Windows Update is supposed to keep Surface RT shipshape, particularly Security Tuesday updates. But the January 8 bundle causes problems for some Surface users, and Microsoft acknowledges there is an issue.
In an offical statement given to BetaNews: "Some Windows RT customers who attempted to apply monthly security bulletins had issues installing updates. Specifically, impacted Windows RT devices went into connected standby mode during the installation of updates from Windows Update, causing Windows Update to be disrupted. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and are working to correct the issue".
When Microsoft launched its portable music player Zune in 2006 few thought it would be a serious contender to Apple’s iPod. The fact that it was a US-only release spoke volumes. It was a product the firm simply didn’t have enough confidence in for a global launch.
And now we’re faced with a similar launch strategy for Microsoft Surface Windows 8 Pro. Yesterday the Redmond, Wash.-based corporation announced the delayed slate will be "available for purchase on Feb. 9, 2013, in the United States and Canada at all Microsoft retail stores, microsoftstore.com, Staples and Best Buy in the US, as well as from a number of locations in Canada". And the rest of the world? There’s no word.
Nearly three months ago, Microsoft debuted the Surface RT tablet alongside its brand new operating system, Windows 8. Things have not been all-rosy since that fateful day in late October, and rumors of both failure and success run rampant. But all the while the company kept what is, perhaps, its trump card in hand -- the Surface Pro.
This is the tablet that Microsoft expects to be the big player, the one that will win over business users. Now we finally have some details about what to expect.
In late November, Tami Reller, Windows and Windows Live Division chief marketing officer, revealed that Microsoft was planning to launch the Surface Pro tablet "in January" 2013. However, seeing as the second half of the month is already underway, that doesn't give the tech giant long to get its product out there.
Fortunately prospective purchasers will be pleased to know they won't have long to wait now. Panos Panay, general manager of Microsoft Surface, tweeted yesterday that he was on his "way to the factory to check out Surface Pro", and that the Redmond, Wash.-based corporation will release the Windows 8 Pro tablet "in the coming weeks". Presumably that could mean either a late January or early February launch.
Microsoft pulled out of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas for 2013 and beyond. Maybe. Maybe not so much. The company was not entirely absent and some of the presence was not even stealthy. It started with CEO Steve Ballmer's surprise appearance on stage during the pre-show keynote address -- an event that Microsoft once owned, but this year belonged to Qualcomm.
In the middle of the presentation Ballmer walked on stage and proceeded to, not only endorse the Snapdragon chips, but to also show off some Windows Phone 8 devices and Windows 8 tablets. It may have seemed like a passing of the torch from the old guard to the new, but the Redmond, Wash.-based company did not stop there. Oh no.
Pulling out of trade shows worked just fine for Apple, but Microsoft’s decision to follow suit and drop out of the Consumer Electronics Show in 2013, and beyond, could have catastrophic consequences for the Redmond, Wash.-based company.
For years we have become accustomed to Bill Gates and, later, Steve Ballmer opening the show with THE keynote address. Now a company once considered by many as the most important in the industry has reduced itself to an afterthought.
For those used to cutting the rope or drawing "something", Microsoft Surface Pro is not going to be the tablet for you. Microsoft’s latest attempt to conquer the business end of the tablet market has left many puzzled as to why the software giant has priced a basically untested product right at the $900 mark, when the latest generation iPad starts at $499. They assume, perhaps understandably, that Surface Pro competes with Apple's pride and joy, yet they are wrong. Surface Pro is actually a miniaturized laptop trapped inside a tablet's shell.
For professionals and power users it doesn’t take long to realize that Surface Pro is as far away as possible from a basic consumer-oriented tablet. The dead giveaway is the processor and graphics card combination -- a third generation Core i5 CPU paired with an HD Graphics 4000 GPU, both made by Intel. Together they really shout from the top of their silicons: "We really come from PC technology!" The naysayers should therefore understand where Microsoft is actually going with Surface Pro -- towards professionals and power users, not the Cut The Rope or Draw Something crowd (although it can be used for that too).
To paraphrase Ferris Bueller, "Technology moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it". Smartphones and tablets are being updated, iterated and replaced so quickly these days. Take the iPad. Apple rolled out a new version in March, and then replaced it with a faster model in November. You’re never at the cutting edge for long, so you need to enjoy that moment while you can (not that it really matters if your tech devices are a generation or two behind, of course -- so long as they work and do what you need them to).
My colleague Alan Buckingham wrote the first of the BetaNews team’s personal tech retrospectives yesterday. Now it’s my turn.
Twenty-six days ago I asked "Will you buy Microsoft Surface Pro?" after pricing released and pundits gripe it is too high. They compared to iPad, which I argued then (and still maintain) isn't right: Microsoft smartly prices Surface Pro against MacBook Air and Ultrabooks. But do you agree? Based on responses to the poll, yes.
Quick recap: Microsoft plans to release the second Surface tablet, running Windows 8 Pro, next month. The model available since October 26 runs Windows RT and is priced against iPad. Surface RT starts at $499. Pro is either $899 or $999 for 64GB or 128GB storage, respectively. Users can't install legacy apps on RT but they can on Surface Pro, which Microsoft positions more for business users and anyone needing access to the more traditional Windows desktop. The company also expects Pro buyers to pay up for Office 2013; the Home version ships free on Surface RT.
Arriving far too late to influence any gift buying for Christmas, here’s my review of Surface with Windows RT. The tardiness of the review isn’t really my fault. Microsoft only put its device in proper shops in the UK last Friday, and I wanted to include the shopping experience as part of the article (even though I didn’t actually spend my own money -- a friend purchased the tablet I’m reviewing).
Before we get into the review, I need to preface it by saying the following: I love Apple’s iPad. I bought an iPad 2 as soon as it was released and replaced it with the new 4th gen model a month or so ago. And even though I use Windows 8 daily, I really don’t like the new OS all that much. So, inevitably, I’m going to hate Surface, right? Absolutely loath it. Well, that’s what I thought. But surprisingly I like it. I like it a lot.
The original iPad didn't excite me very much. In fact, I was confused what to do with it. Over time, I ended up using the iPad 2, and recently its successor. I’ve also tried the Blackberry PlayBook, the HP TouchPad, and more recently Google Nexus 7.
But, for the first time in a long time, I was very excited to get a tablet -- the new Microsoft Surface. I think Windows RT had a lot to do with it, and the touchscreen aspect.
Microsoft's plans to greatly expand Surface RT sales to third-party retailers accomplishes two things. One: Rebuts unfounded rumors that the tablet sells poorly or that the company has cut fab orders by half. Two: Makes the tablet available in enough places to be truly successful. Honestly, I am so fraking sick of so-called professional blogs (and some news sites) writing rumor stories based on a single source -- or worse using another site's report based on unnamed source(s).
Just a week ago, I explained why "Surface RT sales are probably quite good, you just don't know it". In a number-crunching analysis you shouldn't have missed, I refuted pundit claims sales are weak by looking from the perspective of actual distribution, which isn't much through 66 North American company shops or Microsoft Store online in seven countries. If Surface has any problem, it's limited distribution. Too bad the company waited so late in the holiday season to expand Surface RT availability.
What was Microsoft thinking? The software giant initiated a campaign on Twitter, dubbed #DroidRage, inviting Android users to share their "malware horror stories", only to have it backfire spectacularly shortly afterwards. A huge number of anti-Microsoft posts with the #WindowsRage hashtag appeared on Twitter and Google+, almost immediately.
The problem with the campaign, apart from the less-than-brilliant concept, is the timing. Criticism of Microsoft’s more recent products, such as Windows 8, Surface and Windows Phone 8, should have caused the company to lay low for a while. Instead, the firm unwittingly gave frustrated users of its new products a unified hashtag to rally behind.
The "Microsoft tablet is a failure meme" was old from the start. Every day there's some new blog based on rumor or innuendo assuring everyone who pays attention that Surface is doomed and sales are this side of worse than terrible. There is so much nonsense punditry, I don't know where to start. DigiTimes has unnamed channel sources saying Microsoft cut orders for the tablet by half. The report got widespread attention, despite the publication's record for getting this kind of story wrong. Along come the analysts. DFG slashed shipment estimates to between 500,000 and 600,000 from between 1 million to 2 million. Number was way too high to start. Now Tim Worstall, a Fellow at Adam Smith Institute, whines that Surface RT is way overpriced. It's not.
If Microsoft's tablet has a sales problem -- and let's strut that I-F again -- distribution is the reason. The product isn't overpriced or flawed. Microsoft only sells Surface through the company store; that's online and (by my count) 66 retail shops. Sixty stores are in the continental United States, five in Canada and another in Puerto Rico. There are only a limited number of places anyone can buy the tablet, which limits how many the company can sell. What matters more is how many Microsoft sells per store. Pundits crying "fail" are nincompoops of the nth degree. If any of them bothered to look at Apple Store, they would understand.
With the advent of advances in technology and the increasing power of process, we are witnessing a tremendous transition in the design of user experiences and interface design in software development. Of particular interest in this article is the culmination of natural user interface design as it relates to the current crop of touchscreen laptops made possible by Windows 8.
One of the things I have noticed as more and more tech sites review touchscreen laptops is the increasing amount of comments such as, "I would never touch a screen on a laptop" or "why would anyone ever need to touch a screen on a laptop?" The problem with the comments, the thinking is limited by mouse and keyboard. Windows 8 is the first operating system to force us to move beyond this thinking when it comes to using traditional computing devices like desktops and laptops.