Feeds

Why I love Microsoft’s vapourware tablet

Probe beneath the Surface

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Surface tension

"Surface has not just one but two cameras." Yes, and it also has not just one but two stereo speakers, not just 76 but 77 keys on the keyboard, and the rectangular unit has not just one but four edges. It also has none of these things because it doesn't bloody exist yet.

I was also evilly amused watching Microsoft's Windows president, Steve Sinofsky, deal with a frozen manufacturing mock-up of his non-existent tablet live on stage at the beginning of his presentation:


'Here's one I prepared earlier...'

These things happen, of course, but often they happen simply because nature and common sense feel the need to make their presence known amid the illusory world of men. At IBM's London launch of OS/2 2.0 in 1992, the demonstrator famously announced that the "revolutionary" new operating system was completely and utterly crash-proof... at which precise moment, her demonstration computer completely and utterly crashed. As indeed OS/2 did from time to time on test machines back at the office.

Contrary to your expectations, though, I warm to the promise of Microsoft Surface. This could be the tablet computer I've always wanted. To be honest, I pined for a Tablet PC about ten years ago and sang their praises in a column I wrote for an IT weekly magazine at the time.

Looking back, I should have guessed Tablet PC was not going to last. The computers were a bit ugly and a bit expensive, and the range of Tablet PC-enhanced applications was a bit crap. These were the reasons I never bought one. Indeed, these were the very same reasons why no one else bought one.

Fujitsu Tablet PC

Fujitsu's Stylistic: how a tablet should be... What, a bloody desktop?

So how does the Surface tablet compare? It doesn't look ugly but I suspect it's going to be nut-crunchingly expensive: "About the same as an ultrabook," means a starting price of £1000. Hmm, should I buy a diddy Windows 8-only tablet that has a built-in stilt or buy a MacBook Air with proper memory spec, full-size fuck-off keyboard and trackpad and that will run just about any operating system I want?

But most of all, please someone tell me they are optimising their Windows 8 applications for Surface. The whole conversation about Microsoft's ability to sell hardware is entirely irrelevant. As Apple found with iOS, and I know Microsoft's Steve Ballmer will back me up on this, it's all about the developers. ®

Alistair DabbsAlistair Dabbs is a freelance technology tart, juggling IT journalism, editorial training and digital publishing. He feels he may be the only person in the world who harks back to the Microsoft Mouse with fond memories and believes that Microsoft was always a much better hardware manufacturer than software developer.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Apple to build WORLD'S BIGGEST iStore in Dubai
It's not the size of your shiny-shiny...
Just in case? Unverified 'supersize me' iPhone 6 pics in sneak leak peek
Is bigger necessarily better for the fruity firm's flagship phone?
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
Apple analyst: fruity firm set to shift 75 million iPhones
We'll have some of whatever he's having please
TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button
You won't believe how much goes into today's telly tech
The agony and ecstasy of SteamOS: WHERE ARE MY GAMES?
And yes it does need a fat HDD (or SSD, it's cool with either)
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?