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Microsoft Surface: A road to uknown

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Dale Davies ▼ | June 22, 2012
Microsoft is trying to enter "touch & tablet" market, making a high bet on its new operating system. The company unveiled its Surface tablet but the device is unpolished, OS clumsy and full specs yet to be defined.
Microsoft Surface
Microsoft SurfaceMicrosoft is trying to enter "touch & tablet" market, making a high bet on its new operating system. The company unveiled its Surface tablet but the device is unpolished, OS clumsy and full specs yet to be defined.


The stage has been chosen well: Hollywood, the home of celebrities, is the perfect starting place for a device that aims to become a celebrity itself. Unfortunately, it seem that everything else was wrong. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer looked like he came to the stage with a gun at his back, and it soon became obvious that Microsoft is chasing Apple and Google and is forgetting that unfinished products are not selling well.

Microsoft SurfaceSurface is called "A New Family of PCs for Windows", so let's take a look what it has to offer. It's "conceived, designed and engineered entirely by Microsoft employees" (not sure that's something to be put forward), and it's Microsoft's vision of what modern computer should be. It does look OK, sports a full-sized USB port and a 16:9 screen aspect ratio which means it's suitable for HD. A nice touch are edges angled at 22 degrees, that gives a smooth look and fits nicely in hands.

The casing of Surface is created using VaporMg, a combination of material selection and process to meld metal and deposit particles that creates a finish akin to a luxury watch. Starting with magnesium, parts can be melded as thin as 0.65 mm, thinner than the typical credit card, to create a product that is thin, light and rigid/strong. So far, so good.

Microsoft SurfaceAnother nice feature is an integrated kickstand. It allows you to transition Surface from active use to passive consumption. The three millimetres Touch Cover represents a step forward in human-computer interface. It uses a pressure-sensitive technology sensing keystrokes as gestures, and enabling you to touch type fast. It will come "in a selection of vibrant colours", so the younger public is the obvious target.

While unveiling such an important device, the company present just a few more details. Two models of Surface will be available: one with an ARM processor and Windows RT, and another with a third-generation Intel Core processor and Windows 8 Pro. Surface for Windows RT will release with the general availability of Windows 8, and the Windows 8 Pro model will be available about 90 days later.

Microsoft SurfaceAnd that's it. How much it will cost, what is Microsoft paying to build it, what exactly does it mean "our ecosystem"? We don't know. Taking all into account, Surface is a nice gadget - and we don't know what to do with it. Windows 8 has been taken down by all reviewers, nobody is ready to touch the PC screen, keyboard and mouse are still better in many tasks... Microsoft Surface should be called "a prototype" because without software and developers' support it will remain just that.


 

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