"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'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 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.
Re: Sure is
"Upvoted nonetheless for calling Dabbs crap. That can't happen often enough."
If Dabbs is crap, what the hell were you doing reading this article? I've stopped reading the 'Open and Shut' stuff from that ex Ubuntu guy, because most of it is rubbish. Although he's written a few good ones. I thought the first article I noticed by Dabbs was utterly rubbish, but I've enjoyed his last few, including this one.
Re: No one's going to be able to buy for half a year.
Everyone except the market leader in tablets, Apple.
"About the same as an ultrabook"
I must admit that when I heard that was the moment I figured Surface would never work.
Ultrabooks have been a stunning sales success... for Apple.
What's the opposite of "synergy"?
Because MS is demonstrating exactly this. There's "Surface", an ARM-based tablet that is very similar to the iPad: Halfway affordable, light, long-running, Appstore-only apps. Just that it will run *only* Metro-only Apps for Windows 8 compiled for ARM, of which exactly none exists right now. Hard to see why it should fare better than WP7 with smartphones.
Then there's "Surface Pro", an Intel-based low-end Ultrabook with an optional awkward keyboard and a display angle you can't adjust, making a hot and short running, heavy, expensive tablet PC into a laptop you won't be able to use on your lap. It will also run every old Windows application on a 11.6" screen with 1920 x 1080 pixels, which will mean the keyboard, trackpad, digitizer and stylus aren't just nice options -- they are there for a reason. How this thing should be much more successful than the bad old Tablet PCs I don't know.
So each of these devices lacks something important that the other has in scores: Surface is a great tablet with no apps and Surface pro has all the apps and compatibility without being an usable tablet or even an Ultrabook.
MS should have named them "!Synergy".
Re: The Crash
There seems to be some confusion going on here. There are TWO versions of the surface tablet. One is a Tegra 3 powered WinRT machine, which is expected to sell for the same kind of money as an iPad. Being Arm powered it won't be able to run any of the back catalog of Windows code.
The second tablet is Core i5 powered and is likely to be priced like an Ultra Book. It is large and more powerful than its sibling, and WILL be able to run old code, allong with providing a digitiser pen. it will however be unlikely to run for more than 5 hours on battery as its only got 40w hours of capacity.
Both are of course still vapourware and subject to change.