Microsoft announces big media event for May 2 likely focusing on push in education and 'Cloud'

Microsoft has some new hardware in the pipeline to reveal to the public. The company has just announced that on Tuesday, May 2 in New York and they will be giving details on a new product likely in the category of Surface. Media invites were sent to cover the event ensuring that this is not a small announcement.

Considering the release of the Windows 10 Creators Update this week and the recent press regarding Joe Belfiore's return to focus on education we may be seeing some connection between the two. Belfiore was cagey on Twitter last night about his return noting it wasn't just random timing.

See more

Rumors about what can be announced seem to focus on Windows 10 Cloud. Microsoft likes to create new hardware to demonstrate the power of Windows 10 making it likely new hardware will match the announcement.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is also expected to be at the May 2 event signaling that whatever is announced is a significant shift for the company.

Windows 10 Cloud can only run Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps is more manageable for the education market. Likewise, we have seen internal documents comparing hardware goals for Windows 10 being compared directly to Google Chromebooks e.g. boot and resume times. Microsoft has been working very hard to make Windows 10 a full competitor to Chromebooks, and they could be ready to show that to the world.

Windows 10 Cloud hands on: An edition of Windows for Store apps only

Not the Surface Pro 5 (or phone) you are looking for

What is not expected, however, is any mainstream consumer products including any Surface Pro refreshes or anything related to phones. While Microsoft is likely working on such a product, we do not hear anything like that for this event.

Windows Central will be in NYC on May 2 to cover the announcement live as it happens including any hands-on and interviews. Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks.

Daniel Rubino
Editor-in-chief

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

130 Comments
  • RS3 - The Educators Update
  • F... the cloud
  • Now now... we need the cloud. In this always on, always connected world, it is sort sighted to not see the value of cloud computing. However, for UWP to succceed we ALSO need consumer devices with heavy adoption potential - phones or some other as-yet unnamed device. If UWP fails a large portion of MS's efforts over the last few years have been flushed down the toilet (including their prestige and credibility as a first tier player)
  • Nadella has his head in the cloud. 
  • Come on man, he is not that tall :-)  
  • Oh, look, it's the battle of the hairstyles, cue-ball and mophead (with a good dose of straightener)...whatever these two pinheads announce is sure to be not interesting to most of us.
  • People who presume to speak for "most of us" are generally stemheads.  Put your hubris where the sun don't shine.
  • With Windows Mobile featuring the new Education Icon, which would only take 6 months to make and neglect any other new features to the OS!
  • After that lets hope they release the Consumers Update
  • Wish I could upvote that twice.  You win the internet.
  • I have bad news: CU is already taken. But we have Business Update, Developers Update, Evil Update - we will even get the Zoo Update with a lot of new animal emojis. But an update for consumers? No way.
  • RS4 - Gamers Update.
  • This is a phone surface! It is marked in the drawing ... with hello, the cloud and everything! it was time !!
  • People please don't be too disappointed when phones are not talked about - They don't play as big of a role in education in many cases and I would wait until Build for something on that, as if phones are getting any sort of push it HAS to be talked about at Build
  • Phones 100% will NOT be talked about here, this is about Chromebook competitors, hopefully a Surface 4 running Cloud or a Surface Mini
  • Exactly, but you know how the natives can get if phone isn't the highlight of every event haha
  • Insufferable lol
  • Thing is, from a strategy point of view, it's one thing to have an education product, but MS are tryingt to keep users in their ecosystem. Without a competent phone strategy, it all falls apart in keeping users in the ecosystem.
  • I would love a Surface 4, the Surface 3 was brilliant (we have a few spares around the office) and it would be great to get an upgraded version with the newer keyboard keys. That's probably a bit too premium for a lot of schools in the UK, but we can be sure there will be Chromebook style devices like you say - These could have an impact in the UK if MS push them as I don't think Chromebooks dominate in the way people seem to say they do in US Education
  • So true,
  • I really like my surface 3 too, although could do with a bit more grunt. Thing I really like is the 1920x1280 display. If the surface pro had that resolution, I'd get one now. My OCD kind of doesn't like the idea of watching full hd video without 1:1 pixel mapping.
  • I sure hope the Surface 4 does not have Wiindows 10 Cloud.  The Surface 3 hit a nice spot with functionality, size and price.  All it needed was a slightly stronger processor.
  • Don't forget that Windows Cloud can be upgraded to full Window10 - you are not stuck there. I like the idea of cloud as a starting point and upgrading only if&when I have to run an app that is not compatible with it.
  • My guess is that we'll see a Windows 10 Cloud on ARM based Surface 5. Intel chips with decent performance are just too expensive to go after the Chromebook market. ARM processors are significantly cheaper, and Win32 emulation is still a few months away so Windows 10 Cloud on ARM makes sense.
  • No way. They won't announce another Surface RT. ARM devices won't be announced until the fall at the earliest.
  • That was needed.
  • To be fair, there are rumour that the 'Surface Phone' may implement a foldable screen, which allows the phone to transform into tablet. If that is legit, then the part it will play in education is going to be huge! As a university student myself, tablets are important as an e-book reader, which removes the need for us to carry around large and heavy textbooks. For tablets with pen support, the scope goes even further as to taking notes, especially useful when we can write our own notes on the provided lecture notes. This removes the need for paper, which not only eco-friendly, but also reduces costs for us students.
  • Adding a foldable screen is the only way to save the W10 Mobile.  Instead of relying solely on the WP apps, the capability of running W10 apps and web apps on the unfolded tablet screen will greatly lessen the app gap issues for a lot of users.  My credit union will never release a WP app, but I can use their superb web app on the unfolded screen.  Continuum is nice but it requires you to look for a display.  The foldable screen, however, would become a pocket PC display you can carry to anywhere.
  • foldable screen devices are at the very least 2 years away
  • Yup. Good article today from somewhere that Samsung is making 2000-3000 folding devices to test out for the next year or two to see if they're viable to bring to market. Flexible displays are probably at least a decade away (if ever).
  • Some news about a new wearable would be nice too.
  • Cool excited
  • "Surface phone" might be talked about at Build 10-12 of May but not at this EDU event..
  • Yes, because WinRT went over so well. I just want to slap Satya Nadella.  Hard.
  • Windows RT had the issue that Azure was not ready during launch, but a lot has changed in Azure in the last 5 years, Microsoft now covers IoT solutions, Cognitive services, machine learning robotics, ambience computing and dont forget augmented reality solutions with Holo Lens
  • Yeah, cause those things no one has ever heard of was the issue with Windows RT.
  • It sounds like whatever they are going to announce will be targeted at a specific market segment and the pitch will be aimed to attract customers in that segment. For this reason I would not compare this product to RT.
  • The primary issue with WinRT was that it was on hardware that didn't even allow for a full-fledged OS.  My understanding is that these new Windows Cloud machines are able to easily be upgraded from WCloud to full W10.  At least it appears that way.  It's a great option for people such as myself with children but then as they get older or the budget allows, we can then upgrade to the full OS.
  • Hmm, that's the first I've heard of this.  Interesting...
  • Windows 10 Cloud is full Windows 10 with the restriction of only running apps loaded from the Windows Store. Win32 apps can be added to the Windows Store using the Desktop Bridge and loaded on a Windows 10 Cloud device.  If you need to load apps outside of the Windows Store, your can purchase a Windows 10 Pro product key for your device. What I understand is that when Windows 10 Cloud is released, the full featured Win32 Office Suite will be in the Windows Store. Note: Until Microsoft release Windows On ARMs, Winodws 10 Cloud will only run on x86 devices.
  • WindowsRT was never a push to get into the education market.
  • Different targets, sunshine. If they're going up against Chromebooks they need Office and little more.
  • +1 just for "sunshine"
  • The rumor is that the full featured Win32 Office Suite will be in the Windows Store when Windows 10 Cloud is relesed.
  • Maybe before slapping people you should educate yourself, your ignorance of what WinRT and what Windows Cloud are is VERY apparent
  • Be careful. I hear Satya bites.
  • But RT couldnt be upgraded to full Windows 8 if the owner so chose. This is not the same as RT at all.
  • Surface Netbook???
  • "I just want to slap Satya Nadella.  Hard." Not that I agree with your reasoning, but I just want to do the same for other reasons. +1
  • Rats! I am hoping MSFT will at least include their smartphone plan. I am still sitting here in limbo.
  • If theyre going to talk about the future of Windows 10 on mobile its going to be at Build on the 10th, not at an Edu focused hardware event
  • Thanks for stating the obvious. The key word was "hoping", and the comment was reference to the articles title, "Microsoft announces big media event...", 🙂
  • I was hoping they would include windows mobile stuff too! How is this a "big media event" if it is geared towards education? Thats a small subset of the PC market.
  • ROFLMAO. Nadella (2015-2016): mobile first, cloud first Myerson (2016): No time/no the year to talk about mobile Belfiore (2017): MSFT EDU.   Welcome to IBM 2.0
  • Nutella has no idea what he is doing
  • He is writing books.
  • His book under my monitor doing just fine as a riser.
  • I think we are done with the stupid "Nutella" racist BS, grow up. It's 2017, not 1917.
  • Since when is Nutella racist? Besides, I love Nutella! I feel extremely offended that you even consider such a delicious treat can even be used as an offense :P
  • LOL
  • I didn't realize Nutella was racist.  I thought it was just funny because it sounds like his real name "nadella".  You know, like when you can't remember somebody's name because it's an unsual (usually foreign) name so you say something that sounds similar?  It's a classic gag.  I see it in movies and tv all the time.  Good stuff.
  • All though a bit disappointed to not get a Sp5 now, they can not just do some minor tweaks for SP5 this fall. It's then 2 years since Sp4, and I'm expecting a bigger overhaul than just kaby lake and a usb type c. Excited to see what the will deliver on may 2nd though.
  • They could be taking on education to get them while they're young just like apple did for a lot of people. Very clever. Keep it up.
  • Not just this, but having a large presence in the Edu market with Win10 Cloud devices will make software developers like Autodesk and Adobe more inclined to port their portfolio to the Win Store.
  • If Autodesk and Adobe were to port their entire current library to UWP that would kill Win32 once and for all and solve so many problems for MSFT.
  • So, is there any hardware still being worked on at Microsoft? Even Surface seems to have fallen into the abyss of uncertain delays.
  • Yeah, because...oh wait, there's that Surface Studio thingy and that Project Scorpio thingy. So I guess they really are working on hardware.
  • Yeah, the Surface Studio's underwhelming, overpriced hardware and Scorpio's mix of 2013 CPU and 2015 GPU tech!!! We'll ignore that Lumia's been killed off and without replacement hardware since 2015 and Surface Pro and Book skipped 2016 refreshes, meaning two-year gaps without announcement that they were skipping the refreshes (I know of quite a few people who intended to get the SP5 that never came). Oh, then you have that canceled-without-announcement Band line and that they continue to charge $150 for an Elite Controller with fatal flaws they refuse to address, even though the $60 controller got improvements.
  • Studio is not underwhleming for the market it was built for. Scorpio seems to impress the folks at Eurogamer, the only people who have, you know, actually seen it. Other than the demise of Lumia which was nearly two years ago now,  the rest of your list is just a collection of personal gripes. . 
  • Yeah, because no other person has questioned why MS won't update the Elite Controller or the Band...even though I've never owned a Band myself. Also, the people at Eurogamer weren't going to get an exclusive look and dump on Scorpio, obviously. It's got its strengths, but raw power is far from one of them (note that Nvidia announced a GPU that has twice the computer power than the whole of Scorpio the same day). MS has certianly not gone all-in on hardware, and they haven't given any real sense of excitement for their products beyond Scorpio for 2017. That they skipped out on refreshing Surface last year was totally disappointing, and calling that personal is laughably ignorant. I was never going to buy a Surface Pro 5, not AT ALL personal that they didn't refresh a product I'm not interested in at this time. However, when my work is looking at buying the SP5 for employees, then nothing comes out, it's not personal--it's Microsoft's latest example of stumbling on planning and execution.
  • Seems like a list of personal gripes to me. Where is it written that tech companies must produce new versions of products every year? Where is it written that a tech company can't realease an experimental product to test concepts, interest, new technologies and even concepts not obvious to consumers? Microsoft has never gone all in on hardware. That has never been the purpose of their hardware efforts, no matter how many tech bloggers or customers think otherwise. 
  • That's incredibly stupid. "If there isn't a written code, you can't dislike it." What? No, when people across the consumer base state they are waiting to get a product, then that product doesn't launch, that's not a personal problem. Again, not releasing a SP5 doesn't hurt me on a personal level becuase I have 0 interest in the product line. It's not at all a personal gripe. It is an understanding that a company who has shown increasingly bad judgment in the consumer space is again shafting its customers. It's like you don't even know what "personal" means.
  • Now you are making up quotes and criticisizing them. You've listed nothing but personal gripes about products. Fine, you are certainly entitled to your opinions. If Microsoft has said somewhere that they were going to release a new Surface Book or a new Surface Pro at some date in 2016 or 17 and then didn't, consumers interested in those products would have a reason to be disappointed. But Microsoft has not done that. No one is "shafting" (I put that word in quotes because you actually did use it. Do you see how that works?) anyone because a Surface Pro 5 wasn't released 12 months after the Surface Pro 4 or 18 month or 24 months later. The Surface Pro 4 is still on sale and is still a great piece of tech. That's my personal opinion, both about the lack of shafting and the quality of the Surface Pro 4. Just like it apears to be your personal opinion that Microsoft makes poor products that it doesn't fix and yet doesn't make them often enough. 
  • Wait until the fall. Surface Pro 5, Surfacebook 2, probably a Surface 5 running windows on arm, maybe a surface phone, and maybe a surface studio refresh. 
  • Why? If I've learned anything over the last 5 years with MS, don't have hope for producrt launches because they'll just disappoint you. I was told to wait until the Surface Phone in Spring 2017. I was told to wait for McLaren. I was told to wait for Band 3. Why would I wait for something MS hasn't announced when all they do is delay and cancel things I'm interested in these days?
  • There is no Surface Phone. There will be no Surface Phone.
  • Same old waiting....
  • cortana speaker?
  • I wouldn't expect anything significant on the hardware side.  Anything competing in the education market against chromebooks is going to have to cost around $300.  Specs and design are going to be pretty limited.  A 12" clamshell laptop with a Celeron processor are what I expect given that Windows on ARM hasn't even hit beta at this point. What MS will have to focus on are the educational features.  Ease of infrastructure management by schools' IT departments will have to be prioritized and MS is going to have to offer something Chromebooks don't.  Pushing a device and apps that leverage the sandboxed OS like an iPad combined with the size, durability, and physical keyboard & trackpad of a Chromebook makes sense.  Combine that with easly managed student accounts, custom designed UWP apps from educational vendors, and an Azure supported framework to take the load off local processing and I can see where MS could have a groundbreaking integrated system that does education much better than what is available now. I hope they're successful.  Anything that gets focus on UWP app development is going to be good for Windows Mobile even if the results aren't seen on the consumer side for a year or more.
  • I wouldn't expect any hardware from MS themselves, in all honesty. Like you said, these devices need to be cheap, which doesn't work with the premium stance MS have taken with their hardware. The Surface line aims to act as the best, innovative examples of what you can do with Windows, and so a basic budget addition just doesn't fit the brand. Entirely possible they may announce other, third party OEM devices designed for Cloud, though. They might talk a bit about how licensing for W10 Cloud is going to be more cost-effective for schools or something. My only thoughts about Cloud for education is what happens when schools need proper programs for their students rather than just apps? They'd still have to use normal W10 in addition to Cloud, and that might be more of a hassle for them than just getting cheap W10 devices.
  • My only thoughts about Cloud for education is what happens when schools need proper programs for their students rather than just apps? The developers will adapt to the market and make their software available on the Windows Store to gain access to this growing market
  • But if schools need the program now, for CAD design or video editing or music software etc., they can't just wait for developers to appreciate the change in the market when they need it to teach their students. It's admittedly more of a problem for older students, but can still apply to younger ones with specialist programs and services. Some schools might also have prepaid licenses that they won't be too keen to discard for less capable app alternatives.
  • If were talking about CAD design then they already would be using Windows 10 or Mac OSX, the application for these devices is more in the Chromebook price sector, which just requires sandboxing and basic productivity software ie Office
  • Anybody doing CAD design is not buying a cloud book.  Obviously.
  • With Microsoft's focus on different ways to work and only building hardware if they can differentiate it from what's already available I don't think this will be a standard clamshell laptop. It will need to work for note taking with a pen for example.
  • May event was related to non-pro Surface in the past. I am having hope!
  • I really doubt there won't be any 'mainstream consumer' products. That would be awful marketing, to get everyone hyped up only to target a very specific segment of consumers. There will at least be some Scorpio news, and possibly a tiny Surface Pro 4 refresh (like the Performance base update for Surface Book). I also suspect that this "cloud" device might in fact be a small ARM-based Surface device aimed not just at students (although that will be the way they choose to highlight its benefits), but at anybody who wants the 'ultimate mobile device'. I don't think Surface Phone exists. I think phones are over for MS. All they want is a device you can carry with you and easily pull up, whether it sits in your pocket or in your bag. Since it'll have ARM, it will also let you make phone calls. But the emphasis would be on mobile computing. I think they might just make everybody happy at this event. They'll probably also push Continuum at the event. It's perfect. Small but powerful device you can easily bring to your lectures, and which will let you write on a larger screen back in your dorm room, but without taking up too much space or requiring too much knowledge. It's probably more appealing to the mobile generation than what a clunky 'old' clamshell Google Chromebook ever will be.
  • I REALLY hope this is what is showcased at this event.
  • this going be to boring then, i didn't find chrome books interesting and if this going to be a competitor to chromebooks then its not going to interest me
  • I think this is when we'll finally see a working implementation of Windows on ARM. A Windows tablet with the battery endurance of a smartphone or iPad is a perfect fit with schoolkids.
  • Courier?
  • Its all ive ever really wanted out of Microsoft
  • Most likely a smaller, lower priced Surface.
  • Heaven forbid they do anything to give users hope about mobile
  • There is no hope for mobile.  Microsoft killed it when they did what they did with their "retrenchment".  As I said before,  the trench is 6ft long 3ft wide and 6ft deep.
  • Just to be clear, this isn't the Microsoft Build, which is scheduled to take place in Seattle May 10-12. This must be the Surface event that's been hinted at for a while. In the past, Microsoft Build has given us details on Cortana, WP8.1, Win10, W10M, Hololens, Edge extensions, and a whole slew of other things. Unlikely we would see a device unveiling, but anything is possible. I figured by June we would have an idea of what's to come. We'll see where the chips fall, I suppose.
  • if it is a single device that will be introduced I think it will be the 1000 dollar$  non removable screen "Surface"  laptop computer because a Chinese news source has already leaked that they are already being manufactured for sale. Of course Microsoft would announce them ready for  sale only until the product is good enough and in large enough quantities that can be put on sale. The surprise would be if we see the dual screen Surface revived Surface mini tablet to come out i expect it to come out When the Surface Pro 5 Tablet and Surface book #2  are revealed.
  • OOo. I am IT at a library and this kind of thing is geared towards me. Have to make sure to watch.
  • I'm hoping since this is an event possibily for new hardware geared towards education. That maybe we'll see the Groove Music Maker app that appeared last fall during the Creators Update unveiling. I know it's not an education software but if this potential new device is geared towards the Education sector that an app like that could be a selling point. Similar to how before  Apple became an iPhone company use to market their suite of iMove, iWeb, iPhoto and Garageband apps to the education audience.
  • This would be a great event to announce the Surface 5 considering the Surface 3 was just noted as a great tablet solution for students. 
  • May 3, Microsoft no longer support said hardware they came out with on May 4th. welcome to the world of Microsoft Hardware.
  • Hard to support software a day before announcing it, no?
  • Probably no Surface devices. No Panos?
  • Are we still expecting a separate hardware event??
  • So, basically another MS event that most consumers won't be excited about. Awesome. When they launched the SP4 and SB in 2015, there was such a feeling of momentum (for everything but phone). Now, it's 1.5 years later and all we've gotten since is Studio (which is gorgeous, but underpowered and aimed at a very specific segment) and a slight SB refresh, and I feel like they're just ******* away all of their good will and momentum as Satya continues to focus on the cloud and every sector that ISN'T consumers.
  • Don't forget, they also launched Band 2 then and look how that went. (love mine but the dreaded strap split has got to it after a year)
  • I predict failure.  Education is getting pretty close to the consumer market and MSFT doesn't do consumer. EDU IT has to be pretty close to consumer level interaction with IT.  MSFT just doesn't understand how to interact and support the consumer.  I predict in 6 months that this goes by the way of the Dodo bird just like everything else that MSFT has that is close to the consumer market with the exception of the very rare occurance of the XBOX.
  • "and MSFT doesn't do consumer." LOL, just wow "I predict in 6 months that this goes by the way of the Dodo bird just like everything else that MSFT has that is close to the consumer market with the exception of the very rare occurance of the XBOX. "   Oh wow it got even beter lol
  • Microsoft is much more active in education than we think. The much talk chrome books are not close to 1/4 of windows devices that are used in education. The cloud is just a new category and Microsoft already showing a strong presence. The absence of windows phone does not and will not put Microsoft out of the game.
  • I think this will be a Surface product for the educational sector, a Surface Hub like offering and not Windows RS3 is as an Edu update. I suspect Windows Cloud will support this echosystem within an Edu environment.
  • I think something about phone will be briefly mention at the event.
  • 99.9% chance they wont, wouldnt make sense to briefly mention it at an unrelated Hardware event when Build is only 8 days later
  • I'm excited for a new category Surface device. If that device really runs Windows 10 cloud, which only allows UWP, then how is it different from WinRT except for the revamped interface of Win10??? I'm indeed worried how Windows without support of win32 apps can succeed. I work as a teacher of a high school - 2 years ago we decided to choose Windows tablet for e-learning just because only Windows offers fully functional desktop apps for our students to get things done.  Being productive is still an important consideration (at least for some scchools like mine). Or maybe it is an ARM-based device that csn run native desktop apps with emulation? Education sector is really the market microsoft should target to save Windows. I believe microsoft will give us some surprises.
  • Boring event this time
  • Disappoint
  • WinRT 2.0! Classdojo, Book Creator, and other educational applications are missing!
  • MS are fully aware the deafening silence is causing sleepless nights for the hardcore Windows Phone users...expect more mixed msgs from Nadella if anything at all