Microsoft Surface: The new face of PC computing
Geeklings, look at your tablet. Now back to your desktop. Now back to your tablet and BACK to your desktop. Your tablet is NOT your desktop. But soon it just might be.
Introducing the Microsoft Surface line of products. I’m going to give you the polished version first, then you can see the thoughts that went through my head as I watched ubergizmo’s and cnet.com’s live blogs. (All pictures are credit: ubergizmo.com. Because we don’t live in CA. *cries*)
Why is this being also posted to mobilitydigest.com? Because basically, this is a 10-inch tablet. We may have to start re-thinking our PCs…
So in a nutshell, what we have here is a line of PC (yes, I say PC) products: Windows Surface running Windows RT on ARM processors, and Windows Surface Pro running Windows 8 on an Intel Core i5 Ivy Bridge processor(!). The former is about 1.5 pounds in weight and 9.6mm (3 of which is the cover – more on that oh-so-drool-worthy thing in a bit) thick. The latter is just under 2 pounds and 13.8mm (including the 3mm for the cover) thick.
It’s a liquid-processed magnesium case (called VaporMG, and pronounced “vapor mag”) with a detachable cover (coming in very Metro colors I might add). The cover attaches with very strong magnets, and seems to be very sturdy. It has to be – it’s also YOUR KEYBOARD!!! Anyone wanted the iPad to do this? Microsoft has worked it out. It is a tactile keyboard, too, which is Very Good for those of us who are touch typists. When you pull the cover back and around it, the device realizes that you are done with the keyboard (and presumably shuts it down). There is also a separate, larger keyboard that will give you the same reaction time as a laptop keyboard (again, I will assume they are referring to the separate, full-sized keyboards for laptop like my husband uses to dock to his work-assigned laptop). The Surface can also be docked with any monitor for a larger display.
On the Pro version, attached by magnets is a pen stylus, which also recharges when docked. The Corning Gorilla Glass 2.0 screen has TWO layers: a capacitive touchscreen we would expect from a tablet AND an e-ink for using the styles. So, want to make notes right on your .pdf file? Go For It! This could be a college textbook publisher’s DREAM, right there.
In the ARM version, there is a USB 2.0 built into it (another shortcoming of the iThing…), although at this point in time, I question the decision to go with 2.0 over 3.0. That was probably done strictly for width. The Pro has a 3.0.
Oh yeah, and have I mentioned the built-in kickstand? Yeah, Microsoft has you covered. It evidently makes a satisfying “click” to help you know it’s in place.
So here are the specs:
OS: Windows RT
Weight: 676 grams
Thickness: 9.3mm (remember, add 3mm for the cover)
Display: 10.6” ClearType HD Display (Corning Gorilla Glass 2.0)
Battery: 31.5 W-h
Ports: microSD, USB 2.0, Micro HD Video, 2×2 MiMo antennae
Other: Office Home & Student 2013 RT, Touch Cover, Type Cover, VaporMG Case & stand
Storage: 32G, 64G
Windows Surface Pro
OS: Windows 8 Pro
Weight: 903 grams
Thickness: 13.5mm (remember, add 3mm for the cover)
Display: 10.6” ClearType Full HD Display (Corning Gorilla Glass 2.0)
Battery: 42 W-h
Ports: microSDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort Video, 2×2 MiMo antennae
Other: Touch Cover, Type Cover, Pen with Palm Block, VaporMG Case & stand
Storage: 64G, 128G
This is one SERIOUSLY SEXY BEAST. And I haven’t said that about ANY device. The lone facepalm moment for me was when CNet’s female reporter (not Mary Jo Foley) said that at 10.6” it “isn’t purse-friendly.” Seriously, I wanted to slap her for making such a stereotypical marketing-things-of-women remark. Until I remembered that I bought my last handbag because it had a center zippered section that perfectly fits my Kindle Fire. Okay, fine. But I’M buying a BLACK cover…
As this was happening, the metrosauce.com staff was on email, and the consensus pretty much was WHEN THE HECK TO WE PRE-ORDER THIS LOVELY BIT OF TECH?! The RT should release with Windows 8, and the Pro will come out 90 days later. They will be available through the Microsoft Store at the least, and hopefully some brick –and-mortar outlets for those of us unfortunate not to have any MS Stores in our areas.
Oh yeah, pricing. We’re not completely sure, but the RT will be “priced along with other ARM tablets,” and the Pro will be competitive “with Ultrabooks.” In my personal opinion, that means the RT needs to be No More Than $500 and the Pro, $900. Anything above that and it’s certainly above my budget. I only bought a laptop 2 months ago, and that was just at $700.
So this was a hardware show, with a little bit of demo. On Wednesday, we have a WP event. We might see some integration with the SmartGlass. We hope?
So below are my thoughts as I watched/listened to ubergizmo.com and cnet.com’s live blogs. Enjoy!
Windows RT (not to be confused with Windows RTM – retail to manufacturers): for ARM tablets
Is Barnes & Noble going to be their brick & mortar? B&N not supposed to have a presence at this event.
XBox Surface: http://www.neowin.net/news/leak-xbox-surface-gets-detailed
MJF says for this event to be successful, MS needs to show a tablet that will make people say, “I’m going to wait until this is out and buy THAT tablet.”
Ballmer speaks. Talking about Cloud computing, “an eco-system on unrivaled success.”
So far talking about Windows 8. “Windows is the heart and soul of MS.” “People want to live their computing life w/out compromising what their PCs can do today. That’s what Win8 is about: getting the best of both worlds” (desktop and mobile computing.
Talking about ARM devices, and today MS is going to add another piece of the Windows 8 story
“When MS was created, it was clear that the hardware would need to be pushed. Software and hardware push and pull each other”
Hardware flashback – this is almost certainly a hardware event.
“Kinect represents a great example of how hardware, software & user interface work together.”
“We believe in having hardware & software companies work together. Those partnerships are essential to Windows.” Cites Intel, Qualcomm, NVIDIA, TI, ASUS, Toshiba
I believe this will NOT, in that case, be a MS-built device.
“With Win8, MS does not want any seam uncovered. Win8 will have its own companion hardware innovation”
“It’s a whole new family of computer devices from MS”
Here comes the heart of the matter…
Xbox Surface it is!
The new MS Surface tablet.
“Surface fulfills the dream of being productive & creative at any time. Now more information…”
“We see a tablet that represents a unique vision that represents entertainment & opportunity. A tablet that’s a great PC, and a PC that’s a great tablet.”
9.3(6 after the 3mm front cover)mm just thin enough for a USB2.0 – why not a 3.0. LAME
Magnesium case, liquid metal (what?)
10.6 “ display
Built in stand (wow, that’s a good idea…)
Corning gorilla glass 2.0
There is a cover – magnetic connector to secure to the device
The cover is a keyboard!!! Multitouch
Aero is gone
Built in webcam is angled at table height to get your face, not your forehead. LOL
Connect external devices via USB
Pro version: under 2 pounds, 14mm – a full PC! (shown by Steven Stinovski (sp))
This is where tablet and PC merge – totally leapfrogged the laptop.
1080p resolution “This has been optimized for best viewing and battery savings”
Dual WiFi antenna, also the kickstand (<1mm thin)
Corei5 Ivy Bridge processor
How do you cool this? “Perimeter venting” – no fan required
Stylus w/digital ink – you can write right on it
Magnetic dock on the side for the pen. It also recharges the pen
Star Trek’s PADD lives!!!!
Win8 Pro Surface, you can dock to a monitor to “turn it into a real PC”
1G file copy in 5 seconds
There is an add-on keyboard, making it fast as a laptop keyboard
Panos Panay is up team leader of the surface products
CNet’s female is wondering if this is a “purse friendly” device. True, the Kindle Fire fits PERFECTLY This is too big for that.
Ahhhh I had to leave where I was and shoot home!
The tablet sees the keyboard right away when you attach the keyboard
When you move the cover to the back, it shuts down the keyboard
There is a tactile sensation (great for those of us who are touch-typists!)
Okay: Surface Windows RT will come in 32G and 64G flavors.
Surface Pro to be priced like Ultrabooks.
Windows RT will be available when Win8 launches; Pro 3 months later. (So October & January?)
You know, MS is putting A LOT of eggs in the Windows 8 basket…
OMG so sexy…
Actually, Steven Sinofsky said that the RT tab would ship when Win 8 goes RTM. Which, if rumors and “insider info” are any indication, that should be some time in the next month. So, we may see the Surface RT tab by end of July/August area.
Perfect timing for back-to-school folks.
The touch keyboard cover is pretty damn cool. My major issue with both of these devices is the windows 8 os. I still haven’t seen anything compelling enough to push these things into the mass market. Will people buy them? Yes. Will more people buy these than the iPad for similar pricing or less? I am not so convinced about that yet.
Other issue I have? Everything Microsoft makes has a fatal flaw. The keyboards would fade or break easily. Their Xbox nuked itself repeatedly. Mice would lose their tails and more. Over the years I’ve had a lot of ms hardware products that I liked, but not one of them lasted very long.
Oh, I certainly don’t expect them to outsell the iPad at all, maybe not yet, maybe not ever; however, it IS a great competing product. (And if I hear one iKoolaid drinker say, “But where’s the camera?” I will answer with a left hook…)
If the price difference isn’t Hugely Big, I would take a truly functioning PC that size over an iPad any day. But then, I’d take nearly anything over fruit, so I don’t know how much weight my opinion has on that.
You know, if they sell the cover/keyboards separately, and inexpensively, I’d be okay with that. That would certainly be something to watch for as time goes on.
I’d LOVE to have had one of these for classes, though! type or write on it, whichever is more appropriate for the moment. Read assignments and make notes on them. It’s PERFECT for back-to-school, I completely agree! But this would have to be available in early August at the latest. Maybe it’s ready.
To be honest, this is the sort of tablet for which I’ve been waiting (although lousy battery performance or a price over $900 for the PRO would be deal breakers for me). Mobile apps are fine…I guess. They’re nifty and useful within their niche, and I love using my smartphone for simple tasks. Real productivity (for me) requires a lot more, however. I need access to legacy apps, full-featured programs, and the ability to attach a variety of auxiliary devices as needed. The Surface PRO looks like it will do that for me in a straightforward, easy, and familiar manner.
If everything checks out, I’ll be getting one.
I hear you. at 64 and 128G, I have to wonder how much work “in the cloud” we’ll have to do…
Ahh, I just read on CNN that it DOES have front and rear-facing cameras. I didn’t see that on the spec sheet, and I’d still like to see that verified. But for God’s sake, WHY the rear? Front, okay, I can understand for video conferencing, etc. But I still say taking pictures on your tablet is dorky.