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Microsoft introduces Windows 10 update with creative focus

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Microsoft Corp introduced an all-in-one desktop personal computer and previewed an update to Windows 10 software that focuses on new creative features for designers of virtual and augmented reality programs.

[SEATTLE] Microsoft Corp introduced an all-in-one desktop personal computer and previewed an update to Windows 10 software that focuses on new creative features for designers of virtual and augmented reality programs.

The new PC, called Surface Studio, has a 28-inch display with what Microsoft says is the thinnest LCD screen ever and an Intel Core I7 processor. It will cost US$2,999.

"We want it to transform the way you create and think about creating," said Panos Panay, Microsoft's vice president for devices.

"It's kind of built to pull you in."

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The Windows update, scheduled to roll out in the spring, will be free to current Windows 10 users and will include tools to invent and share 3-D objects, said Microsoft Windows chief Terry Myerson at an event in New York.

With the PC market in the doldrums and consumers increasingly expecting their operating systems for free, Microsoft is trying to juice Windows sales by offering tools to help users be more creative, playing in particular to its early start in augmented reality, where 3-D objects can be overlaid on what can be seen in real life.

With the creative focus in the new Windows version, Microsoft is aiming for a group that has historically been fertile ground for Apple Inc.

"We are the company that stands for the builders, the makers, the creators," said Microsoft chief executive officer Satya Nadella.

The larger, sleeker look of the Surface Studio, whose monitor has a hinge that can move, is intended to showcase new creative features and provide high-quality design experiences, with 13.5 million pixels of resolution and the widest variety of colours, according to Microsoft.

The PC's screen can be pushed down so it can be written on like a flat tablet or drawing desk. It also has a dial controller that can be placed on the screen and used to change drawing colours.

Microsoft also introduced a new Surface Book laptop, with 30 per cent more battery life and better performance than the previous model. It costs US$2,399 and can be pre-ordered now for November delivery.

The Redmond, Washington-based tech giant said it will bring the 3-D features to its most popular apps within the next year.

Once created, objects can also be viewed using Microsoft's augmented reality HoloLens goggles or a variety of virtual reality headsets. Partners like Lenovo Group, HP Inc, Dell, Asustek Computer Inc and Acer Computer International will create virtual reality goggles for use with Windows 10, Microsoft said.

With the software update, gamers using Windows 10 PCs or the Xbox console will be able to livestream their play directly without using a third-party platform such as Amazon.com Inc's Twitch.

Viewers can comment and provide suggestions using preset commands. Xbox Live players will also be able to create custom sports tournaments.

Early versions of the new update will be released to customers who have signed up to preview new software this week.

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