Monthly Archives: December 2012

Microsoft Surface

At work we have a few Microsoft Surface devices that anyone can borrow and it was my turn to play with it over the last 4 days :)

I never owned a tablet and if you are wondering if I am itching to buy one now then read on 😉

The truth is that I mainly write apps for Windows ecosystem, mainly because I am good at C#, having said that I could be using C# to write apps for iOS and Android as well, but I find the license costs for MonoTouch and Mono for Android a bit prohibitive. Anyway, this is why I am more inclined to buy a Windows 8 tablet. Not because I would think that iPad or Android tablets are crap, purely being pragmatic here.

So I had Microsoft Surface at my disposal for the last few days and I realized I don’t really need a tablet. Whether I want one is a different question though 😉

I still found myself using my laptop more than the tablet. I suppose I am more of a creator than consumer and for someone who creates content the tablet world is still lacking. And TouchCover cannot replace a good keyboard and a great touchpad or a mouse.

I am in fact, writing this blog post on the TouchCover keyboard. I do think what Microsoft has done with it is ingenious, but still a compromise. Good for quickly typing away some notes, but a bit frustrating when writing longer texts. Still I think they have done a great job, good to see innovation like this coming from Microsoft, they have been horrendous at marketing their innovations in the past. And if you follow them a bit more closely there is lots of interesting things Microsoft Research is working on.

I think it would be nice if Surface had 3G or 4G connectivity as well and personally I see more value in a tablet running on Intel Atom Clover Trail platform.

No major complaints about the rest of the tablet. Windows 8 is a smooth OS, the build quality is awesome and the Windows store is growing fast in size too. Even though I never really understood the bragging about app numbers from all players in the market. I mean, how many of those apps are actually any good? Writing a good app is actually not that easy. It is not just about being a good developer, you have to know a thing or two about UX and marketing too.

My major complain is actually about the price of this thing and the price of tablets in general. I just don’t think a 32GB 10′ tablet should be priced above $400. And that extends to Apple products as well, while Android does have some products in this price range.

And I am unhappy about the unavailability of Windows 8 tablets in stores. I’ve read that Microsoft is unhappy with sales, but then again, even if you want a tablet (talking about tablets other than Surface here) they are incredibly hard to find. Some say this could be down to some issues Intel is having with their new Clover Trail SOC, OEMs say that the demand is low, others say that retailers just want to clear old Windows 7 stock first. Personally I think it is just a load of bullshit and Microsoft and OEMs need to get their act together.

So yeah, I won’t be buying a Surface. But I do want a tablet so I can test my creations. But I’ll resort to eBay in search of a bargain or just wait until there are some cheaper options on the market. I do hope someone comes up with a 7′ tablet in the near future. If it is priced between $300 – $400 I would buy one, that would be an ok price even though it would not see a lot of use apart from app testing and a little bit of browsing and video watching when I don’t have my laptop near me.