Microsoft's Surface Pro team takes on Reddit to finesse fondleslab
Battery covers, Linux, advanced touch, and much more
In a canny PR move, the team behind the Surface Pro has hosted a discussion on the internet forum Reddit to answer questions about Microsoft's latest fondleslab.
These kinds of online forum discussions are risky, since they can't be tightly controlled. President Obama's attempt came across as slick, while others have been fascinatingly honest, but the Microsoft team went into surprisingly open detail about the Surface Pro and Redmond's thinking behind it.
On the battery front, the team was unapologetic. The battery size was cut small enough to keep the fondleslab relatively thin and below 2lb (just) but it's still able to power the Core i5 processor to its fullest potential.
"If you compare it to say a MacBook Air, you will quickly see that pound for pound in battery size vs battery life, you will find optimizations that puts Surface best in its class," the team said.
That said, the team hinted more than once that extra batteries could be built into covers for the tablet. The six connectors and twin ports on the base of the unit that use magnetic locking have been designed to allow high transfers of current, the team said.
"We haven't announced what they are for but they aren't an accident! At launch we talked about the 'accessory spine' and hinted at future peripherals that can click in and do more. Those connectors look like can carry more current than the pogo pins, don't they?"
If you want all-day battery life, then go for the Surface RT, the team advised. But the Pro is a fully functional laptop with a tablet form factor, and as such it has to have the full Windows x86 code base – and that comes at a cost.
Steven Bathiche, director of research in Microsoft's Applied Sciences Group, said that in order to minimize the battery load for the tablet, the Surface Pro has software to make the processor power much more dynamic.
"Surface Pro has the power when you need, but throttles down heavily when you don't need it so that you can carry it around.. pound for pound it is the fastest most portable device out there," he claimed.
He also said that Microsoft had used prototypes developed by Redmond's research arm in the Surface Pro's touch screen. This enabled them to bring the response time of touch controls down from 100ms to below 12ms and increase the pressure-sensitive capacity of finger and stylus operation.
The Surface Pro is perfectly compatible with other operating systems, provided you turn off Secure Boot, the team said. If you've got the storage space you want, you could run Linux or Mac OS on the system.
Another major complaint about the Surface is the small amount of space left after Windows 8 has left its bloated footprint. While it's true that the operating system load is heavy, the models that go on sale on February 9 will have a little extra space to play with – around six or seven gigs, in all.
On the Wi-Fi side, Microsoft is tweaking the Windows 8 firmware to give more reliable connections. The February 12 update will have some software for this, as will another update in March 12 to harden the system up.
On the crucial question of why Microsoft decided to try and sell the Surface Pro as an Ultrabook when it doesn't come with a keyboard, Redmond opted for the traditional excuse: it's all about consumer choice.
"It is an interesting discussion. When we launched Surface RT, we included the keyboard. Customer feedback then came through strongly that people want to choose – whether its color or Touch vs Type cover. While the Cover is an important part of the whole story, we believe customer choice is too and want to provide both," the team wrote, or possibly cut and pasted from a briefing document.
While Microsoft has been very careful to pitch the Surface Pro as an Ultrabook, not a tablet to rival Apple's 128GB iPad, the team got questions on that issue, too. The reply showed a certain amount of thought into how to tackle Apple's fondleslab dominance.
"Surface Pro is perfect for the person that wants a MacBook Air and an iPad, but doesn't want the weight or hassle of both devices. We didn't skimp on the performance you need to run a business but gave it to you in a very portable package." ®
Eadon - In all seriousness, I am genuinely concerned for you. I really do worry about your mental health.
Its simply not healthy or normal to spend what must be a major part of your day posting vitriolic comments on the Register ranting about Microsoft. Microsoft are just a company. Apple are just a company. They both exist to sell stuff. They both just make stuff - no one has died. To spend most of your waking time ranting about widget A being better than gadget B simply isn't normal. Theres wars, famine, death, opression and lots of of heinous things in this world to get this worked up about - but a new computer???
Maybe go out for a walk? Spend some time in the park, find some hobbies or intersts outside IT. Broaden your horizons. You really do come across as someone in dire need of an intervention. Again, this is not a dig or an insult, I just really worry that you'll become the focus of an el reg news article after having done a Mark Chapman, putting six bullets into Blamers back straight after asking him to sign a Microsoft surface.
Please ,for your own sake - get help.
Re: MS Surface pro FAIL
Oh, this tired argument... Here is an alternate view of the world which does not work for Tim Cook and the rest of APPLE COs religious fan base.
Xerox -> Mac ui
Arm = not an apple company
Move into hardware consumer devices -- Xbox -> duh.. iPod.
Star trek -> iPad
retail -> app store
Napster -> iTunes
Android notifications -> Apple notifications
Blackberry -> iPhone
Firefox search bar -> safari search bar.
calvin Klein targets super premium-> Apple targets super premium
ALMOST ANY HARDWARE EVER -> Apple
x86 desktop -> x86 desktop
Touchscreen UI desktop environment -> *future* touchscreen desktop environment
Everyone copies everyone. At least everyone else is honest about it and doesn't pretend they are some how special to anyone but their mummies :-)
Re: MS Surface pro FAIL
Yawn. Here goes....
Mac UI -> Windows UI - so Windows 8 is a copy of Mac? Wow, that's a different take. But don't worry, they all ripped of the WIMP approach from Xerox. FAIL
ARM -> ARM - no, MS buy it in like everyone else, either from a licensee or as a license to produce themselves. FAIL
Make hardware -> make hardware - Xbox, mice etc have been pretty good products, not to mention profitable and MS foing hardware is nothing new. FAIL
iPod -> Zune - I'll give you that one ;-)
iPad -> Surface - like all the Android tablets too. FAIL
App Store -> Microsoft Store - No different to Google. Hell, there have been other app stores on the Windows platform for years - Steam and Intel's spring to mind. FAIL
iPhone -> Win Pho 7/8 - it might be rubbish, but Windows Phone (Pocket PC 2002) goes back further than the iPhone (2007), so.... FAIL
Go after the high end -> Go after the high end - MS have always covered all markets - different offerings for XBox, Windows editions (before 8). And why, pray, is this a problem? FAIL
Apple retail stores -> Microsoft Retail Stores
etc. - Another one I'll give you - can't really see the point.
Microsoft also copy Google, Sony and a plethora of others too, the copying is irrefutable. - And they do likewise. GMail copies hotmail, for example. Android copies iOS in many ways (and vice versa). That's the cost of competing. FAIL
Nice try, no cigar.
Re: MS Surface pro FAIL
All hope is now gone, after reading (and replying) to something you wrote the other day that came across as quite reasonable, you have devolved back to your normal rants, shame as some of your first post made sense.
Mac UI -> Windows UI << Really I thought the Mac UI was popular??
ARM -> ARM <<Doesnt this run on an I5
Make hardware -> make hardware <<Samsung make hardware too
iPod -> Zune << The iPod was not the first MP3 player on the market
iPad -> Surface <<They didnt copy this a quick look will tell you that they look completely different
App Store -> Microsoft Store <<App Store not the only one on the market to be copied
iPhone -> Win Pho 7/8 <<Unbelievable as this seems iPhone only made smart phones popular they were not the first Smart phone on the market
Go after the high end -> Go after the high end << 90% of the worlds companies do this, including MS that is why you have so many different releases of Windows from starter to Premium, aiming at differing levels of the market
Apple retail stores -> Microsoft Retail Stores << Cant argue with this
You need to find your pause button, some of your comments start off with semi intelligent comments which rapidly turn into anti MS rants, I know im going to be accused of being some kind of MS corporate shill because of this and if they want to pay me to point out the blindingly obvious then I wont stop them lol
Re: MS Surface pro FAIL
In all fairness - it took me a while to figure out what Eadon meant: it seems as if he intended to write "Microsoft('s) copy (of) Apple (led to a) fail (for Microsoft)".
<---- Paris, because, well, defending Eadon makes me feel dirty and a little confused (this despite my being firlmy in the penquin camp). I may as well defend RICHTO or BDG555 (now fortunately no longer with us, although I still believe they are one and the same).
But I won't evangelise nor slag people off for their choices - my choice is personal and probably idealistic, but there you are.