80 percent faster than the first generation and has a 50 percent graphics performance boost from a powerful new processor.

And if you're looking for something new this year, try the Surface Headphones - already being talked up as the "next big thing" among tech toys. They're a big leap forward for the company, completely integrating with the Surface, Studio, or Laptop, so you can control your computer from your headphones. They also feature Microsoft's virtual assistant, "Cortana" - and automatically stop playing your music and movies when you take the headphones off. 

All the new devices should be on store shelves just in time for the holidays, but they'll be facing stiff competition. In addition to the new Apple products, in less than a week, Google will be holding court in New York to unveil its new Android devices.  It's rumored that the tech giant will be introducing the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3S smartphones - in addition to a number of other toys, gadgets, and apps. If all three companies - Google, Microsoft, and Apple - make their products available at the same time, Silicon Valley could be looking at a new retail battle when the holiday shopping season heats up.