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Microsoft aims to turn Windows into a mobile platform

Visitors use laptop computers as they try out Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 10 operating system during a product launch event in Tokyo, Japan, on Wednesday, July 29, 2015.
Kiyoshi Ota | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Visitors use laptop computers as they try out Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 10 operating system during a product launch event in Tokyo, Japan, on Wednesday, July 29, 2015.

Microsoft is slated Tuesday to unveil a slew of new products centered on the recent rollout of Windows 10. After competitors Apple and Google introduced new products this fall, the technology blogosphere is abuzz with rumors of two new Lumia phones, an updated Surface Pro tablet and perhaps some updates to gaming console Xbox.

The new hardware, with faster processors and better battery life, will showcase the capabilities of Microsoft's new operating system, which is designed to transition more smoothly between devices and focuses on enterprise productivity.

Microsoft has made its mark in years past in the enterprise and gaming spheres, but struggled to take down iOS and Android in the mobile phone market. Meanwhile, Apple and Google recently upped their bets on enterprise and gaming, on top of renewed phone offerings.

Investors will be watching the rollout event Tuesday morning in New York City to see how Microsoft plans to keep pace.

"I think a lot of the new Intel processors will allow all-day battery life, so what you would expect to see would be products that are leveraging that technology," said Crawford Del Prete, analyst at IDC. "You might see them push on costs and price points to make it attractive to more customers. And you will probably see them push on the physical design, make [the Surface tablet] thinner and more comfortable."

Amid soft demand for its legacy software products, Microsoft has seen revenue hit as it restructures to focus less on personal computers and more on cloud computing, according to its July earnings report. But Del Prete, who specializes in enterprise technology, said most people don't realize how the Surface tablets pushed the market forward for similar devices.

"It's a category that is getting a lot of excitement and innovative designs," Del Prete said. "Microsoft is one of the companies that is responsible for that. There are a lot of skeptics but they created a billion-dollar business in a relatively short period of time."

Windows 10 builds on Microsoft's existing progress by making the tablet more of a creative tool, Del Prete said, with a stronger keyboard, tougher flipping mechanism and more responsive interface that makes it more conducive to a working environment. As an added bonus, Microsoft Office 2016 will available on mobile devices via the cloud, too, the company said in a release.

But in addition to more sophisticated iPad Pro and Chromebook offerings, Apple and Android have already delivered in an area where Microsoft lags: a robust app store across devices. Windows phones had less than 3 percent of the worldwide smartphone market as of August, IDC estimated.

"The thing they really need to do is deliver on universal apps for PC customers," Del Prete said.