"[...] housing a multitouch keyboard [...]"
When have keyboards ever *not* been "multitouch"?
In one of its most-hyped-up announcements of recent years, Microsoft has entered the tablet market with the Surface, a 10.6 inch table running Windows 8 on Intel and ARM platforms. At the launch event in Los Angeles, CEO Steve Ballmer said that Microsoft could offer something "unique" in that it can do both the hardware and …
The concept sounds like MS wants to offer everything to everybody. Can't they see that their competitors' success is built on the exact opposite approach? Apple succeeded by creating specialized devices that do exactly what the user expects (iPhone: phone, internet, music, games; iPad: internet, games, movies; ...). So now they try to build the one system do it all -- and their tablets, notebooks, and desktop computers will end up doing everything awkwardly.
I expect MS Office to save the day, simply because we are all used to it. But it won't ever be cool.
"So now they try to build the one system do it all -- and their tablets, notebooks, and desktop computers will end up doing everything awkwardly"
Ah, but that's the thing. This looks like it might end up doing everything reasonably well. The ARM version is only a sliver heavier than the iPad3 but comes with a slim cover that is a keyboard and has a stand. (Keyboard is detachable). The baked in keyboard alone is going to make a huge difference to many. Lots of people who use a laptop use it for barely more than browsing, Word and emails. This can do that as well as having the tablet form factor that is convenient for sofa-surfing. Don't know how desktops got in your list above though as this isn't nor tries to be, a desktop substitute. I suppose the posher Intel one can be if you have light use, as it has Displaly Port output.
So they have announced something that may or may not ship in 'n' months without mentioning prices.
So what is new then?
This is aimed squarely at the Ultrabook and high end Android tablet makers. The (IMHO) underlying message they are trying to send out is
'Give up the (ultrabook/tablet) business that you are currently in right now. We (microsoft) are coming and we are going to smash your business to smithereens so get out while you can.
FUD for tea anyone?
Seriously, it remains to be seen if MS can put out something that is price competetive with models already shipping or that will ship before their bit of 'tat' reaches the market. Look at the difficulty many Android device makers are having to compete with the iPad on price. Can MS with no record in this area (the X-box has no screen so it does not count) get enough hardware put together at a realistic price AND get it to market in time for Christmas?
If enough existing Ultrabook makers have enough 'bottle' to stick it out then I have a feeling that MS is going to come unstuck. I'm will to bet (A small donation to charity) that MS needs some existing makers to get cold feet and cancel production so they can get space for their device to be made.
Scare tactics pure and simple.
If I recall when Apple announcd the iPad they gave a date for release in most big markets along with a price. They were confident enough in their business model to do that. I don't see MS having that confidence.
Mines the one with a pad of paper and a pencil in the pocket.
"""We (microsoft) are coming and we are going to smash your business to smithereens"""
It is unlikely that either the Windows 8 or the RT will affect iPad at all. The keyboard is there because most Windows applications (non-Metro) will _require_ keyboard and (mouse substitute) trackpad. This means that they will not work well as laptops (on lap). They will not work well without the keyboard. They need to be on a desk.
The business that they will smash is the MS OEMs. Those intending to build Windows 8 or RT tablets will now give up. HP's WebOS has already been smashed, probably by MS threatening to remove discounts on all Microsoft products.
It is unlikely that these will smash Android tablets. The reason for buying Windows is to run Windows programs. RT won't do that so there is no reason to not just buy Android. x86 will be much more expensive (Ultrabook prices) but will have small 10" screen. Just like netbooks people will prefer a smallish (15") full facility laptop for much less money.
Have you ever seen someone trying to type a document on an iPad....?
I once spent 5 minutes watching one of those coffee shop window puppies with his iPad propped against the window copying text from his iPhone to his iPad using his 2 middle fingers. No, don't ask me why he was doing it, it'll be something to do with the average iQ of the product line purchasers, but it was very, very, very funny.
In answer to the general thrust of the above, iWhatevers are for fart around posers, Android still falls over all over the place, so the only thing you can really trust to do the business on your lap is MS.
@xyz: "...the only thing you can really trust to do the business on your lap is MS."
I heard the same thing when all they had was MS-DOS - a CLI was the *only* way to do business, and this GUI crap was for posers. If MS are so hot on business, why have they just kicked most business users in the teeth by metro-fying everything in Windows 8?
Have you ever seen someone trying to type a document on an iPad....?
yes, and it's pretty easy if you're not completely cackhanded. You just have to keep the heels of your palms off the screen or the cursor jumps unexpectedly - pretty shallow learning curve.
As to the person copying stuff from iPhone to iPad - there may have been a good reason - or maybe they were dumb. Dumb people also own laptops, windows OS, Nokia phones, washing machines and spectacles. Lesson in logic: Even if all dumb people own iPads that doesn't mean all iPad owners are dumb.
"The reason for buying Windows is to run Windows programs."
What's the justification for buying Android? A deep and abiding love of FOSS*? Around here, possibly. Everywhere else in the Universe, probably not. A pants-tightening slavish love of Google? No, or there'd be a market for Chromebooks.
It's cheap and doesn't crash as much as the last version? Yeah. Now we're getting somewhere.
If MS deliver an experience that's price-comparable and doesn't crash at all (you can hate on WP7 all you like but it's rock-solid stable, as a controlled hardware/software platform should be) then the criteria change.
At that point, it's not about "is it cheaper" but about "does it work with my other stuff".
Your other stuff may be 100% Android/linux but you have to admit that's an edge case. And Android tablets and phones do not integrate all that well.
That sort of leaves the field there for the taking, barring only Apple Cultists who will always buy Apple anyway.
*For highly flexible values of FOSS
MS are now going to be punting more OSes than Android - Win RT, Win 8, WinPhone 7, Windows 7 vs Android 2, 3, 4.
Apple have 2 OSes, but at least they have different names so you know which is which (ios for primarily data consumption devices), OSX (for primarily data creation devices) .
At least you know what devices android is aimed at (portable data consumption devices).
So why have Win RT vs Winphone 7 vs Win 8? Or why make Win 8 the broken version of Win 7? They have blurred the lines between devices and yet seem to have divided them even further. Windows 7 still feels fresh and rock solid so its going to be as hard to displace as XP. MS have missed the trick of making the hardware platform irrelevant and instead have created their own pointless fragmentation. The only upside is that their new tablet looks like a nice piece of kit.
They didn't announce the price and they didn't announce the battery life either.
Cynical El Reg readers may wonder why.
Also, RT includes Office pre-installed (i.e. "for free") whereas the Pro version does not and one has to purchase an Office licence in addition -- not a surprise but adds to the cost of "full version".
> RT includes Office pre-installed (i.e. "for free")
Microsoft say that it includes "Office RT Preview".
We don't know whether 'Preview' is just an early version that will be upgraded 'for free' or whether it is a 'trial' version that will expire and require to buy a real version.
We also don't know what feature downgrades that 'Office RT' has when compared to 'Office'.
What we do know is that the changes of getting Firefox, OpenOffice, etc is approx. nil.
"What we do know is that the changes of getting Firefox, OpenOffice, etc is approx. nil."
I know the above is longer and more complicated than "MS blocks Firefox", but it's a Hell of a lot more accurate. Mozilla are free to deploy Firefox on Windows RT, and I bet you that they will. Google are with Chrome. But what they don't get is treated any different than any other Third Party developer. Browser and OS are merging on WinRT. That has implications for security and performance that can't be resolved with a simple pat answer like let everyone do what they want.
Oh, last I heard Office came with RT. If now you only get "Office Preview" then it looks like one will have to download Office Metro edition from the Microsoft Store.
I am sure that's a commercial decision, Office division could not have RT tablets cannibalising their margins.
While I didn't think MS could produce a good tablet (someone should shoot balmer, the real lock-in, is office, not windows, thats why Google docs is so dangerous), i did expect them to learn from the x-box/zoon (later versions) products. This is a joke and in bad taste.
FUD, yeah got to agree with you, problem for MS is that when they say they will do something it now creates FUD about what they will do. They really need someone to get a clue and stop reacting and start acting. In the 90's they were killers, now it seems they have retired to Spain to play golf and die slowly.
Is anyone scared of MS anymore, looks to me like everyone is looking at which pound of flesh they can take. Maybe I'm wrong but when I look at MS, I can't help but think of the IBM PC and what that did to IBM.
So like the Zune launch.
The Intel pad should have enough power to run the squished flat Win8 but will cost too much to be anything but an executive toy.
The Arm pad might have a chance if it's significantly cheaper then the iPad and they can get people to develop for it (both a big if I think).
Don't Apple have the patent on doing both the software and hardware on a mobile device? :P
The Zune was launch was for North America only unlike the Xbox, IMO a strategy that had fail written all over it.
I don't know if the same goes for Surface. Sounds unlikely.
As you say, price is key Arm and x86 but its poinless speculation for now.
Likely Metro capable devices will overtake iPad by next Summer so can expect a few developers will target the platform.
Hardly comparing like with like here. "Metro capable devices" include phones, laptops, desktops and any Surface tablets that they may manage to shift. "...iPad" ignores the bulk of the iOS base, iPhones.
And the bulk of iOS users like iOS, whereas the current consensus is that the bulk of Metro users by next summer (desktop/laptop users) will hate it, as it just gets in the way of them using "traditional" Windows applications.
iPad runs iOS 5
Mac runs Mac OSX
ARM-based tablets runs Windows 8 RT
Intel-based tablets runs Windows 8 Pro
You see the difference? - because I'm pretty sure that the consumer can see the difference between "iOS 5" and "Mac OSX", but I fear that the difference between "Windows 8 RT" and "Windows 8 Pro" is a lot less significant, especially considering that there is a number of other Windows 8 versions that will run all Windows applications just fine.
>>I foresee many people returning their Arm based Windows RT tablets when they finally work out they can't run windows apps
Those would be the same people who return iPads because they won't run Mac software?
I know I'm taking a huge chance weighing in here, being a long-time (since '85) Mac user, but...
...when the iPad was first rolled out, I immediately decided I didn't want one because the damn' thing wouldn't even run OSX. As a designer and illustrator, one of my big dreams was of a Mac tablet that could take stylus input -- specifically, by drawing directly on the pad -- so I could draw directly into Photoshop or Illustrator. You can imagine my disappointment when, instead of an OSX-based tablet, Apple rolled out that goddamn' IOS hipster toy.
I suppose a really good pressure-sensitive tablet connected to my minitower or iBook would work just as well, but an OSX tablet would've been perfection. Instead, all Apple has to offer me is... bah!
>one of my big dreams was of a Mac tablet that could take stylus input
I've commented before that the iPad does seem to have missed a few tricks... such as taking charge all the Photoshop tool palettes and leaving your Mac's monitor with the workspace. One would have assumed that such tricks would be easier for Apple to accomplish than anyone else, by virtue of its having control of all the software and hardware.
The reason they haven't is that they don't need to; the iPad is already selling very nicely.
The rumor is that MS will be charging full price ($85) to OEMs for WinRT.
Oh for fuck's sake, not this FUD again.
HP don't pay $85 for a Windows 7 license. They pay bulk discount rate and the final figure is normally $5/license. Dell are the same. Asus and Lenovo and all the other OEMs? Oh yeah, those too.
Dave's Computer Building Services of 19 Nadger Street, Choad might well pay $85. No actual player does.
Oh for fuck's sake, not this FUD again.
Well, since you dropped an f-bomb you must know what you're talking about and Tom's must have just been spreading FUD.
Do you have a reference for your $5 claim? If you can back it up I'll accept it... but from what I always heard Win7 Starter (that crippled Netbook disto that wouldn't allow the user to change the wallpaper) cost the OEMs $20-30. Color me just a little skeptical that Microsoft charges OEMs the same price for full Win7 that they charge Android phone makers for those patents, and 4x to 6x less than they charge for Starter.
Put up or shut up.
but from what I always heard
Really? From a bloke in the pub? From somebody on the Internet?
I can't tell you exactly what HP pay for each Win7 copy because that's not openly available information. HP negotiate their price and regard it as a closely-guarded trade secret. So do the other OEMs.
I can tell you that the company I work for has more than 50,000 PCs worldwide and we pay just under $10/u on volume licensing. I can also tell you that the more licenses you buy, the lower the cost drops. $5 is a very conservative estimate when you're talking about millions of units.
I think you'll find that someone has been pulling your plonker. $10/per copy may pay for downgrade rights (7/Vista to XP for example) or to put a standard corporate build on a PC that came with a Windows license already. VLK licensing is also rather different to OEM licenses (you get only one key for the whole company that can be invalidated if you misbehave).
The big OEMs are reconned to pay $30-40 per OEM license. Win 8 RT will include Office so MS are trying to get away with charging $80-90 for the bundle. That's what the OEMs are saying, not a guess BTW.
You do know that there are people out there who try to deconstruct BOMs and other costs to try and figure out how much profit the OEMs are making. If you REALLY think they're getting a full license for $5 I have a bridge to sell you.
$15 for XP on netbooks, $30 for starter, $50-60 Vista (2009) - http://m.electronista.com/iphone/articles/09/04/19/ms.asks.15.for.xp.netbooks/
Full Windows license $50-60 as of 2009 - http://articles.businessinsider.com/2009-04-20/tech/30069753_1_windows-xp-windows-vista-pc-manufacturers
Netbook license $15-$35 (also 2009) - http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netbook#section_4
Windows RT for $80-95 - http://m.tomshardware.com/news/Windows-RT-OEM-ARM-85-Nvidia,15992.html
So.. what do you have to back your accusation of FUD other than your gut and confusion between business and retail licensing?
Also, I explicitly described this as a rumor... so going with both barrels at me really makes you come off as a prick. If you have better information, bring it. Dick.
It seems like the Microsoft equivalent to the Google Nexus products - not a high volume device, more to act as "encouragement" to their OEMs to raise the bar and show what they should be doing rather than churning out lowest common denominator junk.
Looks really nice - I want one!
And I can see this being the tablet platform that makes sense for companies currently frustrated with the limitations of the iPad. To be fair, I think the 'full fat' Intel version of the tablet will be the one that most businesses go for. I am still a little wary of the battery life on an Intel tablet but some of the Ultrabooks are getting over 10 hours now. I think that in a couple of years the requirement for WinRT will probably disappear as the next couple of generations of Intel chipsets will start matching/beating the current ARM generation in terms of power consumption.
In the consumer space I think we need to know what software and services will be provided through the Surface platform. The briefing today was not really very explicit in this area.
the next couple of generations of Intel chipsets will start matching/beating the current ARM generation in terms of power consumption
You used the wrong icon for trolling... ARM chips are more power efficient because they use fewer transistors to get the work done. Intel's advances are in making chips smaller and cooler but they can't erase that fundamental difference. So, you have Intel competing in a design race it can't win unless it breaks backward compatibility and the various fabs competing with Intel's considerable process nous. The economics are important: Intel can afford to sell its chips for a lot of money so it can afford to continue investing heavily in process and plant. As ARM chips sell for a lot less, the fabs have to sell a lot more of them to be able to continue to invest in process and plant. But the combination of TDP and price is making ARM attractive to areas outside phones, boosting volume. From my own back of the envelope calculation the lead that Intel has on the competition in terms of process is shrinking: Intel is dropping down to 22nm geometries just as the fabs are moving to 32nm, they stayed on 60nm and even 90nm for quite a while after Intel had dropped to 32nm. Plans to go down to 22nm have been announced and in this the fabs profit from the continued commodification of chip design forcing them to co-operate with each other (the volume is high enough) to cover the increasing costs of each new generation, just as such economics are starting to turn against Intel: should there be a significant take-up of ARM-based servers anywhere, expect Intel to drop prices.
AC wrote: "errr isnt metro supposed to be great for touch? Whats with the keyboard?"
Metro actually is great for touch. But keyboards are great for "real work" (you know, emails, word processing, spreadsheets, whatever). Given that the thinner version of the keyboard is 3mm thick and probably adds almost nothing in weight and makes a nice cover for the tablet, having both seems a really good idea to me. There's also a 5mm version of the keyboard which has proper keys. The keyboard can just swivel round the back (deactivating itself as it does) if desired, but according to a press release elsewhere, it's actually detachable anyway.
Device also takes a stylus (and disables hand input whilst it detects a stylus is being used). So yes, Metro is great for touch, but it looks to me like this has the best of three worlds - touch when you want it, keyboard when you want it, stylus with 600DPI resolution for when you want to sketch things out or take notes in OneNote (or use handwriting recognition). Nice.
At leaston the lumia 800 is terrible. The included keyboard isn't too bad, but has no haptic feedback, so it can't compare with the original one on my nexus one, and I won't even mention swiftkeyX. Also, reverting the usage of select and place cursor - one touch to select a word, touch and hold to place (blindly) the cursor - doesn't help, seems like it was made only to appear different from other OSs.
WP7 isn't actually Metro. It's just similar. That said, I have a Lumia 710 (much cheaper than the 800 for the loss of nothing that I care about) and I find it fine to use. They keyboard makes a little mbop sound on each stroke which works for feedback for me. Different people, different preferences I guess, but I certainly wouldn't describe it as terrible and Metro on tablet seems to be going down well so far.
So, let me get this right, you're saying that Metro is terrible because the on screen keyboard isn't as good as your Nexus 1? Hmmmm Perhaps you might want to try thinking about that a bit more.
On screen keyboards on tablets should be better than on phones, because they aren't so small and fiddly. Personally I don't find haptic feedback any better than sound. At least until we get to the stage of more than just vibrating to confirm you've touched the screen (where a click does just as well).
"Also, reverting the usage of select and place cursor - one touch to select a word, touch and hold to place (blindly) the cursor - doesn't help"
This bit has 3 modes, not just 2. Having used iOS, Windows and Android, they're all fiddly. That's down to screen size. Windows is at least as good as Android and both are better than iOS. On Metro you have 3 options:
1. Touch word, it gets highlighted. Then you can over-type, copy or select a new word option from the spell-checker.
2. Touch twice. The cursor will go under your finger (the same as on Android). This is done blindly, as you say, because your finger isn't transparent.
3. Touch and hold. A cursor appears above your finger. You can then drag this to where you want it. The advantage being, you can actually see what you're doing.
I'm not saying that metro is terrible only because of the keyboard. For me it is crap because even with a new WP7.5 I end up using my old Nexus One a thousand times more, and every time I force myself to use the lumia I end by givinp up in disgust. It feels limited, unfinished, and aimed at a public that would be happy with featurephones.
Touch twice to place the cursor? Never worked for me. One touch or double touch always selects the damn word. And the cursor showing above in touch and hold is an interesting gimmick - but doesn't help at all, at least it doesn't help me. I still can't see the word beneath my finger. At least in Android, as I place the cursor with a single touch I can aim first, if I place the cursor wrong I aim a bit to the side and it is in the right place. With the WP7 keyboard I can't do that. And don't get me started on trying to use it if you regularly type in two or more languages...
I admit the boring tiles are easy to touch, but so are the icons in my android.
OK. That's an actual reason - although you don't really say why you think Android is better than WinPhone.
But I'm assuming that you find the inability to customise it annoying. It's certainly true that when you click on the options menu on WinPho apps and settings you don't get very many of them. Particularly compared with Android. WinPho lets you do more than iOS, but it's not in the same league as Android, and you can't display nearly as much on the Live Tiles, as you can on Android widgets.
I don't think it's fair to call it 'half finished' though. MS have just made different design choices to Google. Pick the one that suits you best. Android can be customised more, but it's harder to use. Also, El Reg readers are not normal users. Having set up phones and computers for friends and family, many normal users don't use a lot of this customisation, because they don't know how.
So in some ways you're right, they've aimed partly at the feature phone market. That means something that can run fast, on relatively low spec hardware. Android is getting a bit podgy and resource-hungry. MS have actually lowered the hardware requirements of WinPho. I switched from Android, because I was only using 5 or 6 apps regularly, and most of those were to replace the rubbish stock apps (e.g. text & address book).
In my opinion WinPho is massively better as a phone, and can cope with 4,000 contacts much more easily. That's most important to me, with smartphone secondary. Though I do miss some of the widgets, and the WiFi tools. Your mileage may vary. Notice I don't call Android or iOS awful, because I can see the advantages of all 3 systems.
Metro should be from OK to great on a tablet, depending on what Win8 is like. The one part of Win 8 that has got decent reviews is the touch side of it. What MS may do is familiarise people with Metro on the desktop, and sell more tablets. Alternatively, they may associate Metro with pissing people off with unnecessary desktop change, and doom the tablet...
I have a Lumia 710 (much cheaper than the 800 for the loss of nothing that I care about)
<AOL> Hummed and haa'd over the 800, played with both in CPW, decided to go for the 710 and haven't regretted it.
And as !Spartacus said, the cursor placement isn't a problem once you understand how it works.
Rather missing the point of how people use tablets.
The intuitive touch interface is what set the iPad apart and made it a success, notwithstanding the whinging from people about wanting a "real" keyboard. So to set themselves apart, Microsoft adds an external flat keyboard which is likely to have no better "feel" than the on-screen iPad keys.
And "vents all around" (from the MS presentation) doesn't sound like something you want to boast about. It implies lots of heat and provides openings for crud and liquids.
I predict Bob-level success as I don't see this as being as good a product as the Zune.
"Exactly, so it doesn't complete with iPad and Android tablets. It competes against netbooks and possibly other transformers"
No, I'd say it competes with the iPad. At least the WinRT (ARM) version does, the Win8 one is actually higher-end than the iPad. The WinRT one is stated to weigh 676g, the iPad 3 is 660g. That puts them in the same ease of use space. The difference is that the WinRT version comes with a flip around cover that is also a keyboard. Well plus other things like USB, DisplayPort output, MicroSD. And a Stylus so you can sketch, do handwriting recognition, quick notes in OneNote. I'd say it is certainly a competitor to the iPad but one that can also compete with netbooks and light laptops.
The big mistake is in using a 16:9 screen.
More often than not tablets are used in portrait mode. In this case 16:9 is not pretty (you could reasonably argue the only case it IS useful is for watching video, in which case it seems a bit steep compared to a dedicated video device). MS, like ASUS are trying to force you to use the device in landscape mode (where's the portrait kickstand?) and it's not always a good fit.
The result is that these machines are competing against thin and light laptops rather than living fully in the tablet marketplace.
Even if the added keyboard has no tactile feedback, it's still not on the screen, which means that you have about 2/3 more pixels free for use. Also, there are quite a few people buying stylus for iPads now, anyone who wants to do stuff which isn't just "dicking around on the internet" will find a stylus very useful. I was even using my WP7 with a stylus from a colleague's iPad yesterday and both devices benefit from it's use.
Yup, sod the keyboard, I want a stylus.
The frustration with typing on my iPad is often at times when I can't conveniently put it down and use it like a laptop anyway. For example, reading El Reg on the sofa, and wanting to
spew some bile post a comment.
This is where my old HP tablet was great, as Vista has excellent handwriting recognition built in (although a less good on screen keyboard). But the point of a tablet, for me at least, is the sitting on the sofa/train bit. So I'd be happy to live without a keyboard if I could have a stylus - as writing is so much less frustrating than pecking at a piece of glass. Having the keyboard as well is just gravy.
I know. There were about 3 typos in that post, and that was the important one.
Given my old HP tablet was just shy of 2kg, I can put up with a few grams either way when I replace my iPad. Sadly the slate type tablets cost an absolute fortune in 2007, so I had to go for the swivelly keyboard type
If I press "F" and "A" together simultaneously, what do I get ... ? Sweet "FA" ?
Or does "multi-touch" simply refer to the fact that it's a big enough dish-cloth to rest multiple fingers on simultaneously, in which case whaddyaknow... I've been using a MULTI-TOUCH DESK for YEARS!
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Your keyboard is multi touch because it can detect multiple keydown/keyup events at once. Hence, you can press the W and D keys and head forwards while strafing to the right, to use a gaming example. A word processor will also use multi-touch, to detect the "A" keydown event after the "F" keydown but before the "F" keyup event.
Though as far as this tablet goes, it looks like a Prime, Fisher Price Edition. That isn't a membrane keyboard is it, surely? I'm not sure if I'd rather use a glass keyboard than the ZX81 this is shaping up to be.
Ho hum. ARM powered too, so the only advantage they have with the gazillions of legacy x86 apps has been removed too. Uhm, so why should anybody buy this, again?
"Ho hum. ARM powered too, so the only advantage they have with the gazillions of legacy x86 apps has been removed too. Uhm, so why should anybody buy this, again?"
I think you need to go and read the announcement again, especially the bit about the x86 tablet.
So pretty much a classic Vapourware announcement then?
I suspect that they are struggling to get buy in from the big PC manufacturers to produce W8 tablets (look at Nokia vs Sumsung - which model would you emulate if you made PC hardware?), so ended up doing it themselves.
Several things that strike me as plain wrong (though just catching up with the announcement now)
1) Screen resolution? No retina type display then? Battery life. You know the things that sell tablets vs keyboards and colour schemes.
2) "Ultrabook prices". Ultrabooks I have seen (<cough> Macbook Air <cough>) cost twice that of an iPad. So Surface tablets will be twice the cost of iPads? Good luck with that.
3) Same brand name for 3 different devices that may or may not happen to run the same software downloaded from the web (x86 W8, WinRT ARM, and the big vertical market surface tables). WTF?
Finally.. shipping sometime in the future .. probably about the same time as 4th Gen iPads?
Given that MS are right now a small scale hardware maker, (the XBox was/is subsidised by MS game sales) will be interesting to see how much of a hit they will take on each hardware sale, as they are up against Apple with a very fine tuned pipeline for churning out devices quickly and with a low BOM
The decision to develop the Surface familymust have been made sometime last year or earlier.
The Windows OEMs have done a really poor job in recent years with laptops. Intels Ultrabook initiative however flawed at least woke a few product designers up. Microsoft coming up with some designs that put HP, Acer, Dell and co to shame further highlights that fact and hopefully will spur those companies to offer some competitive products e.g. add an LG retina panel to 15".
Battery life and price, sure we need to know more.
Release date - there was no way Microsoft could have done an Apple and veiled Surface in secrecy until it is ready to ship, the OEMs will be unhappy enough as it is.
That aside, some interesting ideas there, the kick stand, keyboard, track pad etc.
However, I, and 'we', as family are not interested. We bought 4 iPad's (1's) between us. The children still have theirs which I can nick when I need once in a while. Sold mine to buy a HP Envy 17. No further need for tablets until one of them dies. Was taking an interest in Android tablets, until Google killed my Play Wallet/checkout (they're not sure themselves what to call it) account.
If Microsoft decide that it will only talk to a PC properly with Metro, than I am even less interested than I already am, which is not very much to start with.
Well one advantage with the Win8 O/S is that you get proper user-accounts, so it wont matter if your kids pick up your tablet for example.
Anyway, I really like the look of this. There are a few of us who have been holding off from getting a tablet because we want a Windows version...I was hoping for a low-power AMD one and I think I would prefer a true hybrid to this. But if it's light enough and that keyboard gets out of the way, then I may go for the Intel one above. Don't like the sound of Ultrabook prices though as those are already over-priced and the price of those will be falling by the end of the year (Intel are lowering prices and AMD will have their own models out by then).
"User accounts on a tablet? An idea as silly as user accounts on a phone"
Generally you'll log into your tablet using your hotmail/passport/Microsoft account. This will be the enabler to allow seamless syncing of app data between your desktop, your tablet and your phone.
"User accounts on a tablet? An idea as silly as user accounts on a phone."
Well maybe if like the OP you want to buy a separate iPad for every member of your family and get your free photo of Steve Jobs. But for the less extravagant amonst us, yes. User accounts on a tablet are a great thing.
The 'ageing iPad's' work very well thank you very much, a testament to their great design, I must admit to being a bit poor and not being able to justify buying iPad 3's for my 9 year and 13 olds.
A family of five with three iPad is hardly an iPad 'stuffed' household, though there are 3 laptops and 4 desktops, so household stuffed full of Windows 7 PC's would be quite accurate.
Anyway the point was, are people with ageing decrepit iPad's 1's driven enough by 'must have the latest gadgets now' consumerism and/or the desire for better speed and performance to rush out and buy Microsoft Surfaces?
As for release schedules, the Xbox only made inroads because people ageing PS 2's were dying. I doubt the same will work here, unless people really are sick of their original iPad's and are desperate for a Microsoft device, that won't run any of their old purchases either.
Couldn't agree more. I've been using Metro for a few weeks now. It's a catastrophe for multitasking productivity. You can't have more than one window open at once, so if you're copying fields from one form to another, you're knackered.
Microsoft has truly been taken over by sales types whose entire job is to turn up, do a presentation with a pre-prepared set of slides and then chat up the management over drinks or take them out and get them laid. Metro is better than win 7 for tablets, but that's it. For real work, multiple windows, (visible when you're selecting others,) is three times as fast.
What has happened to MS. It's a tragedy.
"Couldn't agree more. I've been using Metro for a few weeks now. It's a catastrophe for multitasking productivity."
Erm, you do realise this is a tablet? That's the whole bloody reason they designed it.
Admittedly the problems you point out with Metro may be true. On a desktop. On a phone, it works rather well (although it's not much more customisable than iOS). I'd assume it will be good on a tablet too. I've never used it on a PC, but I'd be amazed if it's not wasteful of space. Although perfect for users like my Mum, who only do one thing at a time anyway - and to be honest struggle to manage that...
"Couldn't agree more. I've been using Metro for a few weeks now. It's a catastrophe for multitasking productivity. You can't have more than one window open at once, so if you're copying fields from one form to another, you're knackered"
Er.. yes you can, they dock in a 70/30 split on the screen. And the Share option in the Charms bar is a considerable leap forward for app data-sharing.
... but somewhere between them? Tablets are hot but Microsoft's core computing competency is 'things with keyboards' so what they've done is probably the smartest move they could have made, albeit that moving a lot earlier would have been a lot smarter.
As noted by almost everybody else, success will probably depend on pricing, screen quality and battery life, none of which we yet seem to know anything about.
But, unlike a transformer or an iPad, it runs a full blown OS, you'll probably be able to pull Windows off and install Linux on the Intel one, should you so desire.
Personally this is what's been keeping me from getting a tablet, I want a full OS, not a mobile OS which has been inflated to an under-spec laptop. I've been thinking about the Samsung Series Seven Slate, but this may be worth waiting for...
The article is wrong in quoting the specs: for example the RT version doesn't have Display Port, pen input or Full HD display.
It's best to link to Microsoft's (very brief) specifications: http://www.microsoft.com/global/surface/en/us/renderingassets/surfacespecsheet.pdf
> it is bound to help drive innovation and choice.
Microsoft driving 'innovation and choice' ? I don't think so.
Metro is compulsory on Windows 8, it may make consumers choose something else, or choose to keep XP/7.
MS's have effectively killed Nokia's Meego and Meltemi. They will kill off Symbian ans S40 as soon as possible.
It is likely that HP dumped WebOS because MS threatened to remove discounts on all products for being 'disloyal'. Same with Netbooks.
"Prototype RT tablets were shipped to some key developers but for most of the dev community nothing"
At Build conference last year, all attendees were given tablets. However, I'm pretty sure these were all x86 tablets, not ARM. AFAIK, no ARM tablets have er, surfaced as yet.
For the dev community, there's around half a dozen different x86 tablets out there in the stores today (and indeed, 9 months ago), that you can buy and install Windows 8 Release Preview on and start writing WinRT applications today.
I'll bet this is an even bigger success than the Kin!
Seriously, sometime in the middle of next year, I'll probably pick one up at some brick'n'mortar's bargain bin, once the hack is available to load Android or some other distro on it, so I can put it to use after I'm tired of playing with RT.
Microsoft is returning to its roots with 'Vapor'. It used VaporWare to stop people buying competitive products to give itself time to write something that would do the same job.
Now it is using VaporMg-Ware in an effort to stop people buying iPad and Android tablets until it can get its own out the door.
Just remember that when they do eventually arrive they will be the 0.9 version.
Meanwhile OEMs will stop making any Windows 8 tablets and HP will go back to WebOS, but will include Android compatibility.
Still, at least they've thought outside the box. This is not so much a tablet, then, as a ultra book with detachable keyboard? It's a good idea, but you're not going to be able to type on that keyboard on the train unless you're in the posh carriages with the tables.
So what happens to this when world+dog rejects Windows8 because of it's conjunctive twin Metro, and MS is forced to perform surgery and rush out Windows9 with a useable interface?
I doubt Windows 9 will save Windows 8 like Windows 7 had saved Windows Vista.
Too many changes, and tech advancement these days is speeding up faster than 5 years ago.
People are waking up to the fact that it is possible to have fun and be productive without Microsoft, and there is no pertinent need to upgrade to the latest and greatest Windows/Office.
The Microsoft ecosystem will be increasingly marginalized (phone, desktop, web services, games) and we will witness the decline of the Redmond software giant within this decade.
"""Surface for Windows RT includes Office Home & Student 2013 RT Preview"""
What does the 'Preview' signify ? That it will expire and users will need to buy a real version? Or is it just that it won't work very well.
It also may be that 'Office RT' will be reduced facilities compared to x86 Office.
Not being a big fan of the closed Apple approach (great kit, but give me a choice dammit), I bought a Galaxy tab.
And will I let anyone else in the house use it? With suspicious eyes as my email accounts, dropbox, personal stuff is all there, available. I did try an app lock, but then that's annoying for me too.
Add to that the frustration of not being able to use 2 or more apps side by side and I rarely use it now.
So this for me looks great. Very stylish and will run my existing Windows apps if I go for the Intel version.
I can see it replacing my Galaxy tab AND laptop quite easily at the right price.
Doesn't look too bad but if it's going to be priced akin to the iPad then MS have already lost.
Because, as we all know, people don't want a tablet they want an iPad. Unless it's bargain prices, then they want a tablet.
MS really need to follow the XBox model on this and use it as a loss-leader and making up on apps and licensing.
Problem is: Microsoft is already bleeding lots of money. Losses in web services, pumping money into that 'strategic partnership' with Nokia.
Also, there is no guarantee that Windows+Office, its perennial cash cows, are going to be as profitable in future. Windows 8 may yet be a spectacular flop.
so its a device running windows, is mobile, has a kickstand so it can be used with a keyboard like a desktop. brilliant why has no one ever done this before. oh wait they have.
ITS A FSCKING LAPOP WITH A TOUCH SCREEN
sorry don't know what came over me, tablets are the future yay laptops are for sad luddites!
It's also a tablet with a keyboard and a stylus.
It's a mobile device with a professional operating system.
It's a tablet with a beefy processor.
It's got serious possibilities - I've been hankering after a series seven slate, but I may just wait a while and see what turns up from MS. If I can replace desktop, laptop and tablet with one device, I certainly will.
> If I can replace desktop, laptop and tablet with one device
Sorry, but you have failed the Microsoft marketing test.
Metro on desktops, surface, WP8 and cloudy Azure is about buying _all_three_ devices and having them connected.
How else will Microsoft have increased revenue over the next few years. "One device" is the way to ruination (of Microsoft).
They've done a really good job here very impressive. Looks way better than an iPad and the keyboard / cover is a great idea, but it runs Windows 8 / RT and has no confirmed price or date to ship.
However I think Microsoft are shooting themselves in the foot releasing a X86 and a ARM tablet that are almost identical in appearance. This is going to cause confusion in the consumer market as people will buy the cheaper (and thinner) ARM device only to find their software won't run on it. I can't see the appeal for businesses either as this is a consumer device and you'll probably be able to fry an egg on the X86 model. I don't know how they are going to manage to keep that one cool enough to run for a long period of time without any issues.
It's gonna piss a lot of OEM's off now and if Google had any brains about them whatsoever at this Google I/O they'd announce a full X86 version of Android with support for keyboard and mice (I know theirs already unofficial ports) Android could make a real land grab for the Desktop / Laptop market if they pull their finger out, because I can't see an incentive for HP to make Windows 8 devices when Microsoft are eating away at their already razor thin margins
Some of you lot are really going to have egg on your faces, but not that you are bothered about that. OK, so MS has lost it's way a little, and Ballmer is a bit of a clueless dinosaur, but despite that MS have produced something that ticks so many boxes which have so far prevented many people from jumping into ipads and tablets in general. Yeh, it's trendy to be a smart ar$e and be an iSheep, we know, but I've always believed that needs-based technology rather than iWant toys is better for the individual, and better for society and the environment from the harm of iWaste.
You hate Apple and love Microsoft. How are you any more impartial than an Apple fanboy?
Microsoft have had tablets for years, they've always failed due to bad software (bad usability for touchscreens). This time they've created a version of windows that about 50-60% of people hate. That's hardly a good indication of the success of this.
Think about it for a second. When iPod hit what happened? Microsoft didn't respond, but instead let the OEMs deliver products so as no to compete and how did these products do?
They sucked equine testicles. Every one of them. After years of Microsoft waiting for any partner to be competitive they released Zune. Zune wasn't bad, it was just years too late. All because Microsoft didn't want to upset their partners. Fast forward to today. Their partners are making Android tablets and how many of these really compete with the iPad. There are some good ones and there are some unspeakably awful ones too.
Microsoft can't afford to leave tablets up to partners trying to build the cheapest POS out there. Makes total sense.
It's a crying shame, I was hoping for... more... Assuming they're not another Courier, killed in gestation -
I can't see too many people jonesing to buy the RT version, not seeing a huge amount of love for the Metro UI and let's face it, you can create docs & pics open-able on your MS desktop with any OS, IOS or Android - and it feels nothing like MS Windows familiarity, so the desirable tablet: the Intel version with keyboard, touch, pen (scribble 2 text), and, I assume, voice 2 text input is the one people will be interested in is gonna be priced right out of the tablet market.
Now, if Microsoft were to play the long game, then maybe (pick up a first gen at a reasonable price when 3rd gen is out on the market for a grand), but Courier, Zune, etc, makes me think they have no long term plan.
For me this is one step closer to tablet utopia! I want a device like an ipad thin touch screen etc for when I’m on the sofa surfing or on a train and just wanna check the weather or read the news. But at times I need more than silly apps I need or would like the table to be able to flip to a more functional computer of pc if you like. I’d like to the able to write and work on documents write and send emails possibly remote connect into other machines and work remotely using my tablet as a thin client for this I need a keyboard touch is fine to tapping in a URL or filling in a form but that’s where it stops. And I need a fuller os than that of the ipad and I need a keyboard, if someone can do that and keep it tablet like, it’s a game changer.
Good sign is that it’s clearly got the apple fan boys knickers in a twist too.
"You'd think with cases like the official iPad one, they'd just build a keyboard into it."
I think the collective angst of many Apple fans at seeing Apple copy from Microsoft would be both too hillarious and too horrible to watch at the same time.
Not that MS and partners weren't producing tablets long before Apple anyway. I suppose we would witness people here saying: "Yes, MS were first, but it took Apple to perfect the attachable keyboard cover! And ours come in a choice of white."
thats slightly different. the OS on ipads has a different name to the OS on macs. one is a number the other is a type of cat.
Windows is windows to the vast majoirty of users. they dont care if its arm based or intel.
having two different models, with different chipsets, using different versions of the same software is daft. and will cause problems for MS in the very near future
So Microsoft have misread the market too and missed the fact that letterbox format (as opposed to 4:3) tablets have been consigned to a tiny market niche, in spite of running the most popular phone O/S. What chance Microsoft can break out of that niche?
Thank goodness for Storage Options giving us at least one alternative to the iPad with the Scroll Extreme.
Not mentioned in this article, but elsewhere (BBC) - it's got a magnesium case.
Given the propensity for lithium batteries to spontaneously combust, does anyone foresee a slight problem? I can't see airlines being too happy letting these things onboard...
*fondly remembers arsing about with magnesium and thermite in school chemistry lessons*
Whatever happened to the last Win ARM NEXT BIG THING with stylus + keyboard + ports? Yes the Psion netBook Pro?
Win CE was useless on the consumer device; no software available; MS seemed to use the whole OS as a spoiler.
We all saw the complaints from.reviewers ' netbooks are rubbish because the (linux) OS isn't full Windows' and the public are confused.Here we are again only this time its a Windows but not real Windows with non transferable apps. That coupled with MS history with CE for ordinary consumers/users should sound serious warnings and doubts over this.
Lastly, how is it that we all rang the deathknell on 10 in netbooks because they were ' too small' and could not run a proper full OS (Vista/Win 7) yet suddenly 10 in screen tablets with detachable flimsy keyboards are capable enough for.most users? I smell an MS ' its not our idea and product so it can't possibly be viable until we make our own which will be the bees knees even if you don't agree' publicity machine.
Did they not learn from the whole Vista sticker affair?
Confusing customers with a choice of CPUs and OS editions isn't a good idea. If you explain that your current software won't run on ARM most will go for the Intel version. Until they see the price and extra weight perhaps.
The ARM version looks hugely crippled in some ways, the fact that it is Windows doesn't count for much as it's not backward compatible and the redesign of the UI means it's not familiar either.
...which doesn't inspire me, I bet the battery life will be poor. And it's heavy. You can hold an iPad like a book for hours, its *just* light enough. and it doesn't need a keyboard, though you can have one if you want. And WHY should I have to become an expert in processor technology to make a choice between the versions - I don't want to have to care about this!
SO many FAILs...
"...which doesn't inspire me, I bet the battery life will be poor. And it's heavy. You can hold an iPad like a book for hours, its *just* light enough."
Well the ARM version is about 676g to the Ipad3's 660g. So work out a little and you might be able to hold the extra 16g for "hours" as well.
"and it doesn't need a keyboard, though you can have one if you want."
Keyboards are great for lots of things. This comes with one. You can take it off or fold it out of the way if you want, though (which would probably take it *below* the weight of the iPad3, incidentally).
"And WHY should I have to become an expert in processor technology to make a choice between the versions - I don't want to have to care about this!"
Okay, now I begin to think you're *really* on the wrong site. You think choosing between the ARM version and the Intel version means becoming an expert in processor technology? You really picked the right logo for your post, I'll give you that.
"Microsoft Surface Pro: 903g"
The pro has an Intel CPU architecture with full PC functionality and is therefore more comparable to a Macbook Air.... which is 1.04 kg.
Fact is, the ARM Surface tablet weighs pretty much the same as an ARM iPad tablet and
"And it's heavy. You can hold an iPad like a book for hours, its *just* light enough"
is still an utter fail of a statement.
Seriously, is the suggestion that these MS tablets will be priced comparably to Ultrabooks? That's like 1000 quid. That cannot be right.
This has to be a similar price to an ipad. The stylus, the keyboard/cover and the compatibility/familiarity of Windows (even with the Win 8 turd polish) would offset the market leader advantage ipad has and give a good reason to buy this instead. It's similar I guess to the Asus transformer.
But at 1000 quid, they're in ultrabook territory and they've not no chance.
The iPad is by design a consumption device. The surface is by design for consumption and production. They're not getting it wrong, they're giving people who don't ant an iPad something more suitable to their needs. And yes Office is a plus. It's the de facto standard for business as much as the English language is to business, so hat alone is big selling point.
The price of the product should reflect what it can do. This looks like a device that genuinely can be productive, without the hassle of having to convert documents back and forth.
> And yes Office is a plus
Surface Pro does not come with Office. You will have to buy it at usual prices.
Surface RT (ARM) does come with "Office RT Preview". This is not the full Office that you would find on an x86 machine. The 'Preview' is also unclarified, it may be a version that expires and requires buying of the usable version later, just as 'free trial' versions do.
Watch the presentation here at about 14:20 in (http://www.theverge.com/2012/6/19/3096420/microsoft-surface-event-video-live).
Anyway, it's a promising looking device even though it is clearly a long way off. It really needs to ship with Office and if it is priced at say 20% less than the base iPad, it will appeal to many people and will be a success for Microsoft but a disaster for the Windows Tablet market.
There is however, a great deal of detail and working demonstrations missing from this early announcement.
Also why so much focus on the keyboard? That's an admission that the tablet format if flawed.
The x86 version of this tablet will run full-featured Photoshop and Adobe Creative Suite and assuming the stylus is pressure-sensitive (not mentioned in any reports I've seen but it's likely) and with the reported 600dpi resolution then this makes it an ideal portable Cintiq-type device for graphical artists, photoeditors etc.
I wonder what it would be like running OS/X?
Ever since XP we've had weird bright greens n blues making it look like a Fisher Price toy, this was extended to the hideous indecipherable interface on the Xbox 360 and now we have the harlequin colours of Windows 8 and now a matching wPad.
I think I preferred it when computers were only available in beige
"I'm usually anti-M$, but this do look good. Except for the software, that is. Any idea if it can be rooted with [insert Linux distro here]?"
The Intel one should be possible. The ARM one I wouldn't fancy your chances. Would probably take some significant hackery for that because of the way it boots.(not because you can't put Linux on ARM).
Also, it's spelled MS, thanks and your welcome. ;)
It can be done. Now, the next question: how long will it take for someone to figure out how and publish the method online? And the question after that, will the information be dispersed widely enough before Microsoft tries to clamp down on it to remain available?
Any system can be rooted. Anyone who says otherwise hasn't been paying attention for the last decade. Some take longer than others to figure out, but there's always a way to do it. With the notable exception of the PS3, high profile systems like this are usually rooted within a couple months.
Does anyone remember that M$ products often suck loudly upon launch? This probably isn't going to be an iPad killer, even if it is an "all in one". Add to that it's running Windows 8. I'm certain that it'll come out of the box and be up and running in no time.The keyboard/cover thing looks intriguing (if it actually works), but I think the only way this will sell is if they can keep the price point down. And if I had wings I could fly.
"Does anyone remember that M$ products often suck loudly upon launch?"
I do and generally speaking you're right. However, in all fairness its also a fact that MS more than once managed to regroup and do a major rehaul, thus eliminating most or all the problems which surfaced after launch.
Still, IMO you make a good point. Early adapters should definitely keep this in mind.
"Surface" the table top has been rebranded as "PixelSense" and apparently bears little to no resemblance to what is now called Surface. Microsoft owned the name and decided to reuse it.
Too bad, the old Surface was a good technology that didn't get enough play. When I first heard the announcement, I was momentarily excited, until I read the article and realized it was just Windows 8 on a netbook.
Not sure if anyones mentioned this, but the goodereader blog says:
RT - 31.5 hrs
Pto - 42 hrs.
A mis-print? Mis-estimation by an order of magnitude?
If not then I'm getting one when it (never) comes out, just like that revolutionary touchscreen table thingo they teased us with a few years ago.
If it is that long it'll kill the ipad.
Yeah that's definitely a mis-print.
Where it says 'Pto - 42 hrs' it should read 'Pto - 42 minutes'
Looking forward to the first lawsuit for one of these when Little Tommy on his X86 Surface is watching Pixar films all day on netflix and due to Adobe Flash that i5 gives him third degree burns
I am a MS Windows fan - the worst piece of software that I have to use regularly is iTunes and whilst my iPhone 4 is great it is no use for doing anything business related.
I'd see this in the same way. At the moment airport lounges are full of people travelling on business with a laptop and an iPad. They'll get out the laptop to do their work on and then use the iPad to watch a movie once they have finished working.
A decent MS tablet would cover both of these things - I can watch movies and play great games on my Windows device, I couldn't update a spreadsheet, document, plan, code etc. on an iPad.
Assuming windows 8 on a tablet will be able to run *any* application written for windows - including desktop apps - and that metro can handle apps not designed for touch to a large extent, with a pen device and keyboard for those it can't, it really does make sense.
There are tens of thousands of windows applications - if they can run on this tablet device, microsoft could have a potential winner on it's hands.
Ok, so it's got a soft keyboard - therefore it's effectively a laptop with a detachable touchscreen. No big whoop there then.
But again, if it can run *any* desktop windows application, that's a whole different ballgame.
However, the kicker is, I can't help feeling, if all this is the case, a laptop still makes a lot more sense for business usage, which is clearly the target market for this device.
If I think of the meetings I have, as the geek guy in a boardroom, a tablet just wouldn't cut it, even one with a keyboard. I need to plug my laptop into a large screen so everyone can see what I'm doing.
This type of meeting happens day in day out across the globe - a large viewing screen attached to a computer is an absolute necessity in many cases.
Right, step away from the meeting, we've now got business computer usage whilst out and about - on the train, the airplane, the coffee shop, at the hotel.
Again, a laptop is more flexible.
> therefore it's effectively a laptop with a detachable touchscreen
You won't be using one on your lap with the keyboard. A laptop holds its screen rigidly and the weight is in the base. A 'Surface' has a loose joint to the keyboard and the weight is in the screen unit which then requires a prop. It could only be used on a table or similar.
It is also a 10" laptop, well netbook actually, that will cost (the x86 one) like a 15" or 17" Ultrabook. You could buy a laptop _and_ an iPad for the price of one of these.
Pity they didn't work very hard on the actual product.
Stylus input? How quaint. I remember something similar for my Sinclair Spectrum - three decades ago - I think it was called a Light Pen.
And what is that silly blue thing in front - is it a keyboard or a mouse mat? Isn't the whole point of a tablet to dispense with additional input devices, and just use a touchscreen?
Then there's that God-awful Tiles® GUI, which looks like a game of Magic Squares. And two different versions, one that runs real Windows applications (x86) and one that doesn't?
What a mess.
"Stylus input? How quaint. I remember something similar for my Sinclair Spectrum - three decades ago - I think it was called a Light Pen."
A lot of us would love to be able to hand-write notes using the handwriting recognition. I'm a moderately fast typist but if you're holding the device in one hand clipboard style, then one handed typing is pretty awkward. Also, a stylus is great for quick illustrations and annotating PDFs, etc. Plus the Spectrum probably didn't have a Full HD screen or the ability to carry around the screen (a cathode ray tube television) under your arm.
"And what is that silly blue thing in front - is it a keyboard or a mouse mat? Isn't the whole point of a tablet to dispense with additional input devices, and just use a touchscreen?"
The "whole point" is to do whatever the purchaser decides is the point. It's 3mm thick (5mm for the clicky version) and built into a cover and detachable too. So why not add the ability to type on a keyboard. A keyboard is really useful for loads of things. And it leaves the screen free to see what you're actually typing, too.
"Then there's that God-awful Tiles® GUI, which looks like a game of Magic Squares."
It's a touch-friendly Start menu. Kind of handy on a tablet.
"And two different versions, one that runs real Windows applications (x86) and one that doesn't?"
Why do you hate choice? Has Apple marketing left that much of an imprint on you? ;)
"No, just those I don't like, including pretty much everything by Microsoft and Apple. Now, have you finished apologising for Microsoft, or would you like to roll the dice again?"
Well you complained that there were two models instead of just one. I think it's legitimate to ask why additional choice is bad. It's not like I find the choice of two models confusing.
As to my "apologising for Microsoft", what exactly is it that the apology is for? I have been waiting for something like this and I'm happy to see it. You're the one that launched a big attack on it for having a keyboard and so forth. I just pointed out reasons why many of us like keyboards, styluses, etc.
Not going to mention all that's been said so far to the benefits of the device, but..
I'm pretty sure the PRO version will also support Hyper-V 3.0 meaning any number of other OS's (not Apple) can be run like Ubuntu, Redhat etc, as well as Windows XP,7 and Server versions.
If the PRO is the full Windows 8 version that is promised, this also means you will be able to do live over the air wireless migrations of the vm's from your home lab to your Microsoft Surface.
I mean that's gotta be cool huh?
> I'm pretty sure the PRO version will also support
I'm pretty sure that Microsoft have worked hard to stop other OSes running on these devices. Their strategy is that you will require several devices and link them through their cloudy Azure.
The Pro will not be running a top line Intel chip, it will be running a Medway or similar and this may not support hypervisors, or indeed may not even have some features deliberately to stop other OSes running. For example it could have a completely undocumented GPU.
Wow, hadn't we expected Microsoft to give this to Nokia as part of their partnership? Amazed that Nokia didn't negotiate this as part of the Microsoft platform switch. Microsoft is obviously happy for Nokia to go bust and then to buy the elements it wants. That burning platform looks a bit hotter today.
May I point out... if it has an integrated keyboard, it is not a tablet. It is a netbook that happens to have a touchscreen.
...and this was expected, and was a good marketing move by Microsoft. Just as netbooks had to grow in resources, battery consumption and price to the point where they could run Windows, (and incidentally cease being netbooks) so must tablets grow a keyboard and (inevitably) some form of left and right mouse button, because Microsoft really doesn't know how to do it any differently. From their point of view, the way to integrate the code base between tablets and desktops is to make tablets more like desktops, not to create an OS that works well on a touch-only interface, because that would be too much work and would necessitate changing too much legacy code.
It's marketing genius, really. If this form factor takes off like they expect, it'll completely destroy the tablet market as we understand today -- all "tablets" will actually be laptops with chiclet keyboards and a touch screen that isn't really used much.
Of course, none of this will happen, because Microsoft has again failed to understand the marketplace.
Just because it doesn't bear the mark of the fruity corp doesn't mean this is going to flop.
Nobody seems to take into account the level of integration a device like this could have in a corporate environment. I would say that having a portable device like this which integrates fully into AD and allows granular control over security etc. will actually be a very welcome addition to the market.
For sales people who only use email and web based CRM apps, the iPad is just about useable as a work tool (if you can be bothered with the faff of having to use a third party office suite). However, anything more than that and it becomes a tiresome job.
At my office we had a bunch of QA users who insisted that they could work more efficiently with iPads, however 3 months down the line they finally got fed up with the number of hoops they had to jump through to be able to pull files from Sharepoint and edit them. The novelty of shiny wore off and they had the devices replaced with laptops.
Don't get me wrong, i own an iPad 2 and have a company issued 'new' iPad (which i rarely use other than the odd email) and they're great for browsing the web, playing a few games etc. But I don't think they can be classed as a corporate device. They are simply media consumption devices.
The Windows Surface is much more a business tool.
The bottom line is, when a large company is considering a fleet of tablets, given the choice of shiny but cumbersome integration... against securability, functionailty, native integration to existing corporate systems, and the clincher really, the most popular office suite, which do you think is going to be more desirable?