The tablet surface just got weirder. But wait, there's more.

I might have been wrong about Microsoft's tablet venture but I think we've only scratched the "Surface" with the concept.
Written by Ken Hess, Contributor on

Well, well, it looks like I was sort of wrong about Microsoft and its venture into the tablet world. I'm not too big to admit when I'm wrong*. I was partially wrong. They are producing a Microsoft-branded tablet but I was right that it's Windows 8. Xbox-based tablet? Seriously. Gewirtz is just trying to mess with all of us with that one. Good one, David. But, it was no more outlandish than the thought of Microsoft actually producing a branded tablet. I think it's a major error and it will likely not succeed. Think Zune. Think Bob. Think about some of the other Microsoft-branded products over the years that have failed. I can't think of them all right off but perhaps you can. Anyway, who cares about all that--the tablet space just got really, really weird.

Microsoft calls its new tablet, "Surface." I don't get it. I would have used some Windows-related name. Here are my top five ideas that are now too late for production. You should have tipped me sooner. In fact, there's a good message to all vendors, great and small. You need to notify me, Ken Hess, before you hit the drawing board with these things. I'll help you come up with names for them and I'll tell you where to send the check.

  1. The Pane
  2. The Muntin
  3. The Stile
  4. The Frame
  5. The Glaze

My personal favorite is The Pane. Let's try it.

Introducing Microsoft's new Pane.

No, that doesn't really work. OK, let's try another.

Be the first on your block to get Microsoft's Muntin tablet computer.

Mmm, maybe. It has that whole alliteration thing going for it.

Get yourself a Microsoft Stile.

Oh, I like that. Another for further testing.

Get tablet style with Microsoft's Stile.

Yep, that's a winner right there. Project Runway might use it with a name like Stile. Think about it. Make it work.

Frame the future of computing with Microsoft's new Frame tablet.

Not bad.

Microsoft's Glaze tablet. Blazing fast. Very affordable.

I feel Apple beginning to worry already. Come on. Any of those are better than the "iPad." The iPad is a lame name compared to my Microsoft ones.

Now, I guess Google needs to produce a Chrome tablet.

Sheesh, maybe I should delete that before they get an idea to do it. Wait, maybe a Google-branded tablet would be a great idea. Let me start again with an open letter to Google.

Dear Google:

Hey, this is Ken Hess. You know, the ZDNet guy who still hasn't returned the Chromebook you sent me months ago? Yeah, that's me. Yes, I still have it. Yes, it's in perfect condition. No, I haven't had a chance to get motivated enough to carry it to the Post Office. Sorry. It's on my "To Do" list.

Now, for the pitch.

I think you guys should produce a Google-branded tablet. A Chrome Tablet. In fact, I'd call it The Tab. Get it? Because your browser, Chrome, is tabbed.

Yes, I'd be glad for you to hire me to design and market it. I'll even star in the commercials. I have some fun ideas for those too. But, I'm saving those ideas until I hear from you about my new highly-paid position as lead designer and spokesman for The Tab. See? It just rolls off the keyboard and the tongue. The Tab. It works for me. And, it will for you as well.

Yours Truly,

Ken Hess Google Tab Lead Designer and Spokesperson

Clever stuff that. I know, right? It's a bummer that Hollywood still doesn't know about me. They need fresh ideas too.

I don't think that branded tablets are necessarily a bad idea but I still can't believe Microsoft is doing it. I'm shocked. Truly shocked. Are you shocked? And what do you think of the name, "Surface." I'm not really sold on it.

The better question is, "Are you going to buy a Windows tablet?"

Another is, "Are you going to abandon your Android-based tablet or your iPad for a Windows tablet?"

Is there going to be a Windows App Store?

There are so many questions about this whole new, brave new world of Microsoft. I'm confused. But, in the end, Microsoft made the decision that they thought would work for them. It will be an interesting year to see how it fares in the marketplace. I probably won't buy one but I'd like to see one. Microsoft, if you'll send me one, I promise I'll return it in good condition. Notice that I didn't say quickly but I will return it. Eventually.

But, seriously. Great ideas I got. And, when I get paid, I want one of those giant checks that lottery winners get. I just want to carry it into my bank and say, "Hey, can you cash a check this big?"

I know, I know. Ken, get a life.

*My wife and kids will dispute that statement but what do they know?

Editorial standards