Pegatron named as Microsoft Surface fondleslab foundry
Low margins may annoy Redmond's partners
Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Pegatron has been awarded the contract to build Microsoft's Surface tablet, and sources suggest Redmond's got a twin strategy for tablets.
According to DigiTimes, Pegatron will be building both the Intel and ARM versions of the fondleslab, with the Ivy Bridge-powered slab going for around $799 (Intel's guide price for Ultrabooks) with a $599 alternative for the Tegra 3 system.
Microsoft didn’t give pricing details at its launch on Monday, but indicated the Ultrabook as a guide price, and sources said Microsoft isn't planning on making a massive margin on the tablets.
This would suggest Microsoft will aim the ARM fondleslabs at Apple, although it would have to take a loss to match the iPad on price. Redmond does this with other product lines it sells at a loss, and may judge this to be a reasonable price to pay in order to get established in the tablet market. And while Intel will welcome more Ultrabook players, companies like Samsung, Dell, and Hewlett-Packard won't.
"I think this is the major purpose of them doing a tablet, as it can enhance their ecosystem, to help them promote and get a lot of developers to make apps to share in their store," Charles Lin, chief financial officer for Pegatron told Bloomberg. "This kind of device may help them to promote their Win8 solutions and demonstrate the strengths and capabilities of the new Windows 8."
Pegatron, which is a spin-off of Asian giant Asus, said in its last financial statement that it expected its shipments of notebooks and tablets to rise 30 to 35 per cent in the second half of the year. It has got good capacity if demand for the Surface proves strong, and it has cash to burn if expansion is needed – revenues grew over 100 per cent to over $2bn in the last year. ®
What's The Objective for Surface?
I've used a large, high-powered laptop for years. Lots of hard disk, fast CPU, big, detailed (and gorgeous) screen. I run major math problems in Mathematica, edit video (occasionally), manage a couple of big databases, and write programs. (In addition to all the ordinary browsing & email I do.) So I wouldn't try to squeeze my work onto a tablet.
But my wife's needs are different: she loves having 8½×11 PDFs on her iPad when she goes to Board meetings. Writes Chinese on it as part of her study. Pops it out of its home in the kitchen table drawer when we feel like Skypeing after dinner. Finds it easy to catch up on friends' photos or videos, or play a round or two of a game with friends before going to sleep. Every one of these tasks works better on a tablet (withOUT an extra keyboard in the way) than ANY other device. And does just fine on the modest CPU Apple supplies.
People here seem pretty desperate to shoehorn the wrong jobs onto iPads, so I guess they'll do the same with the Surface. And they might be MORE disappointed in lack of good apps (that fabulous Chinese dictionary/OCR/flashcard in her case), or other apps that go viral too quickly for Microsoft to supply the financial incentive to developers. Also realistically, Microsoft has made the story VERY difficult with the long-battery-life, less expensive version unable to run any legacy Windows apps.
As with any device, the question becomes: what job(mix of jobs) do *I* need to do, that this device will do better than any other device? I can see it working for some mobile corporate types, who need a “different and innovative” sexy device for their client work; for everybody else, I don't get why an iPad or a Windows UltraBook wouldn't work BETTER.
Sorry, I bought a fairly decent full-fat laptop for that. And it runs Linux.
The only way MSFT could kill Surface in the cradle is with price. And it did!
I fail to see why everyone is so up-in-arms about paying $799 for the Surface (I refuse the acknowledge that the ARM version even exists). It's not cheap, but it's not too over the top either.
Let's face it, you're getting:
- Decent build quality (by the looks of things)
- Reasonable processing performance (I'm currently developing on a 1.6GHz i7, and it's great)
- I assume a reasonable amount of ram (3 or 4 gb)
- FULL 1080p HD (a real winner for me!)
- Touch and Pen input
.. for the price of an upper mid-range laptop.
(and no, I'm not a MSFT fanboy...)