Microsoft Surface slabs borked by heat-induced DIM SCREEN OF DEATH
Turkey-chomping Redmond says nowt as punters rage on forums
The latest generation of Microsoft Surface tablets are overheating, causing the screens to dim to the point they are unusable - but it's OK, people, Microsoft is onto it and a fix is coming.
Frustrated customers have taken to the Microsoft community forums to complain that the device runs hot when playing games, or while running two applications at once.
Both of the brand new Surface 2 and Pro 2 devices were affected by the screen-killing fault.
But a Microsoft spokesman leapt onto the forum to say that Redmond was now aware of the problems.
"Surface devices may dim the screen as thermal temperatures rise from extended, high CPU intensive activities - like gaming. In some scenarios this does not appear necessary.
"We’re working on a tuning update that will remove this unnecessary dimming event. You can expect this update in an upcoming Windows Update package. In the meantime allow the Surface to cool down for a minute or so in order to return the screen to previous brightness levels."
The most recent post was from an individual who asked Microsoft "how hot is 'hot',” adding that his screen darkened while just surfing the web – in his words, "hardly graphically demanding.”
"And like everyone else I have no control over this once it starts,” continued the aggrieved fondleslabber. “Is there any way for me to see if the temperature is high, and if so how?"
Microsoft had not responded on the forum at the time of going to press and their UK PR agents told us that US PR are eating turkeys and opening presents – readers from the US will, of course, be aware that it's Thanksgiving in the States – and so their PR bods wouldn't be available to answer questions from pesky journos.
The RT design - rebranded Surface 2 - appears destined for the recycle bin, with hardly any stock landing in the UK since launch. Yet the Pro 2 seems to be selling relatively better; the key word, though, being “relatively”.
Given the Surface Pro is meant to be pitched at multi-tasking biz users, this is yet another stern lesson for Microsoft, which now bills itself as a devices and services company. The débâcle with Xbox One hardware hasn't boosted its reputation either.
According to The Channel's sources, another 2,000 units are currently with distributors in the UK. Note that none of these are Surface RT 2s, our sources say.
Reports in the wider channel about the overheating issue are mixed, with very few resellers telling us they had received complaints.
One said: "There are stock challenges. Microsoft are not making enough, because they are worried about the sales. To say Surface 1 and 2 were tentative launches is an understatement."
"Microsoft is treading carefully as it builds out an infrastructure," added the source, "and there will be mistakes in terms of forecasting along the way. Distributors aren't expecting big things".
Lest we forget, Microsoft wrote down $900m of inventory earlier this year because people preferred iPads and slabs from other vendors.
Market-watcher Canalys reckon Microsoft will account for five per cent of the global slab space in 2014 as the Nokia acquisition takes its closer to being a "fully fledged smart mobile device vendor".
Research analyst Pin Chen Tang said Microsoft needs to prove to channel partners and people buying the Surface that it is "in this market for the long haul".
"A critical first step is to address the coexistence of Windows Phone and Windows RT,” continued Tang. “Having three different operating systems to address the smart device landscape is confusing to both developers and consumer alike". ®
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