Wild Sighting: Microsoft Surface

I spied it gingerly. It was a couple seat away from me in the waiting area at the Southwest gate in the SanJose Airport. I wasn’t sure what it was at first, but I finally figured it out.

It was the first Microsoft “Surface” tablet that I had ever seen that wasn’t part of a store display. Someone was actually using it.  Not sure if it was the RT version, or the PRO version, but that seems of little import. He was using it for what almost all ipad or android tabled owners use it for, watching videos, and browsing the web.

Rumors had it that Microsoft had almost $1B in unsold inventory. Not surprising since they were late to the market, and they priced it closer to the iPad price point than the Android price point. Now they have announced the Surface 2. I wonder how long after launch of that it will be before I see on in the wild…

It is somewhat of a shame, as I played with one at a store, and I liked the metro interface. But it is most assuredly doomed.

I make contact with Windows 8

A week or so ago, my wife and I were shopping (at a local office supply store), and they had the two Microsoft Surfaces.  The RT which is ARM powered, and the other one (pro?) with a Core i5 and full windows compatibility.

The Microsoft Surface is surprisingly usable. Too bad it was far too late to compete.
The Microsoft Surface is surprisingly usable. Too bad it was far too late to compete.

I was expecting to be underwhelmed, but the Metro interface, and the responsiveness of the product was surprising.  Metro (the Windows 8) UI is well suited for touch interactions. The tiles are intuitive, and the system is quite snappy. As I played with it, I found it very well designed and easy to interact with.

I am not in danger of giving up my iPad, but if Microsoft launched this in 2010 at the same time as the iPad was launched, it might have had a chance. But now, it is too little too late, and the ship has sailed.

Shame, because it is a nice platform. I definitely like it better than the stock Android 4.2 on my Nexus7.

I also played with the laptops with Windows 8 (the wife was busy exchanging toner cartridges and finding the binders).  After playing with the Surface, it was impossible to not reach out and touch the display. Even though only about 1/4 of the demo units had touch screens.

While Metro is fine for the tablet, I am not sold on the desktop. Again, there is minimal risk of me abandoning my Mac’s anytime soon for a Windows 8 system.