Surface Pro storage space: Yes, it's a big deal

Summary:News that the upcoming 64GB Surface Pro tablet from Microsoft will have only about a third of its quoted storage space available to the user is causing quite a stir. That's because the game has changed.

MS Surface Pro tablet
(Credit: Microsoft)

The news broke yesterday that the Surface Pro tablet from Microsoft, sold with 64GB and 128GB, will only have 23GB and 83GB available to the user out of the box, respectively. This was almost universally slammed by the tech world and confirmed by Mary Jo Foley .

Some were quick to point out that this is actually not a big deal for Windows installations. That's true, but it shows that in spite of Microsoft's attempts to make the Surface a new course for Windows, it's still business as usual.

I'm not surprised that the Surface Pro will lose a lot of the flash storage to the operating system. It has to go somewhere and Windows 8 is a full PC in the shape of a tablet. That's the problem: the game has changed, but Windows 8, in spite of its new appearance, is still Windows underneath.

If consumers buy the Surface it is for the tablet capabilities. Otherwise they'd just buy a Windows 8 laptop or hybrid.

Competitive tablets, specifically the iPad and Android tablets, lose little of the system storage to the OS, but not much. When you buy a 64GB iPad, you have most of that storage space available to add apps and media. It's the same for Android.

That's why the heavy cost in storage space of Windows 8 is a big deal. Sure, when you compare the Surface Pro's installation to other PCs you get a similar loss of storage space out of the box. But Microsoft has taken great pains--completely redesigned the operation of Windows 8 as matter of fact--to make the Surface Pro a tablet competitor.

It's only fair to compare features like available storage space of the Surface to the competition--tablets and PCs alike. Let's face it, if consumers buy the Surface, it is for the tablet capabilities. Otherwise, they'd just buy a Windows 8 laptop or hybrid.

The available storage space of the Surface Pro is a clear demonstration to consumers that it's still Windows under the hood, with the same impact as previous versions of Windows. That doesn't instil faith in buyers that the Surface Pro is really different, like the other tablet choices on the market. It's really business as usual, just Windows posing as a tablet.

Note: Microsoft has included the following statement about the storage space of the Surface Pro on its official website:

System software uses significant storage space. Available storage is subject to change based on system software updates and apps usage.

See related:

Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Tablets


James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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