Last week, Microsoft released pricing on Surface tablets running Windows 8 Pro: $899 (64GB), $999 (128GB). Controversy followed, with the Apple Fan Club of analysts, bloggers, reporters and other writers fanning the flames of misinformation (as they so often do). These nitwits say Surface Pro is overpriced, because iPad costs so much less. But iPad is the wrong comparison to make. I say Microsoft prices Surface Pro against MacBook Air and ultrabooks, which makes loads of sense when looking at the chip architecture (x86, not ARM), configuration (similar to MBA for cost) and operating system (developed for desktop PCs not mobile devices).
I rebutted loony iPad comparisons with post "Microsoft Surface Pro is NOT overpriced". Compared to MacBook Air or ultrabooks, Surface is competitively priced, which was my point -- that and getting sensible analysis out there. But properly priced against competing devices isn't the same as being right for your budget or what you're willing to spend. Apple commands a premium brand, for which people pay more, happily. Then there is ultrabook, which didn't lift PC sales during second and third quarters as Intel and its OEM partners hoped. The costlier laptops simply aren't selling well. Ultrabooks' failure to wow foreshadows big, potential sales problems for Microsoft, which brand doesn't carry the same price premium as Apple's.
Yesterday Microsoft officially unveiled the price of Surface with Windows 8 Pro. Shortly after the Redmond, Wash.-based corporation revealed another bit of key information which was previously missing from the spec sheet -- battery life.
Unlike it's Windows RT sibling, which actually manages to deliver relatively decent battery life, Surface with Windows 8 Pro only lasts roughly half as much according to Microsoft. Prospective buyers can expect between four to five hours of cordless operation if the former's results are of any indication. The reason for the unimpressive performance is undoubtedly the Intel Core i5 processor and high-definition 1080p display.
No sooner had Microsoft revealed the cost of self-branded tablets running Windows RT than doomsayers started crying pricing foul. The 64GB model will sell for $899, starting next month, and the 128 gigger for $999. I've seen several blog posts gleefully whack Surface Pro pricing as being way too high. They're wrong, in part by the Apple device comparison they make.
I asked Stephen Baker, NPD's vice president of industry analysis, about Surface Pro pricing, whether it's just right, too high or too low. "Interesting question though because most of what I have seen has compared it to the high-end iPad". But Microsoft has higher competitive ambitions: MacBook Air, and even Windows ultrabooks. That's the comparison I make and told Baker so. There, the tablet sits just fine. The company priced Surface RT against iPad. Surface Pro squares against Apple's thin-and-light laptop with 11.6-inch display.
When Microsoft announced the Surface product family a few months ago, I was immediately drawn towards Surface Pro, and not Surface with Windows RT. Imagine my disappointment when Microsoft went silent again after the revelation of the company's first entry in the tablet market. Essential information like price or availability were missing at that point in time, and it was shortly before launch of the device that Microsoft revealed anything meaningful.
There was no word on the Surface Pro though, until now. Tami Reller, Windows and Windows Live Division chief marketing officer, reveals at the Credit Suisse Annual Technology Conference 2012 that Surface Pro will launch in January 2013. Today, Microsoft also revealed pricing: $899 (64GB); $999 (128GB).
Last month Microsoft introduced Surface with Windows RT. The controversial tablet gathered plenty of criticism down the road, but there's one area where it has the potential to silence the naysayers -- product support lifecycle.
The Redmond, Wash.-based corporation revealed that Surface RT will be supported for little more than four years, starting January 24, 2013 until April 11, 2017. Interested buyers that plan on keeping the device for the long run should get some peace of mind, but it's not all good news at the moment. Microsoft has yet to reveal when product lifecycle ends for Windows RT, leaving room for interpretation whether the hardware support will end at the same time as the software.
I write this on my new least-favorite operating system: Windows 8. I knew when installing that I would have to use it as my sole OS. Spending equal amounts of time in Windows 7 and 8 (occasionally dipping into Ubuntu) just wouldn’t have worked. Windows 8 is a very different beast and takes time to master properly, and I knew I couldn’t do that if running its predecessor, too. This was the problem I had with the early releases of Windows 8 -- I just wasn’t committed enough.
This total immersion has worked well for me. Using Windows 8 is now a breeze. I zip around using keyboard shortcuts where possible, and I jump between the desktop and Modern UI without thinking about it. But here’s the thing: I still don’t like Windows 8.
Another Thanksgiving arrives here in the United States, and some people consider what they have to be grateful for. I celebrate by talking turkey, not just eating it, about the companies I cover. It's tradition, going back to 2006, that I present the things Microsoft should be grateful for.
Last year, 11 items made the list, keeping with the 2011 theme. For 2012, I reduce the list to eight; my hat tip of respect to Windows 8, which launched nearly a month ago. There are many more things Microsoft could be grateful for, but I chose some that might not readily come to mind. The list goes from least to most important.
Dell earnings announcement set off some concerns that the PC industry may not recover and as a result some are predicting Windows 8 sales may not be quite satisfying to Microsoft. Could the software giant have seen this coming a mile away?
A mobile future means that traditional PC hardware like laptops and ultrabooks will yield sales to a new generation of PC form factors like hybrids and tablets that are highly mobile, yet just as capable as laptops and ultrabooks, tablets like the Surface. Microsoft knew mobile was the future and prepped for it, here’s why.
Our own Robert Johnson might love his Microsoft Surface tablet, but HP's head of PC, Todd Bradley, isn’t quite so keen. In an interview with IDG Enterprise, Bradley dismisses Microsoft’s foray into the PC hardware market claiming he doesn’t see the new tablet as a threat.
"I'd hardly call Surface competition", he says, before going on to explain his reasons. "One, very limited distribution. It tends to be slow and a little kludgey as you use it. I just don't think it's competitive. It's expensive." He also states that consumers haven't taken to the Windows RT tablet either. "Holistically, the press has made a bigger deal out of Surface than what the world has chosen to believe. If you want to go to any of the 30 Microsoft Stores in the United States to buy one, I think you should probably do that".
I’ve spent the past couple of weeks reading review after review of Microsoft Surface. I feel like 90-percent of them were not written for me. You see, I’m your average user. I’m the average Joe user with a strong interest in the field of technology. I don’t care about pixel densities, or all the other niggles on performance tech geeks fight about all the time.
What matters to me: Does a particular device allow me to not only consume content but create it as well. And Surface accomplishes those two goals tremendously well. I write this review on a Surface RT using Microsoft Word in Office 2013.
I’ve been thinking about getting a new tablet for a while. Although there’s nothing physically wrong with my iPad 2, I’ve been itching for a bit of new tech in my life and there are some truly excellent choices available this year, including the newer "new" iPad, the iPad mini, Microsoft Surface, and the Google Nexus 7 and Nexus 10. All of which are definitely worth considering.
A friend let me borrow his Nexus 7 for a week, during which time I realized a small tablet was not for me, so that also ruled out the iPad mini. The Nexus 10 looked appealing, and so was on my shortlist. Microsoft Surface I discounted because even though I now use Windows 8 daily, I still don’t really like it and the current lack of great apps for Surface is a bit of a deal breaker. Maybe in the future…
This afternoon I got my first look at Microsoft's Windows RT tablet at the company store here in San Diego. I wanted to drop by for two weeks, but simply couldn't make time. Today, my daughter needed a ride to Fashion Valley Mall; she's got a new job there. That gave me 90 minutes free time for Microsoft Store -- oh, and four doors down Apple, too.
I am pleasantly surprised by my initial reaction, which quite simply is "wow". This starkly contrasts with my negative response to iPad mini. (But the Apple Store jaunt to see the tablet can wait a few paragraphs.) Surface's display is bright, clean, clear and crisp. Font rendering is superb, particularly given resolution is only 1366 by 768. The tablet is fast and touch-response exact and fluid. Presentation of default apps, such as MSN and weather, pop. They look exceptionally good, and Microsoft serves up lots of rich touchy, feely additional content throughout. Presentation gets A-plus.
As my colleague Tim Conneally recently reported, Microsoft Surface with Windows RT does not allow users to take advantage of the total amount of advertised storage. On Reddit Ricardo Lopez, Test Manager for Surface RT, announced that customers can still take advantage of more than 20GB of free space, but the Redmond, Wash.-based corporation begs to differ.
Microsoft added a "Surface disk space FAQ" on its website in order to officially shed some light as to the amount of free internal storage that is left after the operating system and apps take their cut. As it turns out after all the math is done, there are dramatic changes. The 32GB Surface with Windows RT only has 16GB of free storage, while the 64GB version allows users to take advantage of 46GB, 30GB more than its less expensive brother.
Microsoft Surface with Windows 8 Pro is a pricing mystery. The Redmond, Wash.-based corporation revealed the price for the ARM-powered branded tablet, but left its more powerful counterpart --the one equipped with Windows 8 Pro-- unpriced. But recently, information on the latter surfaced on a German website.
Microsoft Surface with Windows 8 Pro was introduced to the Notebook.de "Surface tablet" lineup, and it is currently available for pre-order in two storage options. Pricing for the entry-level model that comes with 64GB of internal storage starts at EUR809 including VAT (Value Added Tax), and the version with 128GB of internal storage runs for 909EUR including VAT. The 64GB Microsoft Surface with Windows RT runs for EUR699 on the same German website.
Today, Microsoft kicked off its second BUILD. Last year's event replaced the Professional Developers Conference. This year marks a change in venue, from Los Angeles to Redmond, Wash. and comes amid, rather than before, a flurry of new Microsoft products. Windows 8 launched October 26, Windows Phone 8 yesterday and Office 2013 is released to manufacturing and available to developers and corporate customers. There's Windows Server 2012 and more either out the pipeline or coming down it.
Microsoft is determined to woo developers to its new stuff and accompanying platform changes. During today's Day 1 keynote, attendees learned about the schwag: Surface RT 32GB and Nokia Lumia 920 smartphone. Consider them tools of the trade, for creating and testing new applications. Microsoft also slashed developers' fee for Windows Phone to $8 from $99. That is for just eight days.