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Microsoft Announces 'Surface' Tablet 712

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the but-will-it-run-Debian dept.
MrSeb was one of several submitters to write in about Microsoft's foray into the tablet hardware market. From the article: "At its much-discussed 'big unveil' this evening, Microsoft did indeed launch a tablet — but rumors that the device would showcase a Barnes & Noble partnership were misplaced. Instead, Microsoft showed a ... device that integrates a better keyboard option than typing on the screen without adding size or weight. That's where the new keyboard — which doubles as a screen cover — kicks in. At 3mm thick, it adds virtually nothing to the device's size, but it opens up a world of inputs. There are two covers available — the Touch Cover (very thin) and the Type Cover (with proper, tactile keys). Microsoft is touting the device's magnesium body, vapor-deposited construction, full PC functionality, and additional features like being the first tablet to showcase a 2×2 MIMO wireless antenna. Windows RT (ARM) and x86 versions are both in the works, with the x86 version apparently having a higher quality screen. No word on hardware specs yet; Microsoft is claiming it 'rivals the best ultrabooks' and uses less power than the Core i5." Microsoft has a launch site with a few pictures. There is a vague spec sheet: the x86 version is slightly thicker and has a larger battery (and comes with a pen) than the ARM tablet, but that's about all it reveals. Update: 06/19 16:06 GMT by T : Nick Kolakowski at GeekNet's SlashCloud says this may be Microsoft's best chance to compete in a cloud-centric mobile computing world.
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Microsoft Announces 'Surface' Tablet

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  • by Manip (656104) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @07:10AM (#40368193)
    Without realistic battery life estimates and a price this might have well be Vaporware. If Microsoft had a decent track record for producing mobile devices we might be able to let it slide, but the truth is Microsoft's previous attempts at the mobile space have had horrible battery life (e.g. less than two hours).

    My fear is that the Surface will be a wonderful tablet but will wind up with such a short battery life that nobody buys it for that very reason alone.
  • We'll see (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kqs (1038910) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @07:11AM (#40368197)

    If this was an Apple announcement I'd likely be excited, since most new Apple products have lived up to their hype. But I've been burned by Microsoft too many times. Until the products are on sale, until we have detailed specs, until MS proves it can over-deliver and under-price, I don't much care.

  • by Shivetya (243324) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @07:15AM (#40368221) Homepage Journal

    One idea that Apple has made good use out of is completely absent from Microsoft's presentation.

    Ships Today!

    Those two words are sometimes as important as the technology being demonstrated. Doing otherwise diminishes any excitement a good presentation brings.

    How this played out to me is, that's nice. Oh, I can't get one? Oh.

    As in, its forgettable.

    Good notes, regardless.
    Integrating the keyboard into the cover. This mitigates one of the biggest issues I have seen people with other tablets have. They do little real note taking and the few who did, well they had laptops or a BT keyboard.

    Microsoft Office integration, will have to see how this plays out but this is the killer app. Integration with current use of Office and the like. Make it seamless please.

  • Re:Neat cover ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EasyTarget (43516) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @07:17AM (#40368241) Journal

    That 'low res' screen will still look very good, and is way better than most people are used to from current generation of devices (yep, super resolution screens are better, but you really need to put them side-by-side for the difference to be obvious).

    It is what is happening on the display that will make or break this, not whether geeks get a stiffy over it's pixel-count.

  • They've Lost It (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blcamp (211756) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @07:18AM (#40368245) Homepage

    Is this a bad laptop, or a bad iPad wannabe? I can't really tell at this point.

    I've made a career and a living off Microsoft products, and I'm grateful to the life that company has allowed me to provide for myself. But it's clear now they're in decline. They've lost their edge, their focus... their ability to innovate. This is a defensive play, and it's just not gonna fly.

    And I'm not just a consumer and a developer, but an MSFT shareholder. As such, I'd like to see Ballmer get out of Redmond and make way for someone to bring the company back to a leadership position... while there's still time.

  • by michaelmalak (91262) <michael@michaelmalak.com> on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @07:19AM (#40368253) Homepage
    Microsoft has released the Banana Jr. 6000.
  • by mcwop (31034) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @07:20AM (#40368261) Homepage
    I take notes with my iPad, and have no problems doing it. I do mind map most of my notes. You can do plenty of work on the iPad.
  • Re:They've Lost It (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Reibisch (1261448) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @07:24AM (#40368289)

    I'll no doubt get modded down for this, but why can't it be a new product category? Why does everything have to be considered either a laptop or a iPad?

  • Lame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @07:27AM (#40368303)

    (Posting AC because I'm at work)

    I haven't watched their presentation (and I probably won't) but I somehow suspect their product announcement wasn't anywhere near as interesting as their primary competitor's presentations typically are. What amazes me the most, however, is just how poorly they presented the products to the press. Reading Engadget's review, for example, the review is rife with "but we weren't allowed to touch it so I don't know how good it is" and "we were only able to demo it for a few minutes so who knows" and various incarnations of "we just don't know anything about this product because Microsoft didn't really show us anything important". I simply cannot fathom how they feel that is the way to announce what presumably is an important product for the company. You would think that generating strong interest would be high on their priority list but not having working hardware and/or not allowing the press to meaningfully interact with the device is really the wrong way to go about it...

    While I think their keyboard-in-a-smart-cover is a very cool idea, I don't see anything with the device that impresses me beyond what other companies (and certainly Apple) are offering and their product announcement was sufficiently fumbled that I don't think they even think there's enough in the device to impress people (it's the only reason I can imagine them wanting to keep people at arm's length from the device...).

  • by chill (34294) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @07:33AM (#40368349) Journal

    When all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. Microsoft seems to be making the mistake that tablets are going to fully replace PCs. They aren't. They, like phones, are going to compliment them. Each is a different tool with different strengths and weaknesses.

    There is a reason people don't use iPads and the like for serious spreadsheet and keyboard-based work. They aren't designed for it. Slapping a keyboard in the cover isn't going to change the fact. You can already get keyboards for the iPad and Android tablets.

    Yes, they work in limited scenarios, but that doesn't mean people are going to give up full tactile respone and 27" monitors when doing long typing sessions. You think people have issues with carpal tunnel syndrome NOW, wait until they're doing all their typing on one of those things!

    Most typical office tasks involving the classic Office suite of products aren't going to change. Those tasks still need to be done, and spreadsheets, word processors and heavy data entry aren't going to disappear anytime soon.

    It is the software that drives the hardware. Microsoft knows it. Ballmer's famous "developers, developers, developers" chant is proof of it. Apple knows it, too. This is why they continuously tout the number of apps available for the iPad. And it is why, despite my dislike of Apple's walled-garden approach, I'm getting an iPad. There are apps there to support private pilots that just don't exist on Android (or Windows 8). LOTS more.

    Microsoft will sell a bunch of these, simply because they'll most likely dump a wad of cash into promoting them. But, unless they come up with more compelling reasoning that "you don't have to give up Office" for these, I can't see them passing Android or Apple on the sales charts.

  • by Wovel (964431) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @07:34AM (#40368353) Homepage

    When the enter a new space you are correct. The differences are: Applemuses the product in the demos, Apple tells you when the device can be ordered, Apple tells you when the device will be shipped, and Apple tells you how much the device will cost. This is no more a shipping device than the slate was.

  • Funny (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dunbal (464142) * on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @07:35AM (#40368363)
    And the press is already setting it up for failure, comparing it to the Zune and saying iPad at least 20 times in each report. I'm no Microsoft fan-boy, but rabid Apple fanaticism is not much better. How about waiting until the product is actually launched before starting to say how it can never match the iPad?
  • by hishamaus (1991142) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @07:36AM (#40368369)
    I'd be very interested to know what other manufacturers that buy Windows licenses think of this. I mean Dell, Samsung, Asus ... etc
  • Re:Wait, Surface? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @07:37AM (#40368381)
    Close. Surface is their multi-touch-for-high-values-of-'multi' large-display technology, but yes, it is rather silly of them to use one name for two unrelated products.
  • Zune or Xbox? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Morty (32057) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @07:38AM (#40368391) Journal

    The most important question is, which Microsoft model will this emulate, Zune or Xbox?

    Zune -- MSFT enters an existing market with a device that is putatively well-speced and well-priced. But MSFT fails to get the details right, and has a crappy advertising campaign. MSFT sinks tons of money into it and eventually gives up.

    Xbox -- MSFT enters an existing market with a device that is putatively well-speced and well-priced. But MSFT fails to get the details right, and has a crappy advertising campaign. MSFT sinks tons of money into it and eventually outspends the competitors and fixes enough hardware and software issues that it comes to dominate the market.

    With Zune, MSFT's front-running competitor was Apple. With Xbox, it was Sony and Nintendo. Now, it's Apple again. This does not bode well for MSFT's ability to win through.

    I only see two ways that MSFT can pull through this: (1) they can leverage the Office and desktop monopolies to go after the business space; (2) their sheer desperation to keep from becoming irrelevant will force them to keep spending until they figure it out. With Zune, failure was on the table -- music players did not directly threaten their core Windows business. The iPad and Apple ecosystem, OTOH, now are threatening their core Windows business.

  • Re:Wait, Surface? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DrgnDancer (137700) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @07:39AM (#40368411) Homepage

    It appears to be a real product that they will sell, like the Zune. Most of the analysts seem to be debating the Wisdom of Microsoft competing directly with its hardware partners. Price point for the Win RT version has been stated as "competitive" with iPad, but the Windows 8 version is looking like it's going to be expensive (~$1000). It's going to compete with ultrabooks, and run i386 Windows software I assume. Still a bit of a risk going so high above the "standard" tablet pricing though.

  • by mrsam (12205) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @07:41AM (#40368419) Homepage

    Microsoft needs to hire more people in marketing. Whoever thought up of this name "Surface", needs to be fired.

    Hey, didya hear about this hot new tablet? It's called "Surface"!!!

    It's obvious that they're trying to pick a generic name, in the spirit of "Word" and "Access". But, for some reason, this one doesn't fly. When I read this yesterday, I had to double-check and make sure I didn't accidentally stumble on The Onion.

    Really, if they wanted to pick a generic name that's likely to form a subliminal association with this gizmo, they should've just called it "Jumped the shark", and that would've been the end of it.

  • by Sinister Stairs (25573) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @07:43AM (#40368441)

    Apple has had its share of failures, reminds me of the Apple Lisa.

    It's bemusing you had to go back 30 years to be reminded of an Apple failure. ;)

    I dislike Apple (as a company) even more than Microsoft now, but your statement just underscores how successful Apple has been in the past decade. Microsoft? Not so much.

  • Re:They've Lost It (Score:4, Insightful)

    by phayes (202222) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @07:44AM (#40368453) Homepage

    It needs to be in a category all by itself to avoid its sales figures being completely dominated by the iPad or being a footnote to other Win8 sales.

    That way Microsoft can crow about how they are number one in their category however tepidly the devices sell...

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @08:02AM (#40368649) Homepage

    Why doesn't slashdot just /dev/null any post that has a link to the scam sites like this? Back in the early taco days they were on top of this crap like stink on poo, now they let it slide forever.

  • Re:Neat cover ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@hotmail.cOPENBSDom minus bsd> on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @08:06AM (#40368703) Journal
    Yeah, shame nobody's thought of it before.

    "Android keyboard case" 1,735 Results http://www.aliexpress.com/wholesale?SearchText=android+leather+keyboard&catId=0&manual=y [aliexpress.com]

  • Re:Funny (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blackfrancis75 (911664) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @08:07AM (#40368711)

    How about waiting until the product is actually launched before starting to say how it can never match the iPad?

    How about waiting till the product is actually available before unveiling it? As someone else said - this is one thing Apple does that makes their announcements really mean something. There's no evidence given the vague specs that MS can ever match the iPad, and given that they're at least 3 generations behind, it's a fair comment until MS give us some concrete reason to think otherwise.

  • Re:Funny (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sez Zero (586611) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @08:07AM (#40368717) Journal

    How about waiting until the product is actually launched before starting to say how it can never match the iPad?

    Or how about Microsoft actually launch the product before actually showing it? Dual-screen Courier comes to mind. Also coming to mind: new iPad and new Macbook Pro, both of which you could buy right after the keynote.

  • Re:We'll see (Score:5, Insightful)

    by datavirtue (1104259) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @08:09AM (#40368743)

    Uh...it's not for sale? Hence the use of the word "Vapor?" Jesus fuck, if it taint on sale then what are we talking about here? What is the reason for telling anyone about it? Is it so we can bow down, do an act of worship, and line up at a Best Buy awaiting its arrival? I don't know anyone who can talk about this right now without looking like a fool.

  • Re:Zune or Xbox? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by arth1 (260657) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @08:33AM (#40369049) Homepage Journal

    Just curious here. What does the PS3 give you in linux that a $250 desktop computer like this wouldn't?
    [...]
    It'll run linux much, much, much faster

    A 3.2 GHz Cell processor with a total of seven cores (one power processing element, and six synergistic processing elements)?
    Bluetooth and BD?
    A capable 3D card?

    Quoth Wikipedia:

    "Even a single PS3 can be used to significantly accelerate some computations. Marc Stevens, Arjen K. Lenstra, and Benne de Weger have demonstrated using a single PS3 to perform an MD5 bruteforce in a few hours. They say: "Essentially, a single PlayStation 3 performs like a cluster of 30 PCs at the price of only one" (in November 2007)[21]"

    "eHiTS Lightning is the first virtual screening and molecular docking software for the PS3.[25] It was released by SimBioSys.[26] as reported by Bio-IT World in July 2008.[27] This application runs up to 30x faster on a single PS3 than on a regular single CPU PC, and it also runs on PS3 clusters, achieving screening of huge chemical compound libraries in a matter of hours or days rather than weeks, which used to be the standard expectation."

    "NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang stated during Sony's pre-show press conference at E3 2005 that the RSX is twice as powerful as the GeForce 6800 Ultra."

  • Re:Neat cover ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @08:37AM (#40369097) Homepage

    I think you're missing the point a bit. I do have an iPad and I do have a cover for it. Typing on it is obviously very annoying, it's a completely flat glass surface after all and the keyboard obviously takes up quite a bit of screen real estate. This looks considerably less annoying and comes "free", but you're still not going to type a novel on it unless you're a masochist. Because of course it's still a tablet, you should use it for what it's good for. This just makes it more flexible to serve more like a laptop in a pinch, just like my phone camera isn't a replacement for a real camera - but very handy all the same.

  • Or a third way: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pollux (102520) <speterNO@SPAMtedata.net.eg> on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @08:43AM (#40369181) Journal

    Build it specifically to make up for all or most of the shortcomings of the iPad, which are:

    1) No data ports - Want to plug in a keyboard? Want to plug in a thumb drive? Want to plug in a printer or peripheral of any sort? Fugetaboutit.

    2) Content creation is horrible - Typing a document or entering formulas into a spreadsheet requires a keyboard. That'll cost you an extra $60. And it takes about twice as long to navigate the word processor or spreadsheet software to do what needs to be done. Even after you've created the files, you then need to email them to your computer or use a 3rd party data service if you don't have a Mac.

    3) Terrible to administer in the enterprise - iPads sync to only one computer. iPad storage cannot be backed up & mirrored. Apps and iOS updates must be done one-at-a-time. Apps / software must be Apple-approved and Apple-distributed. iPads were not built for the enterprise, and the enterprise has had to bend over backwards for Apple just to make the iPad work for their business.

    Surface has a USB port. Surface has an included keyboard. Surface has Windows & Active Directory & a platform supported by the vast majority of software companies. I think Microsoft is trying to do what the iPad wasn't built to do: work for business.

  • Re:Hype (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bloodhawk (813939) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @08:50AM (#40369271)
    Isn't it about time these spam posts for malware and spyware got deleted by mods rather than just being modded down? It would be nice if the piece of shit scumbags that post this stuff could be blocked/banned/deleted enough to make it not worth their while. The legitimate posts are usually bad enough without this constant crap.
  • Re:Zune or Xbox? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Vanderhoth (1582661) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @08:53AM (#40369309)
    Up until my cousin updated my PS3 while trying to play a rented BluRay movie, which forced the update. I was using my PS3 as an alternate testing platform for software development and a mesh network 3D rendering node.

    Now it's a paper weight. Even if it still plays games I have no desire to use any Sony products. I guarantee the PS4 will flop because so many early adopters will not only not buy it, they'll militantly advise anyone else against it.

    Nothing excuses the fact that when I bought my PS3, I bought it instead of the Xbox and Wii because I could install Linux on it. While I had the option I did make use of it and it took some underhanded BluRay trick to get someone less knowledgeable updated it. In hindsight I should have put a firewall rule to block the PS3 from calling home, but seriously, what other BluRay player will force a firmware update before allowing someone to watch a movie they rented.

    Yet another reason to just pirate movies. So my expensive hardware doesn't get destroyed by malicious firmware updates.
  • Re:Neat cover ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dixie_Flatline (5077) <vincent DOT jan DOT goh AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @08:54AM (#40369333) Homepage

    That's wildly missing the point. The iPad has keyboard cases, too. Microsoft--for once--actually designed this for their own hardware, and made it a big step up from 3rd party options. It's not about thinking about it first, it's about doing it better. The tablet is hardly a new idea at all. Apple didn't do it first, and the Android camp obviously came even later to the party. But it doesn't matter if you do it first if your idea sucks.

  • Re:Zune or Xbox? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @08:58AM (#40369365)

    The iPod had a better/more usable interface than any of its competitors at the time.

    That is what the average person bought it for. Not specs/features.

    Somehow, most people still don't seem to understand this.

  • Re:Wait, Surface? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kilfarsnar (561956) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @09:07AM (#40369505)

    Close. Surface is their multi-touch-for-high-values-of-'multi' large-display technology, but yes, it is rather silly of them to use one name for two unrelated products.

    Well, they already used Internet Explorer for their Internet browser and Explorer for their file browser. That never gets confusing, let me tell you.

  • Re:We'll see (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wvmarle (1070040) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @09:12AM (#40369545)

    Part of a typical Apple announcement is also a launch date. Tomorrow, next week, next month: they will always give a date. And a retial price for it. And full specs.

    And of course Apple only announces a product when it's done, and ready to go to the shops. Before what's released are only rumours, but that are always rumours of actual specs - and I suspect they release the rumours only when that function is actually there and ready. That makes it much easier to live up to the hype. What you see is what you get.

  • Re:Or a third way: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @09:26AM (#40369715)

    1) No data ports - Want to plug in a keyboard? Want to plug in a thumb drive? Want to plug in a printer or peripheral of any sort? Fugetaboutit.

    Millions of unit sales suggest that this isn't as big a problem as you suggest. Want a keyboard? Use bluetooth. Want to use a external storage? Use dropbox or any of the dozens of other online storage sites that allow you to access the same thing over wifi or 3g/4g data. Want to print? Print over the network using AirPrint. I do this occasionally, works great. Want to connect other peripherals? I connect my camera, headphones, and an external battery pack to my iPad all the time. What peripherals specifically do you imagine you need? Or are you just sharing FUD?

    2) Content creation is horrible - Typing a document or entering formulas into a spreadsheet requires a keyboard. That'll cost you an extra $60. And it takes about twice as long to navigate the word processor or spreadsheet software to do what needs to be done. Even after you've created the files, you then need to email them to your computer or use a 3rd party data service if you don't have a Mac.

    If you think that "allowing up to 2x the typing speed of an on-screen keyboard" means these new gimmicky covers are going to be usable and fast as keyboards, you're in for a surprise. Typing lots of data will still require a *good* real keyboard. Yes, it'll cost you $50 bucks or so to buy a bluetooth keyboard. No, it will not take you twice as long to navigate the word processor or spreadsheet software to do what needs to be done. I write documents using an external keyboard and my iPad frequently. It took me less time to get used to working in Pages on the iPad than it did for me to learn how to use the goddamned ribbon interface in Office 2010. And once I've created the files? I save them in Dropbox. Which means they're "just there," waiting for me when I sit down at my computer, ready to edit.

    3) Terrible to administer in the enterprise - iPads sync to only one computer.

    Then it's not an "enterprise" deployment, if your users are syncing and adding all kinds of data themselves on their own laptops.

    iPad storage cannot be backed up & mirrored

    Except that's completely false, too. iPads back themselves up (either to iCloud, or local PC) as a routine part of their sync, and those backups can be both encrypted and copied elsewhere, since they're basically disk images.

    Apps and iOS updates must be done one-at-a-time.

    Uh... what? Are you complaining that Dropbox isn't included in the iOS baseline? I update multiple apps frequently, since I don't check for updates more than once ever two weeks or so. I've never had a problem clicking the "Update All" button, and allowing it to download updates - even *over the air!*

    Apps / software must be Apple-approved and Apple-distributed

    No, they don't. Again, if you don't know that enterprises can roll out the Apple Configurator which will allow you to manage many iOS devices, settings, applications, and even distribute your own iOS apps, built and signed by your company, to your iOS devices, without Apple having a single thing to do with any of it.

    iPads were not built for the enterprise, and the enterprise has had to bend over backwards for Apple just to make the iPad work for their business.

    Since you are completely incompetent and ignorant of the support for enterprise usage that Apple has for the iPad, I suggest you go start reading. Your job may depend on it, friend - it's clear that you have a lot of frustration, but the fact of the matter is, your frustration is born of your own ignorance, and that's easily remedied. Start reading here [apple.com], and be amazed!

  • Re:Or a third way: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hognoxious (631665) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @09:27AM (#40369727) Homepage Journal

    Surface has a USB port. Surface has an included keyboard. Surface has Windows & Active Directory & a platform supported by the vast majority of software companies.

    Surface is a laptop.

  • Re:Zune or Xbox? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Old97 (1341297) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @09:28AM (#40369739)

    the average person bought ipods because apple. Somehow, most people still don't seem to understand this.

    Maybe you weren't alive when the iPod first came out. Apple still had one foot in the grave. Their fans were a fraction of what they are today. The iPod helped to revive the Apple brand. It was the interface and iTunes making it simple to load and manage music on it that made it popular.

  • by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @09:37AM (#40369831)

    IMO, the keyboard cover is just what is needed in the tablet space. It is the number 1 selling accessory for the iPad.

    For me personally; as a person who still reads my mail over SSH; I agree. but..

    But I can't shake the feeling that we're gradually building a laptop yet again.

    This is right 100%. It's a design disaster. The thing about not having the keyboard as standard is that the application designer can never even begin to think he can rely on it being there. This means that all iPad apps work perfectly without keyboards. Even if you have an Android "Transformer" tablet, the fact that most Android tablets don't have keyboards means that all your applications work with or without the keyboard. With the Microsoft tablet the app makers will lose that fear. It's a perfect example where adding more makes things worse. My recent post about Microsoft's social ineptitude [slashdot.org] just begins to feel so prescient.

    Microsoft has killed their partners chances in the market by making it clear that there's a "real" device and the "clone" devices. Now they killed their own device by providing the most terrible screen layout and adding a completely stupid keyboard to it. It's not as if Swype hadn't already solv ed the problem of typing fast on touch screens. Surely Microsoft could have afforded to use that.

  • Consumer Confusion (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thesuperbigfrog (715362) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @09:54AM (#40370097)

    This is a terrible move by Microsoft. The two tablets look too similar and yet are so different--especially in terms of processor power and what software they will run. Imagine the surprise that Joe Consumer will have when his "Windows tablet" does not run Windows software.

    ComputerWorld did a great article that talks about this:

    On Monday afternoon, Microsoft executives, including CEO Steve Ballmer and Steven Sinofsky, chief of the Windows division, introduced the not-yet-available Surface tablet, which will be sold in two flavors. One, tagged the Windows RT Surface, runs Windows RT, the new edition that works only on devices powered by ARM-licensed processors. ARM CPUs drive virtually every mobile device, from smartphones to tablets, including Apple's iconic iPad.

    **** Note that the ARM processor-powered device is NOT backward compatible with ALL of the current DOS/Windows software that has been released up to now. The ARM processor-powered device will only run Windows RT and Metro applications.*****

    Windows RT, a major departure for Microsoft in more ways than one, is the company's attempt to break into the lucrative consumer-oriented media tablet market.

    But Microsoft will also sell the Windows 8 Pro Surface, a tablet that, while identical at first glance to its Windows RT sibling, runs the more traditional Windows 8 on hardware powered by Intel processors.

    Because that second Surface relies on an Intel chip -- a quad-core i5 from the just-released "Ivy Bridge" architecture, the same used in Windows laptops and as of last week, the one packed into Apple's MacBook Air and the least-expensive MacBook Pro -- will run all legacy Windows applications as well as the newer Metro apps that Microsoft and others are developing. It will also be heavier -- by half a pound -- and slightly thicker than the Windows RT tablet, although by other external appearances it will be identical.

  • Re:We'll see (Score:5, Insightful)

    by roothog (635998) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @09:58AM (#40370149)

    Are you surprised? This has been MS's strategy for the better part of a decade. Try to compete on vapor rather than on what's shipping. A competitor announces that they're shipping, say, a new MacBook, and MS will announce that they've got something flashy and new about to come out. When it finally ships two and a half years later, it's a POS nowhere close to what MS claimed it was going to be.

    Remember everything that MS said was going to be in Vista?

  • Re:Zune or Xbox? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by HapSlappy_2222 (1089149) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @10:55AM (#40370931)
    I think you're both right, in a way. After the first round of brave iPod purchasers found that the device was pretty well built and simple enough to redefine what an mp3 player could be, everybody wanted "that new music thing from that Mac company". That one-two punch opened the door for Apple to come back from near-death; and they also used advertising masterfully.

    I also think that there are people out there who now avoid Apple because "Apple!". I, personally, am one of them. I dislike their computers (strictly an opinion, I know the benefits and drawbacks of Apple gear, and just prefer PC) so that's a given.

    Here's my problem with Apple's commodity stuff though: I loved my iPod, my other iPod, that other other iPod with the flash memory I bought after iPod #2's battery shit the bed and iPod #1 got knocked onto a pillow, resulting in a head crash. I also loved my girlfriend's iPod nano, shuffle, her new thin rectangle nano, and her new square shuffle with the pretty square screen and pink earbuds and that armband thing she refused to model naked for me (fetish!!). I loved my iPhone 3, the gf's 3gs, my 4, and the gf's 4s. I did NOT love all the sweet rubber cases and dozens of charging cables hiding around the house, or all the iTunes I had with my music spread all over the place, but it seemed worth the hassle at the time, because Apple!!. If you're asking "WTF, man?" all I can say is so the hell was I.

    They make a great, solid, and reliable product, but their release schedule seems specifically manipulated to require (or at least strongly pressure) a new purchase every year. 3g? 4g? Bigger disk, faster processor, non-splodey battery, smaller form factor, gorilla glass, Siri? Geez... how about an update to my existing product, or at least preventing me from seeing new ads for a full 2 (two) months after purchasing your gear?

    I broke out of the "buy non up-grade-able but super spendy/trendy Apple gear" cycle right about the time the iPad came out; I refused to fall for it again. They tried to teach me how I need this thing to survive, too, but I said "Waitaminit.... I already know how to read books, both out of, like, books, and on my phone...." and the brainwashing lifted like a fog. Yeah, the iPad can do a lot, but my hook for a tablet would have been books. Then, much like crack, I'd find a way to "need" it for so many reasons that I'm hooked into a yearly iPad purchase. Fuck that (fool me thrice, and shit).

    Apple has done a lot of things well, but they achieved an utter psychological and sociological coup in turning a $500 purchase into a reasonable impulse buy. I was fortunate enough to realize what I was doing, because all signs point to this continuing. As for Microsoft's tablet, I welcome all competition, and may make a purchase if it does well enough (I like the little rubber keyboard, but my Apple lesson taught me I already *have* a laptop). I'm dubious, as usual, of MS hardware, but even Microsoft has a shot at keeping the tablet market from stagnating. The Fire, Nook, Thinkpad, Ideapad, etc have all been on the market, but right now all I see in the future is iPad Yeah, You'll Buy This One Too (TM).
  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @11:58AM (#40372057)

    Slashdot readers seem confused, because the Surface really is a "family" as they put it, of devices attacking different markets.

    The Surface x86 is meant to compete against the Air, and even offers touch to PC's that some people keep clamoring for. We'll see if they are right about people wanting that on a PC...

    The Surface ARM is an iPad competitor. This one I feel like has much less going for it. The keyboard case has a trackpad... how useful is that for a tablet really? The device will lack software, and I can't see that it could cost less than an iPad 2 is selling for currently!

    Also the stand is useful for desktop use, but nothing else. It simply would not work in a lap.

    Another thing to consider is that this is a device not meant for rotation. From the keyboard being attached to the long edge to the buttons on the device being on the long edge, it's pretty obviously focused on one orientation.

    I also wish they had not gone quite as "Appleish" in the presentation of the device, talking about emotional attachment to the hinges and so on... it seems like there's an approach that could have been taken that would not have echoed Apple, possibly some confident Mad Men era swagger?

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