To kick off each weekend, we round up all of the biggest news stories from the land of Microsoft, Windows, and all related tech. And what a week for news it was. We reported that the Surface Pro and Surface Pro X lines will merge, reviewed the latest version of Windows 11, and covered a load of new gadgets from IFA 2022. We also received confirmation of Xbox Game Pass Friends & Family Plan pricing and saw the Surface Duo 2 out of stock last Microsoft and Best Buy.
Microsoft to merge Surface Pro and Surface Pro X lines
Microsoft's Surface Pro and Surface Pro X lines have inched closer together over the years in terms of design. Soon, Microsoft will formalize the coming together by merging the lines entirely. According to an exclusive report from our senior editor, Microsoft will merge the Surface Pro X ARM And Surface Pro 9 Intel versions under one product line.
The next ARM-powered Surface Pro is expected to ship with a chip based on the Snapdragon 8cx Gen3. On the Intel side of things, the Surface Pro 9 should have a 12th Gen chip, possibly from the company's P series.
For the first time, the Surface Pro lineup will have 5G connectivity options with the Surface Pro 9. It will also have a new Type Cover design, though previous keyboards would still be compatible with the newer PC.
AMD uneils Ryzen 7000 CPUs
AMD unveiled its Ryzen 7000 processors at its "Together We Advance PCs event this week. The chipset is based on AMD's 5nm Zen 4 architecture and will use the new AM5 socket design. AMD claims that the lineup will deliver 11% faster single-thread performance than the Intel Core i9-12900K and 44% faster multi-thread performance. The company also promises 475 better performance per watt.
At the high end of the series, AMD will have its Ryzen 9 7950X, which will compete with the Intel Core i9-12900K.
Ryzen 7000 CPUs will launch on September 27, 2022 with a starting price of $299, though pricing will range up to $699 for the flagship chip.
Our senior editor Chuong Nguyen shared an extensive breakdown of the Ryzen 7000 series, including specs, prices, and more.
ASUS and Lenovo announce foldable PCs
This week we saw not one, but two foldable PCs announced. ASUS kicked things off with the ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold, a large foldable with a 17-inch display. It can flip and fold into various postures, including acting as a large tablet, a laptop, or a portable desktop.
In any normal week, the launch of a 17-inch foldable would steal headlines, but Lenovo decided to try to steal ASUS' thunder by unveiling its second generation ThinkPad X1 Fold. It's more refined, customizable, and versatile than ASUS' offering. It's also cheaper than the Zenbook 17 Fold. That being said, competition is always a good thing.
Not to be topped by ASUS, Lenovo's foldable PC has even more postures. In addition to being able to convert into a large tablet, laptop, or portable desktop, the ThinkPad X1 Fold can act as a pseudo-multi-monitor setup. It does this by resting in a vertical orientation with its display slightly folded.
Our colleague Mr. Mobile, aka Michael Fisher, reviewed the ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold this week. If you skip to the 8:27 mark of his video, you'll see his comparison of the Zenbook 17 Fold and the new ThinkPad X1 Fold.
Surface Duo 2 now out of stock, sparking questions
Microsoft's Surface Duo 2 is out of stock for consumers and businesses on the company's website. Best Buy stores also removed kiosks for the foldable mobile device and have limited stock available. While there isn't any confirmation regarding why the Surface Duo 2 has been taken off shelves, our executive editor Daniel Rubino shared his speculation this week.
The Surface Duo 2 is set to receive Android 12L soon, possibly in the next few months. There's a chance that Microsoft pulled the Surface Duo 2 back to reship it with Android 12L pre-installed.
Microsoft has not responded to our request for comment yet, though we'll keep you updated if the company shares anything.
Notably, our senior editor Zac Bowden doesn't expect a Surface Duo 3 this fall.
NVIDIA and AMD ordered to stop selling AI chips to China
The ongoing tech war between the United States and China saw a major development this week. The U.S. government ordered AMD and NVIDIA to stop shipping certain products to China. The order prevents the sale of specific AI chips to China due to risks of military use in China or Russia.
"The USG indicated that the new license requirement will address the risk that the covered products may be used in, or diverted to, a ‘military end use’ or ‘military end user’ in China and Russia," said an SEC filing.
The AI chips in question can power features such as image recognition and scanning large libraries of data, both of which can be used for military purposes.
China and the United States have been on rocky ground when it comes to technology for several years. The U.S. government banned the sale of chips made with tech from the country to Huawei in 2020.
Arm suing Qualcomm over Nuvia designs
NVIDIA and AMD weren't the only tech giants to make the headlines for legal battles this week. Arm sued Qualcomm, alleging that the latter breached licensing agreements and committed trademark infringement. The lawsuit centers around Qualcomm's work on new chips using tech from Nuvia.
Qualcomm purchased Nuvia in 2021 for $1.4 billion. Nuvia was founded by the makers of Apple's A-series chips, which laid the foundation for the popular M-series processors seen in MacBooks, Macs, and other Apple hardware. Nuvia's acquisition is supposed to help Qualcomm compete with the likes of Apple, but it's now hit a bit of a snag.
Arm alleges that Qualcomm has continued to use terminated licenses since March 2022. Qualcomm disagrees with the claim.
This battle will likely go on for some time before we see a conclusion. Arm and Qualcomm have worked together for years, but Qualcomm's purchase of Nuvia could help the chipmaker distance itself from Arm a bit and provide flexibility in the future.
Xbox Game Pass Friends & Family pricing confirmed
Shifting over to gaming, Microsoft finally confirmed the branding and pricing of its Xbox Game Pass Friends & Family plan. Its cost varies a bit based on location. USers in Columbia will have to pay €21.99 a month, while those in Colombia will be charged $49,990 COP. For context, €21.99 is roughly $98,360 COP.
The new plan allows up to five players to receive the benefits of XBox Game Pass Ultimate, including Xbox Live Gold and EA Play. It supports one main account and up to four other players that can be added on.
Microsoft has not outlined its timeline for rolling out the service to other regions.
Surface Studio 3 rumors and accessory leaks emerge
New accessories are on the way for the Surface Studio family, according to Microsoft's own Surface app. A recent update to the application included renders of a new Surface Keyboard, Surface Mouse, and Surface Pen, which our senior editor Zac Bowden assumes will launch alongside a new Surface Studio 3 this fall.
While the new Surface Keyboard shares a lot of design elements with its predecessor, it has iconography that matches Windows 11, such as the new Windows 11 Start button logo.
Here's a first look at the refreshed Surface Keyboard and Surface Pen, which I assume are being updated for the upcoming Surface Studio 3 this fall pic.twitter.com/RJs8qYrkarAugust 31, 2022
The new Surface Mouse appears to be the same as the previous generation, apart from its new color option. The updated Surface Pen has a clip similar to older versions of the accessory from a few years ago.
While foldable PCs may have turned the most heads, several other devices were announced at IFA 2022. Lenovo's new Glasses T1 places a monitor on your face and connects to a phone or PC without having the bulk of other smart glasses. LG unveiled a bendable monitor that can act as a flat display or curve for immersion. MSI highlighted several of its new gadgets at IFA 2022 this week, and ASUS unveiled multiple ExpertBooks as well.
Our experts review the latest games, gadgets, and more each week. This week our team looked at the upcoming major update to Windows 11, the ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold, and quite a few other items:
- Thrustmaster T-LCM racing pedals review: Customizable springs for precise braking
- DockCase 7-in-1 USB-C Visual Smart Hub review: A sleek hub with built-in status display for your connected accessories
- Geekom MiniAir 11 mini PC review: A pint-sized productivity machine for less
- HP Pavilion Plus 14 review: The best $1,000 you can spend on a powerful OLED laptop right now
- Immortality Xbox review: So much more than you can imagine
- AndaSeat Kaiser 3 review: A magnificent magnetic masterpiece of a gaming chair
- ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold (UX9702) review: Unfolding an incredibly versatile laptop
- Rock Space AC2100 range extender review: A simple solution for weak Wi-Fi
- Windows 11 version 22H2 review: Refined, but still not perfect
- Insta360 One RS 1-inch Leica Edition review: Is an action cam the best webcam?
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Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at firstname.lastname@example.org (opens in new tab).
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