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Microsoft Portables Windows

With the Surface Pro, Microsoft Is Trying To Recreate the PC Market 379

An anonymous reader writes "An opinion piece at ReadWriteWeb makes an interesting suggestion: Microsoft's efforts in the tablet market aren't aimed at competing with the iPad or any of the Android tablets, but rather inventing a new facet of the PC market — one Microsoft alone is targeting. Quoting: 'Microsoft wants everyone to think the Surface Pro 3 is a tablet, but its pricing gives the game away. Microsoft wants to recreate the lucrative PC market that made the company billions of dollars by repackaging a PC into tablet clothing and then hammering away at the Surface product line until everybody believes that PCs never really went anywhere, they just got a touchscreen and a cellular connection.' This is also supported by the lack of a smaller Surface tablet, which many analysts were predicting before this week's press conference. Microsoft is clearly not pursuing the tablet-for-everyone approach, but instead focusing on users who want productivity out of their mobile computing device. The Surface Pros are expensive, but Microsoft is hoping people will balance that cost against the cost of a work laptop plus a personal tablet."
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With the Surface Pro, Microsoft Is Trying To Recreate the PC Market

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  • False dichotomy (Score:4, Informative)

    by pla ( 258480 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @12:34PM (#47067395) Journal
    Microsoft is hoping people will balance that cost against the cost of a work laptop plus a personal tablet.

    I think Microsoft's target audience here started pretty damned small, and shrinks every day as "normal" tablets become more and more compatible with 3rd party peripherals.

    Increasingly, I see people using a tablet exclusively, with some form of docking station to make it more convenient to use as a desktop device. They don't lug around a laptop and a tablet, they just have the tablet and maybe a PC back at the office if they need either some serious horsepower or multiple feet of screen real-estate. So okay, for more than the price of a tablet plus a PC, the top of the line Surface Pro 3 config addresses the horsepower issue, while still having a tablet-sized screen - Too little for too much and targeting too few as a bonus.

    Don't get me wrong, I think MS has the right idea on this one, and may actually have led the curve for a change; but until they can also do it for under $300, they may as well not even have tried.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 22, 2014 @12:35PM (#47067405)

    I bought a Surface 2 (RT, not Pro), and I've been very pleasantly surprised at just how good a work device it is.

    My uses, as an IT manager:
              note taking in meetings with OneNote
              reviewing documents (Word/Excel/PDF)
              presenting (PowerPoint)
              email (Outlook or Mail)
              web browsing
              cloud storage (OneDrive)
              Remote Desktop (Citrix Reciever)
              entertainment on airplanes: video, ebooks

    Surface 2 does all of these well. Better than the iPad I had previously for the pure-work tasks, albeit somewhat worse for the 'entertainment' tasks. Since my focus for this device is work, I've really enjoyed it.

    I think I'd like the SP3 even more, because I'd get all of the above plus Visio, although I'd have to check out the size/weight for myself.

    If what you want is more 80% entertainment / 20% business, or if you are in a business where MS Office/Exchange/etc. are not critical, the iPad is hands-down better, but I think that for many business-types, Surface deserves a look.

  • Re:Right. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Missing.Matter ( 1845576 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @12:59PM (#47067741)
    Battery life is at 9 hours, enough to get you through the day without recharging. Plus there is a keyboard with an extra battery in it that bring battery life up to ~13 hours. Even with that, the Surface 3 is still thinner and lighter than most laptops.
  • by giltwist ( 1313107 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @01:15PM (#47067985)
    I had used a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 all through graduate school. It was great for me then because I did all my typing at my home desktop or in one of the university's many computer labs. I did not need a full computer to be mobile, especially when I've lost several laptops to damaged power jacks over the years. Now that I'm in the corporate world and need to be able to work on a report in a hotel or at a client's place of business, I needed something portable. However, I still wanted a tablet for personal use. The Surface Pro 2 filled exactly that niche. It's got honest-to-goodness Microsoft Office for when I need it and a pretty decent keyboard (if you disable the glitchy trackpad) to boot. At home, I disconnect the keyboard and watch Netflix in bed. The pen is even better for drawing than my Wacom tablet, because I can draw right on the screen. I'm a young, technologically-savvy professional. I'm the target audience for the Surface Pro line.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 22, 2014 @01:40PM (#47068319)

    So, what does a surface RT do better than an android tablet?

    Matlab, Mathematica, Mendaley, Lyx, Cubase, Photoshop, etc. Anyone who is doing non-basic stuff is probably using some specialty programs, and the ones that are not for a Mac/PC tend to be dumbed down, useless and buggy, or simply non-existent. Sure, for a few years I used Terminal IDE on my Android tablet (Thinkpad Tablet, got it because I wanted the pen and it was amazing!) to program and open up things on the cluster through an X11 terminal or a Linux installation I put on there, or compiled Latex and ran MATLAB code through the online interpreters that the apps provided... but that was slow, required an internet connection (no working on the plane!), took a long time to setup, broke easily, and sometimes things just weren't compatible. If you're really doing this work you just start to go "this is not worth my time. There's a device made for this already" and pick up a surface. Loving my Surface Pro 2.

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @01:41PM (#47068329) Journal

    Not just business.

    I use a surface pro for music production and live performance. It's the only tablet that can run a full version of Pro Tools (or in my case, Cockos Reaper) including VSTi's and VST's. I've written control programs for mixers using Cycling 74 tools and the touch interface is spectacular, not to mention I've got a keyboard right there built into the cover. Right now, I'm in the process of trying to get the WIFI n interface to offload effects processing chores (using ReaMOTE), but the damn thing has enough power that it can handle almost all of the native effects for live performance. I have friends who have tried to incorporate their iPads in music production, but the peripherals are mostly toys and the software consists of badly crippled versions of real tools.

    I honestly don't understand why Apple hasn't come out with a full Mac tablet. Artists and musicians would eat them up.

    I can't speak for using it as a business machine, but I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be ideal. As a creative tool, there is nothing else like it.

  • by ImprovOmega ( 744717 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @02:15PM (#47068775)
    Lucky for you your work wi-fi doesn't use an Enterprise CA certificate or you'd be out of luck. Surface RT refuses to talk to anything that's not signed by a public certification authority that it trusts, and it doesn't seem to do wildcard certs either. We had one for testing and couldn't even get it on the network. iPad and Android devices at least let you just click through a warning.
  • Re:Right. (Score:2, Informative)

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @02:55PM (#47069195) Homepage

    Just because you are not the target market for a product does not mean there is no market.

    So, what is the market then? Suckers? People who have gotten tired of complaining you pay a premium for Apple hardware and want in?

    Because, as far as I can tell, you can buy a more powerful Win 8 laptop and a decent tablet for less than the cost of one of these, and you will end up with more storage, more power, and more overall usefulness than this.

    It seems like you're paying a premium to get less hardware. Admittedly, I've never used one of these ... but given that you can buy a Win 8 laptop with more specs than the Surface for half the price, you're just paying more for the option of being able to remove the screen from the keyboard.

    In my experience, there's a lot of places I'd rather have my Nexus 7 than anything larger. Because a small tablet is really light, doesn't take up much space, and can be brought damned near anywhere.

If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith. -- Albert Einstein