Microsoft Surface

MilkmanDanimal wrote:

That being said, apps are the key, and there's so much out there already via the Apple app store, Google, and even Amazon that there's so much ground to make up.

That's the thing, the OS is just the tool that lets you do the things you want to do with your computer. I haven't fired up the W8RP lately, but seeing as the ARM version is limited to metro apps, and apps only come through the store, is there enough there to make it worthwhile. As you point out, it's not as though Microsoft exist in a vacuum, they have to compete with existing products and platforms.

Scratched wrote:
MilkmanDanimal wrote:

That being said, apps are the key, and there's so much out there already via the Apple app store, Google, and even Amazon that there's so much ground to make up.

That's the thing, the OS is just the tool that lets you do the things you want to do with your computer. I haven't fired up the W8RP lately, but seeing as the ARM version is limited to metro apps, and apps only come through the store, is there enough there to make it worthwhile. As you point out, it's not as though Microsoft exist in a vacuum, they have to compete with existing products and platforms.

And if the OS is installed on millions and millions of desktop PCs bought over time, that potential market will be significant. And MS is generally pretty good at making dev tools and providing support.

So it's not just these devices driving the app market for Win 8, it's a broad range of products, including MS's money of regular laptops and desktop PCs.

It all depends on how much people buying these machines that come with Win 8 use Metro that comes with those new PCs.

Also, you could say the Pro version of Surface has one of the biggest "app ecosystems" of all. Windows programs. Granted, you'll not want to necessarily run those in touch interface only mode, but they're there for your keyboarding time.

My biggest gripe about the iPad (at least version 1 and 2) is that uninformed users expected it to be as powerful as a laptop. They were so enthralled by the portability and gimmicks that they wanted it to be the center of their computing universe and expected it to do things that it could not do.

So here is this underpowered device with no security that was supposed to allow executives to do anything anywhere. It was/is a nightmare.

Surface, at least the i5 version, looks to actually be that device. The keyboard looks great and the pen/handwriting could be really awesome if it works as intended.

The guy demoing the i5 version said it supported usb 3 and some other enhanced transfer tech that had a throughput of 1 GB in 5 seconds.

fangblackbone wrote:

Surface, at least the i5 version, looks to actually be that device. The keyboard looks great and the pen/handwriting could be really awesome if it works as intended.

The handwriting recognition in Windows 7 is incredibly impressive. I've dealt with all kinds of handwriting software over the years, and none of them have been good at reading my handwriting (not that I have bad handwriting; people don't struggle with it). But a Windows 7 tablet with a stylus I tried out at work last week was able to flawlessly and instantly translate my handwriting into text, even when I kinda flubbed some of the letter. I was really impressed.

Well, assuming I can buy an app from MS and use it on my tablet, PC, and phone, that would very possibly drive me to get a Surface, along with possibly going to Windows 8. I mean, Windows 7 is just so damn good that I'm leery to change at all, but some kind of awesome super-integration between my PC, tablet, phone, and Xbox? Yeah, that could be a big selling point for me. Huge selling point.

If it's a "buy app for each machine" thing, they're screwing themselves, but if they open up the licensing a bit and really work things together, I could be an early Win8 adopter.

Also, this HAS to be cheaper then an Ipad for it to go anywhere.

karmajay wrote:

Also, this HAS to be cheaper then an Ipad for it to go anywhere.

I don't think it does. Especially not the x86 version. That one in particular the case could be made that it would replace both an ipad and a MBA in functionality. I don't think you necessarily have to be the price leader to take market share from the dominate player. See Apple's MacOS. You just have to offer something compelling with quality.

MilkmanDanimal wrote:

Well, assuming I can buy an app from MS and use it on my tablet, PC, and phone, that would very possibly drive me to get a Surface, along with possibly going to Windows 8. I mean, Windows 7 is just so damn good that I'm leery to change at all, but some kind of awesome super-integration between my PC, tablet, phone, and Xbox? Yeah, that could be a big selling point for me. Huge selling point.

If it's a "buy app for each machine" thing, they're screwing themselves, but if they open up the licensing a bit and really work things together, I could be an early Win8 adopter.

From a PC to these tablet, that's all tied to your Live ID (or whatever they want to call it now). So that maps over. The Win Phone 8 stuff we don't know yet, but should know very soon (think there's a conference starting tomorrow IIRC).

MannishBoy wrote:
karmajay wrote:

Also, this HAS to be cheaper then an Ipad for it to go anywhere.

I don't think it does. Especially not the x86 version. That one in particular the case could be made that it would replace both an ipad and a MBA in functionality. I don't think you necessarily have to be the price leader to take market share from the dominate player. See Apple's MacOS. You just have to offer something compelling with quality.

For the RT version to be anywhere near successful, I believe the base model by itself (32GB, no keyboard cover) will need to be less than the iPad's $499 price tag. I'm thinking $399.

That said, I believe the pro version - considering its specs and all that it should be capable of doing - will be signficantly more expensive, like in the low-end ultrabook price range of $799 to $899 for the base model (64GB).

fangblackbone wrote:

The guy demoing the i5 version said it supported usb 3 and some other enhanced transfer tech that had a throughput of 1 GB in 5 seconds.

Not just the transfer tech, per se, but the OS implementation is going to be key here. One of the biggest hurdles between me and doing some real work I'm seeing in the tablet realm is the incredible goat rodeo it is to get your work off and on the thing, and the ability to manage files outside of the constraints of the application. Particularly when I'm working on projects that need multiple applications - right now there is just no good way to go here.

The cloud-thing and the hackneyed dropbox implementation I see on the iOS are no substitute for the ease of moving around between multiple real computers, and my ability to go in and organize my work as I need to. If they can give me that on a tablet, I'm sold.

I am interested to see how they integrate this with the Xbox and the kinect. I can think of a lot of really cool things that could be done.

MeatMan wrote:

For the RT version to be anywhere near successful, I believe the base model by itself (32GB, no keyboard cover) will need to be less than the iPad's $499 price tag. I'm thinking $399.

I don't think you're going to see MSs try to beat the price of Apple. I'm not sure they should, especially considering their OEMs have to have a way to price competitively as well. Coming out of the gate and pricing at a 20% discount to Apple implies you might have an inferior product. And I think they're trying to not look like some of their OEM partners here with cheap but serviceable hardware.

I can tell you there is a group of people that don't want to get into the Apple ecosystem, and haven't been happy with Android tablets so far because they're all pretty mediocre. Give these people nice hardware and I think you'll get some takers.

They aren't going to beat Apple with these. But they might just sell Windows 8 and start the new Metro ecosystem leading by example.

JC wrote:

I am interested to see how they integrate this with the Xbox and the kinect. I can think of a lot of really cool things that could be done.

Smart Glass that was announced at E3 will work on these as well as competitor phone and tablet OSs. They might use a bit of special sauce on the Windows side, but I doubt they'll tie them too closely and risk hurting the Xbox biz. However, they've made dumb mistakes like that in the past due to turf wars internally.

I'd say pricing the Pro model in the $1000 - $1500 range is realistic unless Microsoft decides to run this as a loss-leader for their Windows 8 Platform. If there's some strange voodoo that makes moving my work from my desktop and laptop to my tablet and back just work then I'll upgrade in a heartbeat.
And for the iPad pricing I think it's a good idea to remember that the cost isn't $399. It's $399 and about $150 in dongles and apps to get close to the same connectivity.

Edited for phrasing and missing words.

Rezzy wrote:

It's $399 and about $150 in dongles and apps to get close to the same connectivity.

I wonder what MS is going to charge for those keyboard covers. I'm betting they won't come included. I wouldn't be surprised if the real keys one is $100.

MannishBoy wrote:
MeatMan wrote:

For the RT version to be anywhere near successful, I believe the base model by itself (32GB, no keyboard cover) will need to be less than the iPad's $499 price tag. I'm thinking $399.

I don't think you're going to see MSs try to beat the price of Apple.

If they charge $499 (or more) for the RT version, I expect it to fail. A large part of the reason why the Kindle Fire is the only tablet, other than iPad, that's sold a lot of units is because of its low price. So price matters when you're competing against the iPad, which is the situation every new tablet faces.

MeatMan wrote:
MannishBoy wrote:
MeatMan wrote:

For the RT version to be anywhere near successful, I believe the base model by itself (32GB, no keyboard cover) will need to be less than the iPad's $499 price tag. I'm thinking $399.

I don't think you're going to see MSs try to beat the price of Apple.

If they charge $499 (or more) for the RT version, I expect it to fail. A large part of the reason why the Kindle Fire is the only tablet, other than iPad, that's sold a lot of units is because of its low price. So price matters when you're competing against the iPad, which is the situation every new tablet faces.

The reason Amazon sells it's Kindles for that price is they are relatively low end hardware (warmed over Blackberry Playbook) with middling software and they are selling it on the console model where they plan to probably break even on the hardware while making it up on selling stuff to people.

MS isn't going to go that road. They can't do that to their OEMs, as that's where their money is made right now in the licenses for Windows.

The hardware here isn't low end. Don't expect low end prices. Expect prices like what higher end Android tablets hit to ipad prices. So at least $450 to start at the low end. Maybe even $500 directly against the current gen ipad entry point.

Unless they completely price it out range, that's not the big deal here IMO. They don't have to outsell much of anything to make this a success for MS. They have to use this as a halo product that gets people interested in Win 8 on tablets, and get their OEMs to step up their game and make nice products on their own. That way MS's Windows money still benefits, the ecosystem grows, and people start to adopt Metro.

MannishBoy wrote:

I can tell you there is a group of people that don't want to get into the Apple ecosystem, and haven't been happy with Android tablets so far because they're all pretty mediocre. Give these people nice hardware and I think you'll get some takers.

*raises hand*

And that goes for my employer as well as myself. I've been waiting to see what Windows 8 does with tablets before deciding whether we should go that route, attempt to implement Android into our system or just skip tablets entirely for now. iOS is a consumer product and it always was. It can be integrated into an enterprise environment but it's a nightmare and is almost entirely lacking in proper security. Due to the type of work we do at my employer, we use a lot of specialised engineering software that's Windows based and which would be much more valuable to use in the field. Right now, people do that on laptops and given that "in the field" often means in the tundra or a swamp, it's not very convenient. If the x86 tablet could run all this stuff and in particular, if docking stations were made available so they could click the thing down at their desks and get dual monitors and a proper keyboard a mouse, we may have found our next standard issue gear. We already pay about $800 for our standard laptops and adding $300 to the price for that functionality would be a no brainer for us. Not every business works the way we do of course but if Windows 8 RT has the enterprise management capabilities of the x86 version (which it very well will), this instantly becomes far more attractive for IT people.

I don't expect the first version of this product to outsell the iPad as long as Apple can keep up this fashion trend but once again, just because something isn't #1 doesn't mean it's a failure. I believe that the reason Microsoft is doing this tablet in-house is both because their OEMs can't get their act together and release one in a timely manner themselves but also so that they can go Xbox 360 with it and sell it at a loss initially to get momentum up. I don't think they're going to substantially discount it but I wouldn't be surprised to see it release at the same price as the 16GB iPad, but with 32GB and possible the keyboard cover included.

My hands cringe at the thought of typing on a flat keyboard like that for more than a couple of minutes at a time. If I'm not using a natural keyboard my hands are destroyed. Neat design but it seems extremely impractical for me.

I also don't find myself missing a real keyboard much on my Motorola Xoom. I use it while sitting on the couch, in bed, sometimes when I'm at the table. Not often am I using it in a place where I'd have a place to put a keyboard, and then as I said just the thought of typing on that makes my hands hurt.

It'll be interesting to see how the keyboard is received and if others feel the need to rip it off, or if people decide laptops and tablets are okay being two different devices.

Parallax Abstraction wrote:
MannishBoy wrote:

I can tell you there is a group of people that don't want to get into the Apple ecosystem, and haven't been happy with Android tablets so far because they're all pretty mediocre. Give these people nice hardware and I think you'll get some takers.

*raises hand*

Ditto - been wanting a tablet for a while, suppose I can wait a while longer.

Dreaded Gazebo wrote:

My hands cringe at the thought of typing on a flat keyboard like that for more than a couple of minutes at a time. If I'm not using a natural keyboard my hands are destroyed. Neat design but it seems extremely impractical for me.

I also don't find myself missing a real keyboard much on my Motorola Xoom. I use it while sitting on the couch, in bed, sometimes when I'm at the table. Not often am I using it in a place where I'd have a place to put a keyboard, and then as I said just the thought of typing on that makes my hands hurt.

It'll be interesting to see how the keyboard is received and if others feel the need to rip it off, or if people decide laptops and tablets are okay being two different devices.

The cool thing with this is that you have full USB support, so you could always plug in a "real keyboard". Or probably go for a bluetooth keyboard.

I really see that Pro model working as something you could hook up a second screen to and use it as a full PC if you wanted to.

With a screen of that size, I wonder if the keyboards they're selling for this thing will basically be like a netbook, where I can never get comfortable due to key spacing. I suspect so.

I'm just wondering how people imagine the surface will get used most often.

As a tablet, the ARM version I think will probably do okay as W8 is designed around tablets, although there's tough hardware competition in tablets now. I think the x86 'pro' version will suffer as the reasons you're likely to want desktop windows (desktop apps) will work badly in that use case.

As a laptop the ARM version gains a bit of functionality/alternate input, but the only desktop-like apps you'll have is office. For the 'pro', I can't help thinking of it as lacking compared to real laptops/netbooks, although the price hasn't been revealed yet.

Is the ability to have both really that valuable? Again, there's competition from the Asus Transformer, or if people decide to get both a tablet and a laptop/desktop, or one or the other (which is probably outside of the scope of discussion).

What's the big value here? What's the big draw to buy one?

Scratched wrote:

Is the ability to have both really that valuable?

To me? Yes. The family would like a tablet, I personally don't care that much. However, I'm shopping for a ultrabook. Two birds, one Surface. Theoretically. We'll see how they actual work in the real world.

Again, there's competition from the Asus Transformer, or if people decide to get both a tablet and a laptop/desktop, or one or the other (which is probably outside of the scope of discussion).

Using Android as a desktop/laptop replacement is nowhere near as relevant to me as having access to the stuff available to me in Windows. Nowhere close.

MannishBoy wrote:
Scratched wrote:

Is the ability to have both really that valuable?

To me? Yes. The family would like a tablet, I personally don't care that much. However, I'm shopping for a ultrabook. Two birds, one Surface. Theoretically. We'll see how they actual work in the real world.

I can see where there's a market for something like this, but my knee-jerk response is that it seems to me it's probably nowhere near the size of the market for people who want a tablet for Angry Birds, email, and web surfing.

I guess my main sticking point is windows as a tablet, when in competition with the established players. The cost (not financial cost) for that seems too great when I compare surface to a normal windows laptop.

lostlobster wrote:

I can see where there's a market for something like this, but my knee-jerk response is that it seems to me it's probably nowhere near the size of the market for people who want a tablet for Angry Birds, email, and web surfing.

If that's all people want it for, then they don't need to be spending $500+ for it. That's why I've recommended some of the better Android tablets (yes they do exist) or the Kobo Vox to people who have limited use cases that you describe and who aren't concerned with the "cool factor" of owning Apple. If you just want the basics, you don't need an iPad. If Microsoft does actually decide to loss lead this and make the ARM version cheaper, they've already got a big market segment to appeal to, especially if the Metro interface works well on dedicated touch devices.

muttonchop wrote:

o_0 Did they try to clone Steve Jobs?

Mex wrote:

o_0 Did they try to clone Steve Jobs?

Yes, one of the things about the apple presentations is that they are/were apparently rehearsed down to minute detail. One of the biggest companies on the planet shouldn't be saying "oops" or "let me get another one"

Warlock wrote:

Dubstep always means quality technology.

muttonchop wrote:

...I guess the unit he had better go watch the dubstep video.

Scratched wrote:

One of the biggest companies on the planet shouldn't be saying "oops" or "let me get another one"

Also the dude running the presentation shouldn't be the one scurrying to the podium for the replacement. Where's Eddie Riggs?
Lock eyes with the camera. Hold the unit to the side with outstretched arm. Smile and drop it. It is immediately caught by a ninja that rushed forward from the shadows. In the same instant a second ninja places the replacement in his other hand.
"Obviously the presentation ninjas are sold separately. Now let me show you, for the first time, this video app."

Just a couple of things that keep rearing up in this thread:

As an iPad user since launch, it has nothing to do with the "cool factor". I have never bought anything because it's perceived as cool. My parents own iPads. They are in their 70s and couldn't care less about "cool". The fact of the matter is that the iPad is the only product in it's class that works as it should with the support, via first and third party apps, to make it extremely useful. Most non-corporate users just don't care about most of the things that it can't do that are useful in a corporate environment or to an IT professional. Are the millions of iPad and iPhone users really buying these products because they are cool? Of course they arent.

This perception of ipad owners as hipsters or "next big thing" idiots is trite and irritating, not to mention insultingly inaccurate.I bought my first iPad because I thought that it would be really good for reading comics and books. I'm at the bleeding edge of fashion, me.

Secondly, are the biggest exciting features here really a USB port and a case with a keyboard on it? If a physical keyboard is such a requirement, why bother with a tablet at all? In any event, the lack of USB does not prevent keyboard use with the iPad; I have a very comfortable Bluetooth keyboard if I want to do some serious typing. Adding wires and desk docks to something that is by it's nature as portable as possible seems to be backwards thinking to me.

Would I like my iPad to have a USB slot? Hell yes. Am I going to buy another, unproven device that, like so many others that have been and gone, because of it? Nope.

I want Microsoft to aim way, way higher than a slot and a case. I want something that really has a reason to exist and compete in the market. Not something that adds some popular, if not strictly necessary features, a fancy case and fills the gap for people who dislike Apple. I agree that the paucity of information is a mistake in this day and age, but I really want it to be the last one that MS make with the Surface.

The only way that they become competitive is by making a fantastic product. They haven't shown enough to prove that point yet. In fact, they haven't done anything particularly new yet.