Microflops: Microsoft Surface RT and 8 tablets

Microflops: Microsoft Surface RT and 8 tablets

Summary: In an attempt to build up hype, Microsoft had a Mystery Announcement! In the event, we saw Microsoft-branded Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets that had neither prices nor shipping dates. Apple is not shaking in its boots.

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Microsoft builds its own Windows 8 and RT tablets: Surface.

Microsoft builds its own Windows 8 and RT tablets: Surface.

Here's the best part of Microsoft's lame attempt to surprise us with a significant announcement:

Windows Embedded, Drone Edition IPad for Xbox Clippy for Metro Minesweeper 2013 Windows Vista 8 Metro Edition Microsoft Works for Blackberry 10 Vista, Second Edition

Those are among the names that the bored tech press came up with for Microsoft's new product on Twitter while we were waiting for Microsoft to get its act together and make its announcement.

In the Los Angles-based event, Steve Ballmer announced Microsoft is selling a Windows RT and Windows 8 tablets, the re-branded Microsoft Surface. It's a 10.6-inch—about an inch bigger than an iPad--tablet with a keyboard and touchpad on its built-in cover.

That sounds cool, but I really wonder just how sturdy it can be in real life. In addition, I've seen hybrid laptop and tablet before and I'm still waiting for one that actually delivers. One thing I will note to its credit is that Microsoft promises that it will work with both a stylus, for fine detail work, and with your finger when you're trying to use the Windows 8 klutzy Metro's interface.

The Windows 8 model, which runs a 3rd generation Core i5 (Ivy Bridge) is a cross between an ultrabook and a tablet. The Windows RT model uses, of course, an ARM processor. For a display, Microsoft is offering something it calls ClearType HD. This is meant, of course, to compete with Apple's Retina Display. The RT tablet will come with 32 to 64GBs of storage, while the Windows 8 version will come in 64 and 128GB models. Battery life? We don't have a clue yet.

Microsoft fans say the the new Surface units are like a combination MacBook Air and iPad. I say it's Microsoft desperately trying to pull attention away from Apple's products. Lots of luck with that guys.

I also must note that in two ways this was a very typical Microsoft vaporware announcement: promise the world but don't mention when it will be available or what it will cost.

How vapor is it? During the demo to the hand-picked press and employee audience, the demo tablet crashed when Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows division tried to run a Netflix application.

Others agree, Surface is a blunder

While Microsoft refused to announce any pricing, the company did say it would be competitive with comparable ARM tab/Intel Ultrabook-class PC. That would put the RT device at about $500 and the Ultrabook at around $900.

This make me wonder what Microsoft's original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partners are going to think about this? If I were Dell, HP, et. al., I wouldn't be one bit happy. As for Apple and the Android vendors, I wouldn't be in the least bit worried.

See also:

Topics: Tablets, Hardware, Laptops, Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

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89 comments
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  • Not a

    Forbes mag has already come out with "Microsoft Win8 Tablet NOT a Game Changer" http://onforb.es/LanRbO
    adam@...
    • Forbes did no such thing.

      An independent contributor who has his blog hosted at Forbes did.
      stormhit
    • Forbes did not, YOU did

      Adam Hartung (you) did a mindless drivel article and now have the nerve to try to spread it here.

      Would it be too much to ask for in terms of honesty that you at the very least disclose that you (submitter) and the author of the opinion piece is the same person?
      honeymonster
      • Blatantly obvious - just look at the picture.

        Although calling an article "mindless drivel" simply because you don't agree with what it says isn't particularly mature behavior.
        Zogg
    • Thanks for the self promotion

      Is this an example of astro turfing?
      Your Non Advocate
    • Everyone knows the author who penned that article

      does not understand technology, which is why no one bothers to take him seriously.

      For you to reference that article also indicates that you do not have an understanding of the subject under discussion.

      If I were you, I would endevour to find reference material from a more knowledgable person, as I would trust the words of a Romulan more then I would that author you referenced.
      :|
      Tim Cook
  • What?

    First, who cares what the oem's think? They've been half assing their designs for years with no superlative products. Second, Your really going to sit there and tell me you don't wish your ipad had an sd slot? or could run actual programs not just "apps"? or had a super thin real keyboard built into it's magnetically attached cover? I keep forgetting that all you apple fans are such "individuals" that you adjust your productivity to fit whatever new product apple creates. I don't own an ipad because it can't do what I need to do on a mobile product. For my mom it's great, but it simply can't meet my demands. Surface is looking like it fills in the gaps. With the pro version able to run the software I need to be productive and the metro stuff too I'll be a happy camper. Lastly, don't even try to act like that thing ain't pretty.
    rclakeman
    • Well

      1. "..who cares what the oem's think?..."

      Agree.

      2. "Your really going to sit there and tell me you don't wish your ipad had an sd slot?"

      Yep, that's exactly what I'm going to tell you. What's more it's the truth.

      3. "...or could run actual programs not just "apps"?"

      Apps are actual programs, they're just spelt differently.

      4. ...or had a super thin real keyboard built into it's magnetically attached cover?

      Now this is cool, but let's see how good it is in real life. They should release an iPad version, it would sell really well.

      5. "Surface is looking like it fills in the gaps."

      That it does, for some people.

      6. "Lastly, don't even try to act like that thing ain't pretty"

      Looking from side on it aint real pretty, however, it is better than some I've seen.
      A Grain of Salt
      • Moron

        Apps are very limited programs on the iPad. Whereas the surface will run proper programs and games, AND it will run pointless apps just like the iPad. So what's better, running crappy little programs that serve only the purpose of annoying everyone around you or proper programs where you can actually get something done. Dude, your a mac fanboy and you just don't like the fact the iPad is about to go byebye.
        Drobilliard
    • Blame Microsoft for that

      By not allowing the OEMs to differentiate their products, Microsoft created the "Race to the bottom". In which things like "designs" are as bland as possible, to prevent the OEM from losing money on each computer sold. You don't stay in business long, when you lose money on each unit sold, just as the good folks at Nokia about that.
      Jumpin Jack Flash
      • What are you talking about?

        Do you have any knowledge about the OEM industry at all? I am guessing next to nil. Why don't we blame Microsoft for cancer and dust bunnies too.
        Your Non Advocate
    • Well, yes, actually!

      MY iPad DOES have an SD card slot, and it also has a USB JACK whenever I want it to...which turns out to be about 3 times per *year* for the SD.

      And, I use the USB jack (whose dongle stays neatly and easily on the USB cable) to connect my AKAI MIDI keyboard a few times a month whenever I want to sketch songs on the go.

      I haven't been crippled in the slightest, and I don't waste the HOURS of time I once did, fiddling with other products that were too fiddly to ever get productive on.

      I hope this Windows tablet works, though. Previous efforts by MSFT have been CRAP.
      lelandhendrix@...
      • USB and SD interfaces on the iPad

        I happen to own actually two USB/SD controllers, one made by Apple, another by some third party. The non-Apple are dirty cheap, like $2.50 on Amazon!

        Honestly, I used these things one one or two times, and this for experimenting how it works. Never, ever in real use I had to use these interfaces. I am so glad Apple didn't put them permanently on the iPad to server for:
        - an hole from where dirt can enter;
        - reduction of the internal space, better used for larger battery;
        - increasing the weight, even if with few grams.

        I have no trouble accessing all my files that reside on my desktop, laptop or any server on Internet from my iPad, wirelessly.

        My advice to those who think they absolutely need USB and SD slots on a tablet: do some research, try it, actually. You will find that despite your original assumptions, you don't need these.
        danbi
    • Boom

      I totally agree with you in every way possible. The dude who wrote this is clearly a parthetic little fanboy who wants to have a little cry about the fact that MS are trying to bring a good product to market. This is hardly a balanced review and the people who replied to you in a negative manor are idiots.
      Drobilliard
  • sounds like...

    sour grapes... just sayin'
    widow maker
  • A product doesn't exist, no shipping date...

    and scant technical details; is by definition vapourware.

    To be fair it has been very easy to take shoots at MS over the last couple of years, but this "event" is the best. Balmer has taken the company's incompetence to new heights.

    How irrelevant is a company that calls for events to announce nothing. I thought the Seinfeld ads stopped sometime ago, now the company is morphing into the comedy series (without the popularity).

    Elnator is a non-huge MS fan who is prepared to buy something that MS say they might deliver sometime in the future. What does it take to be a huge MS fan then?

    This stuff is priceless;-)
    Richard Flude
    • ANNOUNCING....

      OS X Server.... DOA
      MS-DOS Exchange... See NO Evil, etc
      PING.... WTF?
      APPLE TV.... Crickets chirping
      GAME SPROCKETS.... Steve J. still trying to "crack" that one
      Command-X.... Finder No See
      OS X on INTEL.... 2006 = 2000 = PPC = DOA = How many developers wasted how long on a technology Steve-O killed 6 years previously...
      YELLOW BOOK.... NOT the phone numbers... the COPLAND magic that came out in.... came out.... came....
      64-BIT QuickTime for Windows.... Apparently it takes Radiohead 24.7 years to count that far in binary
      SUGAR-FREE KOOL-AID for the MAC FAITHFUL.... "Drink up!" even though it's grammatically incorrect
      ZenZenPup
    • Please get you definitions straight

      Vaporware [quote]describes a product, typically computer hardware or software, that is announced to the general public but is never actually released nor officially canceled[/quote] (wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaporware)

      This product is tangible, journalists have had in-hand experience and a launch date (timeframe) has been announced (with the launch of Windows 8).

      You are trying to bend the definition of vaporware into meaning "announced but not yet released". It never meant that.
      honeymonster
    • Doesn't exist?

      I guess those tablets at the demo must have been imaginary. I guess Windows 8 must be vaporware too, since a shipping date hasn't been announced.
      Lester Young
    • On Microsoft popularity

      Richard, you are wrong! The comedy show performed by Microsoft over the past two decades has attracted quite a lot spectators. It's very popular.
      danbi