Author Topic: Microsoft Introduces - "Surface"  (Read 2310 times)

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Offline Smithk4

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Re: Microsoft Introduces - "Surface"
« Reply #15 on: October 18, 2012, 02:50:13 AM »
Totally agree:

Don’t Preorder Microsoft Surface



Microsoft's Surface RT tablet is gorgeous. It's innovative. It's without exaggeration the most exciting new gadget to come along in years. And if you buy one today, you're a fool.
If you've got $500 to spare (really $600, since you'll want that fancy keyboard cover), you can preorder a Surface RT tablet today and have it land on your doorstep on October 26th. Don't. Don't even consider it. In fact, there are three very specific conditions that have to align to even consider preordering any gadget. Let's review:

The product comes from a company with an infallible track record.
There's a reasonable expectation that the product might sell out quickly.
Your life will be significantly worse if you go more than a week without the product.

Here's how Surface fills out those boxes: Nope, not a chance (especially if the WSJ is right), and hahahaha no seriously no just ugh of course not. The only two remotely possible qualifiers are iPhones and Kindles, and even those are extremely debatable. Surface? Not even close.

In fact, Surface deserves your blind trust even less than most other gadgets, if that's even possible. We're 10 days from broad release, and Microsoft hasn't so much as let anyone touch its tablet beyond a couple of cursory swipes and taps. Those hands on posts from this summer? Those were Microsoft PR's hands. This most recent round of coverage? Mostly ogling.

Not even Microsoft's first Surface ad shows people actually using the damn thing. I like dancing and clicking as much as the next guy, but I'm not blowing that much of my paycheck on it.

That's not to say you should never buy one. Surface looks and probably is terrific. But 10 short days from now you'll have a much better idea of how it actually lives up to the hype. Then (or soon after) there will be reviews, including ours. There will be pop-up stores littered with Surface demo models. There will answers to the questions of is this good and, more importantly, is this worth it.

It's fine to put your faith in Surface. But until there's a hint of validation, there's no need to put your money in it, too.

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Offline donnieoneshot

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Re: Microsoft Introduces - "Surface"
« Reply #16 on: October 18, 2012, 03:18:29 AM »
here here for some common sense!!!  The price is a bit disappointing for me, was really hoping (ridiculously i know) they'd start a bit lower and really compete.
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Offline nCogNeato

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Re: Microsoft Introduces - "Surface"
« Reply #17 on: October 18, 2012, 03:40:55 PM »
If the only incentive to preorder a product is to simply own it before everyone else, I'll always pass.

I will however preorder a product if it saves me money, which is a rare & beautiful occasion.

Offline Smithk4

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Re: Microsoft Introduces - "Surface"
« Reply #18 on: October 19, 2012, 11:02:53 AM »
The major differences between Windows 8 and Windows RT



What Windows RT Can’t Do
You probably know that Windows 8 comes in two different versions—Basic x86 Windows (this is what you use now) and Windows RT. They have similar names. They look the same. But there are serious differences between the two—ones you should know about before you plunk down your cold hard cash on a Microsoft tablet.
Surface—and other Windows tablets that follow it—will come in both Windows RT and full Windows varietals. Which is great! More choice is always better. The problem you're going to run into, though, is that the gap between RT and x86 is as wide as that between iOS and OS X—except the two Windows offerings look exactly the same at first blush.

There are a ton of benefits to using RT, like better battery life, lighter weight devices, cheaper price points. But there are limitations, too. Here are a few of the big ones.

Won't Run a Lot of Your Programs
The most basic way that Windows RT hamstrings you is also the most comprehensive: You cannot run many of the same programs that you do on your regular desktop PC. And the apps you can use have to be updated to run in Metro/Modern/whatever on RT.

For a lot of basic tasks, that's not an issue. Especially not for students, since RT comes with a free, full version of Office 2013. But the absence of legacy software will be a problem for anyone else who's bought into the Windows ecosystem over the decades and expects their programs to work across their devices. They won't. The full x86 Windows tablets—like the Surface launching three months from now—can run basically any Windows program you've bought in the last several years.

Bottom line: If you're someone who needs specific programs for work—even something basic like Photoshop—you're going to have to hold off on an RT machine.

Limited App Selection
This one should be just a temporary snag, but the app selection for Windows RT isn't as robust as you're used to. In addition to not running legacy x86 apps, the OS can also only install apps through the Windows Store. So, all of those certification issues that you've heard from the gaming side of things? While they won't matter all that much on regular Windows 8 (which can grab programs from anywhere), they could severely limit the apps that you'll see on the RT platform for a while.

Right now, there are 5,562 total apps in the Windows Store worldwide—3,488 in the US—and 94 percent of them are Windows RT. compatible. That's a decent number, and includes support from heavy hitters like Netflix, Evernote, and Amazon. The top-notch first party services from Microsoft help too. But Android 3.0 Honeycomb got rightly skewered for having such a lackluster offering of available tablet apps, and RT's numbers are in the same ballpark. Among the missing notables: Twitter, Facebook, and Spotify. Again, x86 Windows tablets won't have this problem; they can run anything that works on your desktop today.

Thankfully, RT does come with that full Office 13 suite. Office RT will include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, and syncs your documents over SkyDrive.

Less Open
A lot's been made about the Windows Store predominance moving Microsoft away from Windows being an open platform. Full Windows 8 is going to remain more or less the same—you can still download an app from anywhere and install it, without going through any official Microsoft channels. But buying and installing stuff on RT devices is pretty much like doing so on an iOS device: It only works through Microsoft's Windows Store. There's nothing inherently wrong with that, but it's different. And it's going to rub a few people the wrong way.

There's a chance you'll be able to sideload apps through Windows RT architecture—you can on Windows Phone 8—but it will likely be more trouble than it's worth.

Windows Media Player/Center
If you use Windows Media Center as your home DVR, you're also going to need an x86 machine to control it, since RT doesn't work with WMC. It also doesn't come with Windows Media Player, but that's not a big deal since the onboard media players will handle most of that load.

Business
Business users—of which Microsoft has more than a few—should be particularly wary of RT. Most importantly: You cannot use Windows RT with a Windows Active Directory domain. So if you need AD to be active for work, you've got to go x86.

You also won't get Outlook with your RT Office 2013, so you'll have to use Mail and Calendar to sync up with Exchange. That's not a huge compromise, but with how rigid some offices are about keeping everything standard, it could be a deal breaker. And the apps you do get with Office 2013 will have to be activated for use in a business setting.

Should You Wait?
For most casual consumers, the folks who want to use their Windows tablet like they would an iPad, Surface should be plenty fine—especially once Microsoft gets that app store populated. But Microsoft hasn't done a particularly good job explaining the difference between RT and x86, even to its own employees. And the differences that might not matter to one person might be a deal-breaker for others.

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Offline nCogNeato

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Re: Microsoft Introduces - "Surface"
« Reply #19 on: October 19, 2012, 11:52:35 AM »
The major differences between Windows 8 and Windows RT

...the gap between RT and x86 is as wide as that between iOS and OS X...

...For most casual consumers, the folks who want to use their Windows tablet like they would an iPad, Surface should be plenty fine

That a great simple explanation, and what I was suspecting.  If I'm going to invest in a new computing device, I want it to replace my current computing device.  I have no use for an iPad (or similar).  My smartphone fulfills those needs.

If I do opt for a Windows Tablet instead of another laptop, I will definitely not be buying the RT version.

Offline Smithk4

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Re: Microsoft Introduces - "Surface"
« Reply #20 on: October 20, 2012, 01:46:26 PM »
The Making of Microsoft Surface

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVSyp9OUM1s" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVSyp9OUM1s</a>

All about Surface

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yswUFCD1x0A" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yswUFCD1x0A</a>

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Offline Smithk4

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Re: Microsoft Introduces - "Surface"
« Reply #21 on: October 25, 2012, 04:00:11 AM »
Microsoft Surface RT Review: This Is Technological Heartbreak
Surface was the single biggest genuine tech surprise of the year so far. Microsoft tantalized us with a tablet that made the iPad look stale. Its snap-on keyboard made all laptops look immediately old fashioned. And it promised The Future of Computers.

We hadn't looked forward to something this much in a long, long time. Now it's here. And it's been just as long a time since a gadget has been so disappointing. Surface is good, but Surface RT sure isn't the future. Not yet.

Why it matters
The laptop is about as far advanced as one can imagine. The MacBook Air and a horde of ultrabook clones are hitting a brick wall in terms of form and physics. The tablet, likewise, isn't exactly pushing civilization forward; it's still fundamentally a luxury device, a delightful toy for reading email on the couch or watching Netflix on an airplane. Nobody needs a tablet. It's a lovely, superfluous thing. But everyone needs a computer, unless you're planning on living by a lake and trading furs for a living.



Microsoft's pearly promise for Surface was to pioneer a strange new kind of gadget: all the grace and leisure of a tablet, combined with the ability to actually make stuff that a computer brings. Convenience with input. Type, edit, change. Work. Power! Microsoft claims outright that Surface will bring together the best of everything that exists—the elusive union of laptop and tablet. Or at the very least, with Surface RT, a tablet that you could actually use as your primary computer.

The men who built the Surface from a pile of cardboard prototypes into the thing I've been using for the past week stood in front of me at their headquarters and said exactly that. Microsoft is trumpeting a historical change here. And it has a recent track record of building exceptional things. Sure, there's a Surface Pro version coming up that'll have full, powerful laptop guts, and run the same software any PC can—Microsoft's best shot at being your only computer, forever. But even this RT variant is supposed to give us some overdue synthesis. Plop it down on your desk and get things done.



Whether Microsoft can keep this promise matters more than anything else in technology this year. Surface could be the blueprint for the machine you'll be typing on well into the next decade. No pressure.

Using it
Surface is Microsoft's attempt to out-Apple Apple. The thing is designed to hell and back, and most of the time it shows. This means a lot of attention to detail—attention that sounds silly until you actually hear it—like the kickstand with an extra, custom-designed hinge to guarantee a satisfying chkkk every time it's snapped shut. Is that superficial? Only if you consider something you're going to potentially hear and touch multiple times every single day superficial. Otherwise, it's just damn thoughtful.

And most of the time, Surface is a thoughtful computer. It's a beautiful computer, in your hand or on a tabletop, its shifting angles clean and secure like a Danish prison. It's a little too heavy—slightly heftier than the iPad 3—but otherwise comfortable to hold, with an angled bezel that melts into your hand. There's a convenient USB port that, unlike other tablets, doesn't look like a gaping open sore on the delicately chamfered side. The screen doesn't hold up against the crispness of the iPad's retina resolution, but still manages a lovely colorful pop to suit the colorful, poppy Windows 8. All over the Surface, these little details reflect the meeting of large brains.



But more importantly, Surface is handsome. That ineffable Hey, this thing feels good quality is lacquered all over Surface. You'll appreciate it every time you pick it up and turn it on. It's a simple, joyful experience. Open the Touch Cover keyboard/trackpad hybrid, snap out the kickstand, and lay the thing on your desk like a laptop. Start writing an essay. Flip the cover all the way around, hide the keyboard, and give yourself something substantial to grip like a tablet. Start swiping the web. Or prop the kickstand against the folded-back cover to create a stable base while you watch Netflix on a coffee table. Switching configurations is a cinch, and it's entirely intuitive. The Touch Cover feels as integral to the Surface as the binding of a book to the sandwiched pages. There's every reason to believe most computers will look and feel something like this, someday soon.

Like
The Surface is instantly more charming than any Windows device that's come before it. It's nearly the perfect size, and the form is almost beyond reproach. If you want a tablet, use it like a tablet. If you want a laptop, use it like a laptop. Both modes seem right, like a genuine seachange step forward. The Next Kind of Computer can be slipped in a bag, power up a bright display nearly instantly, run an operating system that loves being touched, and equally importantly, have a keyboard you can use to actually get work done.



Tablets aren't for work. That's the old refrain. But if they're going to be more than great toys someday, tablets have to become every bit as viable as a desktop tower as a way to write (and edit) long emails, presentations, and poems. Surface RT is the first evidence we have that this is possible, because you'll use it like you've never used any computer before. Your brain starts to rewire itself, and it's delightful.

Flip out the keyboard. Hit power. Swipe up to unlock. Type in your password. A dozen super-colorful tiles give you a snappy report of what's new: Who's tweeted at you, what's arrived in your inbox, news headlines, photos of your beautiful face, and incoming Facebook IMs, as they drop. You'll touch one thing, scroll to the next, swipe another, then begin typing, merging habits you've picked up since your parents first let you set hands on something that ran off batteries. Surface presents you the Internet all at once.



Browsing in Internet Explorer is just as easy a flopping into a couch-cushion Netflix marathon, or working in the full Microsoft Office suite. It all feels seamless, natural, a culmination of useful things. This ease, the effortless transfer between watching stuff and making stuff, reading and writing, listening and talking, it permeates Surface with the mark of The New Computer. This is what netbooks were supposed to be, before we realized they were all completely horrible: small, powerful, flexible, skinny computers that can do a ton of things easily.

You can thank Windows 8's radicalism for that. Traditional Windows would be absolute hell to use on this—or hey, so would OS X. But Metro is the best foundation for The Next Computer I can imagine, and if you can get over UI squeamishness, you'll love it. It'll make you more powerful the more you rub your hands on it. It is that good. Or at least it could be, at some point.

No Like

We're not there yet. Surface is a fantastic promise, and holds fantastic potential. But while potential is worth your attention, it's not worth your paycheck. Surface RT gets so many things right, and pulls so many good things together into one package. But it is undercooked. For all Microsoft's claims to hardware perfection and software revolution, Surface RT is undone by too many little annoyances, cracks, and flaws. After the initial delight of an evolved tablet wears off, you'll groan—because Surface brings the appearance of unity, but it's really just the worst of both worlds. Instead of trading in your laptop and tablet for Surface, a cocktail of compromises that fracture the whole endeavor, you'll miss them both urgently.

Want to use Surface RT as a laptop? Sorry, the Touch Cover is a letdown. It's a phenomenal engineering effort, and the most terrifically-integrated mobile keyboard ever. It doesn't compare to the junky Bluetooth options you can slap against your iPad. Microsoft's keyboard cover is perfectly integrated with the device, and touch typing on it is actually possible. You can't say the same for the iPad's glass.



But it only approximates a real keyboard—the buttons are pressure activated, barely buttons at all, and spaced in such a way that typos are inevitable and constant. Unlike the first time you pinched an iPhone or gazed at E-ink, there's zero that's instantly intuitive about the Touch Cover. And in order for this to be a brave new computer, Touch Cover had to be instantly intuitive, an immediately responsive thing to touch and work with. But rather than feeling like you've instantly grown an extra brain lobe just by using it, Surface's mega-hyped keyboard cover feels like it requires one. You'll feel clumsy. You'll write slowly. I tried writing this review on the Surface, but I would've missed my deadline by a week. You'll get better—it will probably take weeks to hit a stride—but this thing was supposed to be a breakthrough. A perfect interface. Instead, it's just a half-broken death march up the learning curve. The trackpad, sludge-like and jerky, is even worse—particularly galling compared to the super-smooth touchscreen—and unlike the keyboard, will never get better with practice.

The Touch Cover also approximates, dismally, the sturdiness of a laptop: thanks to the cloth-like floppiness of the thing that's necessary for making it easy to open and close, it can't support itself on anything but a flat, rigid (apologies) surface. You can't type on your lap, like laptop. It's hard to imagine what a design solution out of this would have been, but that's Microsoft's job, not ours.

Perhaps most galling is the Touch Cover's $100 addition to the Surface's already pricy $400 base MSRP—akin to selling your windshield wipers separate from the car. Microsoft also offers a Type Cover, that promises actual physical keys instead of the flattened solution, but that will add critical bulk to your Surface experience—along with an extra $130. Another letdown—and a pretty outrageous one.

But it's Windows on Surface RT that's the greatest letdown of all, the lethal letdown, because it's not Windows 8, but Windows RT. You can't tell the difference by looking at them, but you certainly will once you use it. Windows RT is underpowered (everything opens and syncs slightly too slowly), under-functional (you cannot install a single app that's not available through the Windows RT app store, which offers a paltry selection), and under-planned (the built-in apps can't feel like Lite versions of something better). You'd be right to note that many of those limitations apply to the iPad as well, but no one could mistake iOS for OS X the way RT apes Windows 8. And even if it's a plight common to tablets, Microsoft—for better or worse—has hyped Surface RT as being so much more.



In the end though, this is nothing more than Microsoft's tablet. And a buggy, at times broken one, at that, whose "ecosystem" feels more like a tundra. There's no Twitter or Facebook app, and the most popular 3rd party client breaks often. The Kindle app is completely unusable. There's no image editing software. A People app is supposed to give you all the social media access you'd ever need, but It's impossible to write on someone's Facebook wall through the People app, Surface's social hub; the only workaround is to load Internet Explorer. Blech. Something as simple as loading a video requires a jumbled process of USB importing, dipping in and out of the stripped-down desktop mode, opening a Video app, importing, going back into the Video app, and then playing. What.

The app selection, overall, is worse than the already pathetic Windows Phone app fare, looking like the software equivalent to a barren Soviet grocery store. The difference is that Windows Phone, used in quick, informative bursts, skates by on the strength of its excellent with integrated features. At the moment, there's just not that much to do with Microsoft's über-tablet. Surface is weak because Windows RT is weak; a tepid tablet OS pretending to be a computer's.

You can do work, yes. But productivity is limited to a "preview" (beta) version of Microsoft Office. It also hurts that Office requires plunging into Windows RT's Desktop mode, where users of actual Windows 8 are able to install a decade's worth of legacy software. Normally, this would compensate. But RT users can't install any of this older software. None of it. Desktop mode is entirely worthless in RT, a cruel tease of non-functionality. It'll only remind you of how much you can't do with your Surface, and is going to confuse the living hell out of most people who buy one—especially when Surface Pro, built on x86 architecture and perfectly compatible with all of those legacy programs, steps in a few months from now.

I pity Microsoft's retail staff.



Should you buy it?
No. The Surface, with an obligatory Touch Cover, is $600. That's a lot of money. Especially given that it's no laptop replacement, no matter how it looks or what Microsoft says. It's a tablet-plus, priced right alongside the iPad and in most ways inferior.

That could change. Maybe there will be a new Touch Cover that retains the original's terrific physical qualities while actually allowing good typing. Maybe the quasi-vaporware Surface Pro, which eschews Windows RT in favor of the real-deal Win 8, will make all the difference, opening itself up to the open seas of PC software (for several hundred dollars more). Maybe the app store will look different in a month, or a year, and have anything to offer. Maybe. But remember that Windows Phone—which has swelled from mere hundreds, to tens of thousands, to over a hundred thousand app offerings over the past two years—is still a wasteland compared to iOS and Android. Poor precedent. Maybe Windows RT will be different. Maybe.

But those maybes aren't worth putting money on. As much as it looked (and even felt) like it for a bit, the future isn't here quite yet.


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Offline nCogNeato

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Re: Microsoft Introduces - "Surface"
« Reply #22 on: October 25, 2012, 02:35:34 PM »
it's no laptop replacement

That's all I needed to know.  I'll revisit the Surface once reviews for the full Win 8 version come out.  Until then, I'll keep chugging along with my old laptop that at least works like a laptop.

Offline Smithk4

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Re: Microsoft Introduces - "Surface"
« Reply #23 on: October 27, 2012, 03:04:02 AM »
Just in case anybody has ordered the Surface and are seeing delays in deliveries: See below:

Surface pre-order deliveries delayed in the UK and Canada, Microsoft offers coupon for the inconvenience

We began hearing grumblings of delayed Surface deliveries in the very early hours of this morning, and it seems it's not an unlucky few that are suffering, but an unlucky many. There were reports ofdelays to shipments in the UK and Canadaless than a week ago, but Microsoft was quick to dismiss the claims as an error and put minds at rest. Now, it seems, the white flag has been waved and blame acknowledged. Eager to appease disgruntled customers, the company is offering a £50 or $50 Canadian coupon (depending on your accent) to spend in the Windows Store as recompense. While it provides little relief to those who had a shut-in weekend planned, at least you can trick out your new toy when it finally arrives, at Microsoft's expense. And, if you've received neither a Surface nor a coupon, we suggest you reach out for the freebie -- if your fingers aren't hitting tiles, they might as well be hitting keys instead.

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Offline nCogNeato

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Re: Microsoft Introduces - "Surface"
« Reply #24 on: October 29, 2012, 09:35:06 AM »
+1 morality, Microsoft.  Well played.

 

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