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.
Third in a series. Each week we are looking at the best apps released for Microsoft's new operating system Windows 8. Today, we introduce new information to the format that informs you about potential compatibility issues with Windows RT. As you may know, apps released in Windows Store are always compatible with Windows 8 and Pro, but not necessarily with Windows RT, the version running on ARM hardware, such as Surface.
Not compatible with Windows RT indicates this if so. We also take a look at application updates and if they introduce exciting new features, include updated apps in the list. This week that's for instance the case with the Google Search app, which not only becomes compatible with ARM systems but also introduces YouTube video playback with an update.
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.
Microsoft has a longstanding tradition of promoting executives responsible for Windows soon after a new version releases. But in a stunning turnabout, Windows & Windows Live president Steven Sinofsky is finished, gone effective immediately, according to a late-evening announcement by Microsoft. To say I'm stunned is an understatement.
Sinofsky is the architect responsible for Windows 8 and RT, which launched on October 26. The backstory here must be something. Consider the timing, less than three weeks later. There's no transition. It's typical for Microsoft senior executives to go gracefully over X number of months following an announcement like this. Yet he's gone, as if fired or departed following a power play. I have no inside scoop at the moment, but will seek answers to the question many people will ask: "What now?" Sinofsky's departure forebodes during a crucial product launch.
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, Intel subsidiary Havok, an early Windows Phone supporter, announced its complete technology suite will be available to Windows 8, Windows RT and Windows Phone 8 game developers later in the year. Havok's middleware powers a tremendous number of the most popular video games.
Last June, Valve CEO Gabe Newell famously said Windows 8 would be "a catastrophe" for the PC industry, with specifically catastrophic results for the PC gaming industry. Blizzard's Executive Vice President of Game Design Rob Pardo added to Newell's comment, saying Windows 8 was "not awesome for Blizzard, either." Shortly thereafter, Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson expressed worry that a "locked down" Windows 8 would be "very very bad for Indie games and competition in general."
Friday, October 26, Microsoft released its highly anticipated Surface RT tablets to the masses. I was able to snag one of these devices and spent most of my weekend in the web browser reading reviews that questioned Microsoft’s so-called "curious inclusion" of the desktop. Perhaps I’m missing something but I don’t understand why there is so much angst about the desktop in RT. Some people don’t understand why the desktop is there but I think it makes complete sense.
To be fair, I really do understand that to other reviewers of RT the desktop is only limited to MS Office applications and few other MS included apps like Notepad. Additionally, RT does not allow x86 apps to run or even be installed. That being said, I get the feeling this limitation due to the platform running on the ARM architecture is temporary.
If you’re the proud possessor of a copy of Windows 8, or you rushed out today to buy a brand new touchscreen device with it pre-installed, the first thing you’re going to need to do is configure it to suit your needs, and install all of your favorite software.
You’ll probably want to make installing a better browser a priority (no offense Microsoft) and Google has designed a version of Chrome especially for the new OS, with some customizations for touch screens, including larger buttons and the ability to keep the browser open next to other apps.
Microsoft officially launched Windows 8 and Windows RT across the globe today. Along with the new operating systems, the Redmond, Wash.-based corporation also makes its branded Surface tablet available at all Microsoft 27 retail, 34 holiday and online stores across United States and Canada.
Microsoft Surface starts at $499in the United States, AU$599 in Australia, CDN$519 in Canada, EUR479 in Germany, EUR489 in France, and GBP399 in the United Kingdom for the 32GB version without the Touch Cover.
Windows 8, RT, and Surface launch at midnight. A scant fourteen hours before the new generation of operating systems becomes available to the general public, Microsoft is hosting a celebration at New York City's historic Pier 57. Your faithful skeptic Tim Conneally will be present at the event, liveblogging and keeping an eye out for any heretofore unseen news.
The event begins at 10am EST and lasts until 3pm EST. Check back here throughout the day for updates on Windows 8!