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Microsoft Handhelds Windows Technology

Why Microsoft's Surface Pro Could Fail 442

Nerval's Lobster writes "Microsoft's Surface Pro boasts one feature that could rapidly become an Achilles Heel, especially if Microsoft intends for the device to compete against Apple's iPad and a host of lightweight Google Android touch-screens. In a Nov. 29 Tweet to a customer, the official Surface Twitter feed claimed: 'We expect it [Surface Pro] to have approx. half the battery life of Surface with Windows RT.' That means Surface Pro will have roughly four hours of battery life. That's roughly half the battery life (if not less) of Apple's various iPads, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, Research In Motion's PlayBook, Hewlett-Packard's now-cancelled TouchPad, and Motorola's all-but-forgotten Xoom. In other words, pretty much every tablet currently on the market. Nor can the Surface Pro compete with other tablets on price. The 64GB version of the device will retail for $899, with the 128GB version coming in a little higher at $999."
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Why Microsoft's Surface Pro Could Fail

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  • by ifiwereasculptor ( 1870574 ) on Friday November 30, 2012 @12:26PM (#42142579)

    and stealing sales from Wintel ultrabooks doesn't really help Microsoft or Intel.

    The Surface Pro IS Wintel.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 30, 2012 @12:38PM (#42142781)

    Right. Wintel stealing sales from Wintel doesn't help Wintel. If you could have just sold the product you're already producing there's no point sinking money into research and development of a new product - the revenue would have stayed the same but profit is lower as you need to fund the new research and development. That's oversimplified, of course, but if - that's a big if, but what OP was arguing - the only market segment interested in a Surface RT was already buying Wintel ultrabooks then the Surface RT is not a good product for Wintel.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Friday November 30, 2012 @12:45PM (#42142933)

    Decent CPU, memory and hi-res display. Four-to-five hours is good commuting/coffee shop time, so while its a not a perma-road-warrior machine, its not horrible.

    And we saw how well this model worked for them the last time around...

    Basically this is pretty much the same tablet paradigm they offered a decade ago.

  • Re:Stupid (Score:5, Informative)

    by thePowerOfGrayskull ( 905905 ) <marc,paradise&gmail,com> on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:02PM (#42143277) Homepage Journal

    On the other hand, the Surface Pro has little to offer over an ultrabook - it includes a touchscreen. An ultrabook will have better battery life, and an increasing number are becoming available with touchscreens as well. All within the same price target as the Surface Pro. THis is a product looking for a market.

    Oh, and ultrabooks all have keyboards - no extra charge.

  • Re:Stupid (Score:5, Informative)

    by thetoadwarrior ( 1268702 ) on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:25PM (#42143729) Homepage
    My 2 year old 13 inch MacBook Pro is intel based and gets 8 to 10 hrs on the battery easily. There is no excuse for surface getting only 4 hours unless windows just runs that poorly.
  • by rtfa-troll ( 1340807 ) on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:40PM (#42143977)

    Have you used Windows 8 for more than 30 seconds in a store? I'm using it right now on a 6-year-old laptop. Windows 8 is just fine. It's certainly superior to IOS in every imaginable way.

    I'm guessing you haven't used it much on a tablet Have a look at what the usability testers have to say ("modern UI is a new codeword for Microsoft's Metro interface []

    The available advice on designing for the "modern UI style" seems to guide designers to create applications with extraordinarily low information density. See, for example

    The tablet version of Windows 8 introduces a bunch of complicated gestures that are easy to get wrong and thus dramatically reduce the UI's learnability.

    Oh no.. that's not what I was looking for. I guess the visual design must be better than iOS:

    The Windows 8 UI is completely flat in what used to be called the "Metro" style and is now called the "Modern UI." There's no pseudo-3D or lighting model to cast subtle shadows that indicate what's clickable

    Maybe it's the new powerful features they added over Windows 7?

    One of the worst aspects of Windows 8 for power users is that the product's very name has become a misnomer. "Windows" no longer supports multiple windows on the screen

    Maybe the sacrifice is worth it because it improves the desktop version?

    . On a regular PC, Windows 8 is Mr. Hyde: a monster that terrorizes poor office workers and strangles their productivity.

    My only disappointment with the Surface is its low resolution. I've been rocking 1920x1200 for 6 years, and just got 2560x1440 on the desktop. I don't want to go backwards.

    For most people it seems that the main disappointment is the low quality of the apps, even where there are any available, and the lack of responsiveness of those apps compared to the swishy interface. Given this, the only thing surface is really good for is acting as a video player. In that role, the low resolution screen is probably less important than in other roles.

  • by mystikkman ( 1487801 ) on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:51PM (#42144183)

    Summary failed to mention that the Surface Pro is much more expensive than a Raspberry Pi.

  • Pen and also touch. A relatively low battery life for a tablet, but it *is* a tablet; it can run tablet-designed software, it can be operated with your fingers and thumbs while on the bus or the toilet, etc.

    As for the keyboard, the Touch Cover and Type Cover both include keyboard and trackpad. The Type Cover is actually a quite nice ultra-thin keyboard. The Touch Cover takes a few minutes to get used to, but works fine. Combined with the Surface's built-in kickstand, they make a decent ultra-portable pseudo-laptop. The covers are stiff enough to be used on your lap, incidentally.

VMS must die!