• Alfiejr

    great piece!

    of course nothing worked because nothing was ready to work yet. duh. that’s ok, this was an “announcement.” but not, as many faux web “journalists” hyped, a “launch” or “demo.” tech web “journalism” these days is pathetic.

    and the ultimate irony is, by the time the Surface hits the market this fall, a very similar touchpad/cover keyboard for the iPad will already be on sale from a couple of third party accessory makers. there are already over two dozen iPad bluetooth keyboards on the market today, and they’ll knock this sucker off in two months. ah, turnabout is fair play!

  • Takeshi Young

    Great review.  Interested to get my hands on one of these.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jgirmesjr James E Grimes Jr

    If they do not have enough confidence in their own product to show it to members of the press, then why should I have enough confidence to spend my money on their product.

  • Relentlessfocus

    Sad but seemingly accurate commentary on the state of tech news reporting.

  • fjpoblam

    Was it just an event to give a little jolt to MSFT prices?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000263408996 Shane Klingonsmith

    Jerk is right.  If journalists could be trusted to respect the host’s limits on what they were willing to share (screen resolution in this case), I am sure they could have let each of you play with one for an hour.  You reap what you sow. 

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    Shane, how on earth am I supposed to know what those limits are? I mean, it wasn’t like they handed me the device and said “don’t do anything.” They didn’t say that to anyone. They just didn’t let you do things. That’s actually jerk-like. Who on earth has a big event, has the CEO specifically say he’s looking forward to all the journalists he’s invited to seeing the product more closely, and then comes up with unknown, unspoken and unvoiced rules.

    There was exactly one single rule they gave out. No video. No problem, I followed that. There were no rules about what we could touch, what we could do with a device if handed to us, nada — except for whatever they decided they wanted to make up on the fly.

  • md.arman uddin

    But why Danny, why don’t do any thing???

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  • http://twitter.com/CocoaPriest Konstantin Gonikman

    look! I created a super-flat keyboard for the iPad. Yes, it works. No, you can’t try it. I’ll decide on pricing later http://cl.ly/0c1U1O0U1I2g0y2Y010n

  • http://twitter.com/benlanders benlanders

    @dannysullivan:disqus  If your bike really does have a kickstand, you shouldn’t tell anyone. ;-)

  • http://twitter.com/jmcomms Jonathan Morris

    I like it – especially the ability for the keyboard to store visual notes on the underside. In fact, that’s actually more functional than the non-functional Surface keyboard Danny was shown…

  • W3PYF

    Truly excellent reporting! As I sit here typing into my “new iPad” with my ZAGGfolio keyboard/case, and looking at the images in your article, I keep wondering if anyone actually attempted to use the Surface configuration where I find my iPad keyboard/case so valuable: a) small center-seat tables in economy class, b) on my lap in waiting rooms and boarding areas, c) tiny restaurant and food court table space, etc. That kickstand would be useless in all those settings, without which I can’t see how the keyboard would work – and the extended keyboard with a touchpad would demand more real estate than the various iPad/keyboard options on the market, most of which don’t require more real estate than an iPad laid flat.

    More to the point, in listening to Ballmer’s presentation, I was struck by the disconnect of one major statement about the intent of the Surface as a “content creation” vs. “content consumption” tool. Actually, in business, tablets – iPads – are used as CONTENT PRESENTION devices – which explains why Fortune 1000 companies are purchasing them them by the thousands. In industry today, iPads don’t compete with laptops or desktops – they compete with paper sales aids and brochures as dynamic presentation devices that incorporate slides, videos, spreadsheets etc – and enable a rep to customize a presentation “on the fly” to a prospect. And in many highly competitive markets like pharmaceuticals (my area), they eliminate reps leaving behind paper which can end up in the marketing – or legal – departments of a competitor.

    Which leads me to the final point about content presentation: The very last thing most corporate legal departments want is employees at any level freelancing “content creation” that doesn’t pass their review before being shown to a prospect or customer.

    My conclusion from your article, and Ballmer’s talk, is that the Surface is more like those inflatable tanks and airplanes used during World War II to fool Axis reconnaisance into thinking the allies had more resources than they really had.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    You haven’t seen my bike :)

  • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

    You really wanna use the classic desktop without a mouse? :)

  • http://www.jeremymorgan.com/ Jeremy Morgan

    I agree with Danny here. Journalists and bloggers are what make or break you these days, and they need to be trusted and respected a bit more than that. As a company you shouldn’t invite them to see your new toy and build free buzz then keep it away from them. Too many options on the table here, and a market that’s going to be tough to break into. If I were in that spot I’d be treating my early adopters much better. 

  • http://www.jeremymorgan.com/ Jeremy Morgan

    I certainly don’t, but I think a flip down keyboard on a tablet is better than an onscreen one. 

  • http://twitter.com/martyplumbo Marty Plumbo

    Clearly these things aren’t nearly as ready as they should have been for an event like this.  But still, if M$ can get them out the door built right, they could be pretty darned nice things to own and use.  Nice enough to maybe even make Win8 servicable while we wait for it to grow up into Win9.

  • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

    I dare not say that I’ve used external Apple wireless keyboards with the iPad in this thread. ;)

  • http://www.motmaitre.com Motmaitre

    Yes, Snarky, the kickstand is a big deal. Since the first tablet was announced, I have wondered why nobody has thought to include one. It’s a bloody tablet- you can’t hold it 100% of the time. A laptop can rest with an upright screen- a tablet needs a stand. Even Apple realised this with their cover that allowed the iPad to stand upright or at 45 degrees for typing.

    So yes, the kickstand is a big deal. Don’t be silly. You should instead be asking why it doesn’t hold the tablet at 45 degrees for writing on.

    Which brings me to the other killer feature you failed to mention- the stylus. Many people love to write and draw on their tablets. Tablets are IDEAL for pen-based input. The iPad however, is useless in this regard. So this feature is a big deal. You should have mentioned it.

    Altogether too much snark and too little substance in this article.

  • Truthhz

    Seriously? Microsoft has been making keyboards for 17 years, and they’ve sold millions of them. I wouldn’t bet against that device.

  • Truthhz

    Nice article, but nobody is looking at the situation from Microsoft’s point of view.
    Windows 8 hardware and software won’t be released until October. They could have waited till Oct. to show finished tablet, but why let the tech press control your message for the next 4 months? 
    Microsoft shows people their vision for the future, and gets free buzz from the press as they debate price, specs and release date of device. It’s better that people complain about vaporware than lack of vision. 
    Now MS can openly discuss tablet with OEMs and retailers without worrying about leaks.

  • Goofball_Jones

    I wouldn’t tell all the artists that use the iPad with the variety of 3rd party styluses out there. I guess some people are still hanging on to the 2 year old belief that the iPad is for “consumption only”. 

    As for the kickstand, it’s really no big deal. Seriously. Really, it’s no big deal. Like, what if you wanted to stand it up in portrait mode? You’d have to do it with a third party case or stand, just like you would do with the iPad. You see, with the iPad, you don’t HAVE to use Apple’s cover. There is a whole industry built around this thing with cases with keyboards and built in and stands to let you place it in any orientation you wish, at any angle you want. With a built-in kickstand, you’re stuck with the way they want you to do it (unless you go 3rd party, in which case, having a kickstand is pretty pointless). It is NOT like a laptop where you can adjust the screen to any angle. The kickstand comes out on this thing, and that’s that. So really, I don’t see how anyone could consider this a “selling point”. 

  • Truthhz

    Your Zagg iPad keyboard/case adds almost an inch thickness and adds over a pound of weight. You also need to recharge the keyboard. Not ideal at all.
    Ironically, Mary Branscombe did attempt to type on keyboard while it was placed on her lap. She definitely one-upped Danny Sullivan there.

  • http://www.motmaitre.com Motmaitre

    The iPad is absolute, utter crap for stylus input. Don’t let your fanboyism blind you to the fact. Those hideous, blunt capacitive styluses are a hack that no serious stylus uses. Which isn’t surprising because Steve Jobs hates styluses. Windows with Wacom has been the gold standard for people who know about styluses and tablets. And Microsoft seems to have made a stylus as good as Wacom.

    And the kickstand may not be perfect (I mentioned that it doesn’t allow 45 degree angles for writing/drawing) but it is still better than any other tablet out there including the iPad. Why? Because it’s the only tablet that has one. And it is good enough for many use
    cases, including mine.

    So stop with the silly Microsoft hate and Apple worship, and give credit where it is due. On these parameters at least- stylus, kickstand and full desktop OS- Surface smokes the iPad hands down.

  • http://twitter.com/janlarsson Jan Larsson

    Also I think the comparisons with iPad is understandable but I think the real deal is Google. Not only are they (rumor) putting out their own tablet, they are also (rumor again) attacking the Azure market. 

    And a few weeks ago they bought a small company with expertise in reading MS-Office document formats. Did they know the Surface was coming and preparing to deal with the main selling point of the Surface … compatibility with Office?

  • budanski

    this piece from techpinions lays it out… http://techpinions.com/the-apple-ipad-tablet-vs-the-microsoft-surface-anti-tablet/7363

  • JohnDoey

    If you want Windows or a file system on your iPad, there are apps for that. (OnLive Desktop, Air Sharing, respectively.)

    Wintel tablets did not even sell when they had zero competition — and they had file systems then, too. There is simply no demand for those features. Most people can’t work Windows Explorer at a desk, with a mouse — never mind while on-the-go. And most people hate Windows and are glad that era is over.

  • JohnDoey

    I’m not sure if you are an optimist or a nihilist.

  • JohnDoey

    The keyboard is only as interesting as the latest iPad accessory. A novel keyboard comes out every week.

    The Surface device itself is where the question marks are. Surface Pro is irrelevant — Wintel tablets could not sell when they were the only tablet. Now, the 4 hour battery life of Surface Pro will get the unit returned as defective by iPad users. Surface RT is the only important product here. But is has only 100 apps, all demo quality. It has only 4 points of touch and has a low-res display — iPad has 11 and a high-res display — and you have to run Windows to develop for it. Consumer app makers do not run Windows. Everyone is on the Mac for iOS, Web, or Mac development, and even many Java coders are on Macs. Even Google is 75% Macs.

    So your time card software may run on Windows RT next year or the year after.

    The irony is, you are pulling up a DOS box on a tablet — I have all my favorite DOS apps running on my iPhone since about 2010, all with touch interfaces.

  • JohnDoey

    There are probably over 1000 custom-designed mechanical keyboards for iPad, as well as probably 10,000 more that just work with it. Same keyboards also work with iPhone. That is OS X in both devices. It supports all Bluetooth and USB keyboards.

    Onscreen versus mechanical keyboard is a user choice. It does not recommend one device over another. Most people type very, very little. If that is not you, then I would expect you to buy a keyboard with your tablet, no matter what brand of tablet you choose.

  • JohnDoey

    Actually, if his keyboard case FUNCTIONS in the scenarios in which he needs to access computing, then the inch and recharging don’t matter. A Surface flopping around on a tray table for an 8 hour flight does not redeem itself by being 0.25 inches thinner when carried. Further, if he did find the inch and recharging to be too much, there are many, many thinner, smaller keyboards for iPad.

    You can also save gas if you replace your car’s bodywork with cardboard. The reason it is not cardboard already is the extra weight and thickness of your car’s body is required for functionality.

    Keep in mind, NOBODY complains that their iPad is not mobile enough. Pound for pound it is the most computing you can get. Surface has to be as mobile as iPad or more just to sit at the table. Once there, it has to actually compete and win customers. What does Surface DO? What does it do better than an iPad? What can an iPad do that Surface cannot do? And vice versa. Those are the important questions.

    iPad has been running a Windows 7 Desktop via cloud account for over a year, which saves battery life compared to bringing the Intel chip with you. iPad has a ton of keyboards. Surface RT has 100 apps and therefore can do almost nothing. It’s a very stark comparison unless you are distracted by the keyboard and the vapor.

  • JohnDoey

    The host’s limits here were “do not use it” and the host was the one who was rude for inviting people to a “hands-on” and then setting those limits.

    Also, the host did an Apple-style event, after which, Apple does a hands-on where the journalists get to use the device for 10–20 minutes. And the devices are not only switched on, they have a selection of 3rd party apps to test, they have photos, music, movies to test. That is the expectation in mobile, because these are not generic PC’s that all run Windows. Telling us it is nGHz doesn’t mean anything.

  • JohnDoey

    After 4 months, even Farhad Manjoo will have realized he no longer wants a Surface.

    And there will be keyboard covers for iPad that look like that within 3 weeks.

    We have a global communications network now. Real time. Wireless. Once you release a great product, the users talk about it and do your PR for you. People love to share the NEWS. The news is never 4 months old. iPhone was one of the few exceptions, because it was a legitimate year-long news story. Surface is 2 weeks at most.

  • JohnDoey

    You can hold iPad 100% of the time, but for most people, it is only 90%. How it works when not held is not that big a deal.

    The reason kickstands are not included is that one size does not fit all. Surface sits at only one angle, and only horizontal. There are thousands of custom solutions for iPad that mount it in every possible way. The iPad is just a platform — the user adds 1 or 2 hardware accessories and 25 apps before they even really get started. But everybody chooses different accessories according to their needs.

  • http://twitter.com/Fourthletter58 Fourthletter58

    Google Docs is already compatible with MS Office – the company they bought just works really well on Android.

  • http://twitter.com/Fourthletter58 Fourthletter58

    Archos Android tablets have had kickstands for years – it is not a new concept.

  • http://twitter.com/Fourthletter58 Fourthletter58

    Full colour management came to Windows with Vista – I have no idea what you mean by saying Windows has no typography – I suspect you don’t either.
    Illustrator, Photoshop all run on Windows – identically to the Mac and until CS6 came along you could not even use 64Bit Adobe apps on a Mac. The illusion that Windows needs support and Macs don’t is total BS – stop drinking the Kool Aid.

  • http://twitter.com/Fourthletter58 Fourthletter58

    iOS not OS X – they share a kernel but are clearly different OSs. You don’t need OS X to use a bluetooth keyboard , Android and every other OS supports bluetooth keyboards and mice as well as USB ones – and yes on Android Honeycomb or ICS you can use a mouse with a cursor.

  • http://ARMdevices.net/ Charbax

    There are still some bugs, I’ve seen some, that is why they don’t let people touch them yet.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/MUM2LTEHIJUWN5JSPHX57XIGJE Iain

    Windows with Wacom? Desktop OSes with Wacom maybe. Most artists use Macs for historical and other reasons, and Wacom works perfectly with Macs. I’d be amazed if the MS stylus supports tilt, rotation etc. as the fancier Wacom tablets do.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/MUM2LTEHIJUWN5JSPHX57XIGJE Iain

    The typography engine on Windows is very different to the engine on Mac and iOS. The Mac is more like print, trying to look “smoother”, while the Windows engine tries to work with the limited resolution and look “sharper”. It’s a huge difference, one in which the Mac comes out looking better as resolutions get higher. (Personally, I can’t stand reading on a Windows box.)

    Also, Photoshop has been 64 bit on the Mac since CS5 in 2010, and colour management has been on the Mac since 1993.

  • Goofball_Jones

    Oh, okay…not sure where you’re getting that I “hate” microsoft and worship Apple. I guess you equate liking something as “worship”. 

    I’m intrigued by Windows 8 and Surface. I welcome it. Competition is good for everyone. But no, having a kickstand is idiotic. Seriously, if you’re thinking that it’s some great advantage with your silly “it is still better than any other tablet out there”, then that speaks volumes as to where you’re coming from. You claim that, for whatever reason, of me being a fanboy and “blind”, yet you then turn around and spout off blatant fanboyism for something that DOESN’T EVEN EXIST YET. You do realize this, yes? How could you possibly write that Surface smokes anything yet? Though it seems something has been getting smoked, that’s obvious. 


  • CharlesKGim

    It was their OS, their device and their presentation. They could have easily “turned off” access to certain things and kept the features locked for users without any rights. I don’t understand why they didn’t do that and let you guys take a poke around. I am thinking because they want to get their device and Windows 8 out there generating buzz even though its not ready for prime time. They may as well take their time, come out with a product that people want and people WILL buy it. 

  • CharlesKGim

    I agree with you for the most part but I love Windows 7. I think its their best OS to date. 

  • CharlesKGim

    I agree that tablets are growing and Apple is the king of the hill but I don’t ever see Windows going away. Desktops are inexpensive, powerful and last for years. I have had a few Dells last me over 5 years. I think the iPad came out probably that long ago and look how people buy new ones just to have new ones. Most people don’t have that kind of money and even if they did its unwise to buy something new just to say its new if you don’t need it. I think Windows market share is still like in the 80’s also. To say that era is over doesn’t reflect reality imho. 

  • Truthhz

    You’re asking the wrong question. A Surface tablet is a Mac Air and iPad combined. We’ll see who’s right this October.

  • Truthhz

    “4 hour battery life of Surface Pro”  
    “4 points of touch”

    If you want to advocate for the iPad that’s fine, just try telling the truth.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Vera-Comment/100002347335999 Vera Comment

    the original iphone was announced in Jan 2007. Shipped that summer. press got hands on. HANDS ON. really. prices and ship date announced.

    http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/01/09/some-hands-on-time-with-the-iphone/ipad announced 2007, shipped april – again, hands on and prices and ship dates announced.http://www.engadget.com/2010/01/27/apple-ipad-first-hands-on/lack of hands on, ship dates and price gives you press like the article you just read.I think this whole dog and pony show was (hastily) put together to preempt the nexus at goog i/o

  • Jurassic

    “And there will be keyboard covers for iPad that look like that within 3 weeks.”

    Actually there have been excellent thin keyboards for the iPad for a very long time. One that is quite impressive is the thin Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover that also acts as a magnetic Smart Cover. It is thin but has real, useable keys, and it is solid (not floppy like the Surface keyboards) so that you can use it on your lap just like a notebook computer.

  • Arif Aboobacker

    Haha… very interesting to see people blame fanboyism and then go up in flames themselves. The kick stand is probably the most worthless thing to have on a tablet. These microsoft guys have not yet understood what a tablet is. They are trying their best to make a laptop out of it. Stylus, kickstand, Desktop OS… lets just still call anyone who doesnt praise it a fanboy shall we? :D

  • Mitchell Sternbach

     Keyboard or not- it’s still Windows, that nightmare that geeks and alien species (compared to myself) somehow.. tolerate.

    As always: “Village Idiot With a Mask On.”

  • Mitchell Sternbach

     Not… saying… much. I remember a handful saying that about Vista. Why so desperate?…

  • http://profiles.google.com/friiduh Fri 13

    @twitter-147338062:disqus  Both, iOS and OS X share same XNU operating system (what has Mach microkernel, I/O Kit, BSD parts for filesystem and network protocols etc). And XNU is even 100% open source and free software operating system. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/5UQW3RW2IRV5AHYUK6YXVYUPQE James

     After vista anything would look good.  I agree though, win 7 is pretty good.  I had it on my laptop I just bought for a few days to play with it.  I’ve wiped it and installed Ubuntu Studio now which I love but Win 7 wasn’t bad.

  • obarthelemy

    This piece is somehow pitiful:

     “Now, the Microsoft guys were rambling on about all the awesome stuff that makes these keyboards work as well — if not better — than a real keyboard,”. No they didn’t. They compared it to a *touch* keyboard. What’s the point of you going to events if you don’t even understand what’s being said there ?

    “My Bike Has A Kickstand Too; That’s Not Why I Bought It”. Except your bike’s kickstand is for when you are *not* using it; a Tablet’s kickstand is for when you *are* using it, in my case I have 4 stands around my house for 1 tablet, and use it on a stand about 99% of the time… it makes sense to just include it in the tablet.

    If you need anymore help about context and listening comprehension, you might wish to consult a cognition specialist.

  • http://twitter.com/toraharris Tora Harris

    The touch cover demo was not real. Look at it in slow motion: 
    Someone back stage was queuing the onscreen graphics while Panay was pretending to type. Maybe the touch cover will work, but this demo was fake. This is why no reporter was allowed to test the cover. Should be called the Vapor Cover.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/5UQW3RW2IRV5AHYUK6YXVYUPQE James

     You aren’t MS though.  MS is used to bullying both it’s customers and competitors in the Desktop market and getting it’s way.  In the handheld computing space it can’t bully Google and Apple so they have to compete.  It’s not something they are used to.  I’m not sure they even know how. 

  • aergern

    It’s their OS, their device and their presentation .. BUT it is Sullivan’s time as well as the rest who showed up for a dog and pony show. There is SO much tech out there today that Microsoft needs them more then they need Microsoft. Microsoft NEEDS some good press because of Win8 isn’t the cat’s meow then they really have become an also ran on the desktop that folks really just keep around for DirectX games. End of story.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/5UQW3RW2IRV5AHYUK6YXVYUPQE James

     It could happen.  Vista was the beta version of Win 7.  Maybe Surface is the beta of something that actually will work?

  • obarthelemy

    Archos have a kickstand in their tablet already.

  • YourLittleBrother

    In 1990, I bought a computer to run Windows on.  I did this because all the tech journalists raved about it.

    I could never get Windows to run properly on that computer, and I spent way too much time and money trying to get it to work.

    About when Windows 3.1 starting coming out, so did a bunch of tech journalist articles confessing what I had long discovered: basically Windows 3.0 worked terribly, with tons of blue screens, and could not really be used reliably.

    Tech journalists.  Bottom of the barrel and with no ethics or common sense whatsoever.

  • obarthelemy

    I don’t understand how the kickstand would be useless in the settings you describe 

  • obarthelemy

    Oh my, I put a comment about how MS was NOT comparing the keyboard to a real one, but to touch keyboards, and how the bike kickstand analogy is way off the mark, and the comment got yanked. Someone doesn’t like being called out !

  • Jim Ward

    Yeah, Windows 7 is a properly good OS.  And that’s as near to a consensus you’ll find.  8, now, hmmm.  No great desire to check it out.

  • W3PYF

    The whole iPad and Zagg together measure just an inch. I’ve recharged the keyboard once in 3 months – it takes the same micro-USB connector as I use to charge my iPhone “Boostcase.” It weighs 19 ounces, because it’s a real keyboard – not a cover with keys that I am sure a dozen or more Chinese companies will bring out for the iPad well before anyone sees a Surface in the wild. Its footprint is essentially the same as the iPad. And when I don’t want it, I just slip the iPad out. 

    Tilt a 1-lb tablet and see what it takes to balance it on its footprint. Microsoft couldn’t make the kickstand work at the press conference! Guess why.The point of this article is that, in reality, no one but Microsoft knows crap about what a production Surface will be like, what it will cost, how long it will run on battery power, or when it will come to market. Or even IF. The post-press conference “clarifications” suggest Microsoft may have gotten a series of middle-finger salutes from their Windows 8 partners. Microsoft makes a 60% margin on software, and barely breaks even on Xbox. Its stock price shows where the smart money – not the anti-Apple forces – think the company will go even if Surface becomes as successful as the Xbox.

  • W3PYF

    Read JohnDooey’s response – and mine. The thin, light Surface keyboard plus kickstand isn’t a serious solution to inputting with a tablet, unless you have a perfectly flat space 16-18 inches deep. That knickstand is a joke when you’re balancing it on your knees in a boarding lounge, or on an airplane tray.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Walter-V-Jeffries/100000226759804 Walter V. Jeffries

    People, you do know there is a real keyboard for the iPad. Right? One from Apple. A bunch from other companies. I have the Apple one. Excellent feel. Oooo… So, Microsf, what’s the big deal again? Playing catch up and still can’t catch Apple’s tail coat? Ah…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=617341321 George Neaime

    Snark… I see what you mean but as well I have to agree that there’s just too much hype going on without much substance regarding the Surface. However, I’m not replying because of that.

    You brought a good point regarding the kick stand. I also wondered as to why it was avoided on tablets. I came to the conclusion that unless it was built upon a metal base or more so all of it made out of metal – over time it will eventually give way or snap off. There’s no elegant solution that lasts the time and doesn’t add weight. Hinges on laptops which are made out of a mix of alloys are more often than not the weakest parts and those hold a screen at almost the weight of an iPad. So I won’t put my money on the kickstand… I doubt it will last. I hope I’m wrong. Btw, that might answer your 45 degrees question.

    Now for the real good point… the stylus. MS had had enough experience with the Asus Eee Slate (EP121) alone – besides the years of attempts of manufacturers at converting laptops into tablets with a stylus. So they’re betting on something that I’m sure the masses will enjoy.

    I have the Eee Slate and I primarily bought it because of the stylus – it’s a Wacom stylus and I can’t complain and I need it for my work. The combination of the multitouch, the stylus and Win7’s hand recognition takes productivity on a slate to whole a new level. What do you think I’m using right now?

  • obarthelemy

    so a) and c) are OK. That leaves b), which might work because the kickstand is full-length… I don’t understand how you people can be so sure something doesn’t work w/o having tried it (there’s a pic somewhere of a blogger actually using it on her lap, so it might work indeed), and contradicting yourselves about the thing needing a flat surface, but then not working on a flat surface.

  • Curt Weese

    Jeez, gimme a break.  You are trying to say that the IPad controls the BUSINESS world for presentations and whatnot?  NO, it doesn’t.  I work with businesses all day every day and they are far more likely to be a Microsoft house than have any IPad or Apple products (although I will give you that graphics dept snobs like to have Macs). 

  • http://www.motmaitre.com Motmaitre

    I’m also typing this on an Asus Eee Slate. And I also bought it for the stylus.

    I’m glad to see someone else understands what I’m talking about. Only true users of Windows tablets will understand what a good thing Microsoft has done with the Surface. It is basically a better version of the Eee Slate (fingers crossed re the battery life and that the pen is as good as a Wacom).

    Re the stand, since you use an Eee Slate, you will know that it comes with a case. the purpose of this case is to prop the tablet either upright or at a 45 degree angle for drawing. I love it. However, it is a hack. Any accessory that does something the device should have done on its own is a hack.

    My Eee Slate- as you know- is lovely, but a disjointed mess. It comprises the tablet, the case, the bluetooth keyboard, and the mouse. Very unwieldy to move around. With the Surface, everything is one piece: the case/keyboard is attached, and you don’t need a mouse because of the trackpad. And the pen attaches magnetically.

    This is really cool. I wish instead of constant Microsoft bashing, tech writers will occasionally give credit where it is due.

  • Truthhz

    It was a publicity stunt and it worked. If final product is not good, press will get their revenge with bad reviews. C’est la vie.

  • W3PYF

    I don’t know what businesses you’re working with, but if they deploy thousands of reps making one-on-one sales calls, they’re either deploying iPads or soon will. 

    Look, you hate Apple. You hate their app world. You haven’t even seen a working kickstand, but you know you like it. You want SD slots? – you show me one sales manager with 5,000 sales people who wants his reps to have an SD slot on their presentation device. You show me one senior legal counsel who wants his company reps able to load sh*t on their sales presentation tools that doesn’t come from HQ.

    And boy, every CEO wants to be damn certain his reps can link their sales tool to their xBox – that’s sure a corporate priority in picking a corporate tablet, too.

    And sure, everyone in the phone industry is lining up to put Windows in their smartphones. Nokia was a perfect Windows phone partner – no, they’re probably going to pick RIM as their new partner. They’re give new meaning to the “blue screen of death.”

    Curt, you’re looking for toys. This is – or was – an adult, business conversation. The guys in Redmond are laughing like hell at how the Apple-haters have taken Surface more seriously than they do.

  • Truthhz

    Not sure what you’re upset about. It’s just a press conference. No one was maimed or injured.
    Steve Jobs wanted elegant products. Jobs’ quote:

    “When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going, and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can often times arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions. Most people just don’t put in the time or energy to get there.”

    Your Zagg contraption is not that elegant solution. Surface could stink badly, but at least it LOOKS elegant. I’ll definitely try it in October.

  • http://www.microsourcing.com/ MicroSourcing

    The keyboard isn’t a strong selling point because tablets were invented with the idea of doing away with keyboards. Aesthetically speaking, the keyboard’s bright color clashes with the tablet.

  • dpgj

    Gosh. The stage design was so amateur. Sometimes designer is just another salesman.

  • W3PYF

    Dead on. They act as if they’re unaware of the standards Apple set for these functions. 

    Danny, you don’t get it – you were supposed to open your mouth and swallow whole what they fed you. Everything you were supposed to know was in the press kit they handed you. 

    For Microsoft, it’s still 2002, and they’re the only game in town.

  • Cailean Babcock

    I like your use of quotes. Let me take a shot at it:

    There is no “duh” here. Microsoft made an “announcement” where they “demo”ed the new product they’re planning on “launching”. They invited a bunch of well-respected “journalists” and then attempted to pull the “wool” over their “eyes”. This was a semi-“pathetic” attempt on Microsoft’s part to push a product out the door before Google I/O, where Google itself is likely to announce a tablet of its own. 

    Also, your use of “irony” and “turn-about is fair play” was wrong. There is nothing ironic about expecting somebody to produce a similar product; irony would be if you *didn’t* expect it. As for the turn-about bit, keyboards designed for the iPad aren’t going to replace the keyboard designed for the Surface; turn-about is Microsoft having the chance to control the hardware and software in the same device, just like Apple.

    Microsoft has seen the writing on the wall and decided that they can’t rely on their hardware partners for the push they need to catch up with iOS and Android in the tablet space. Two points for effort, minus a point for failing to have anything more than a slapped-together technology demo – sorry, “demo” – by press time.

    Personally, I think that it’s a great idea for a device and nice to see something genuinely different, rather than just trying to copy the iPad. However, it’s not the first time Microsoft has had a great idea and failed to act on it; I hope this one will become real competition in the tablet space and not go the way of the Google Phone.

  • Boltar

    Shocking and disappointing that so few have pointed out that the “hands-on” aspect was a sham. One has to wonder exactly what they thought they were hiding, but with Microsoft it could easily be just put down to their rousing incompetence at handling PR events. Even when they are announcing great products I find their events are almost too embarrassing to watch.

    If at this point the Surface prototypes are too unreliable or incomplete to be trusted in limited hands on, you have to wonder whether their vague announced release time frame is remotely realistic.

  • abc905

    there are probably ultra-books that probably weigh less and have keyboards… and technically they have a “kickstand” too. Those might also even have touch screens.

  • abc905

    With like 100 apps on the Windows RT version (which seems to be targeting the iPad in terms of specs and possible pricing), they sure have a long way to go.

  • abc905

    iWork is practically Office with leather and other pointless (but fun) textures.

  • Kaileena

    I know it looks nice, but will the RT version be as useful/helpful as an iPad in a day to day life, specially in the first year? Considering they will be in the same price range and these gadgets gets outdated in a year, do you still think its a wise choose to go for a Windows RT Surface??

  • Wyn6

    Surface keyboards are rigid and sturdy, not floppy. Just an FYI.

  • http://twitter.com/heikkipekka Anssi Kumpula

    Agreed. Pretending to be typing is no typing. After Mary’s follow-up we still don’t have any hands-on information how well Touch Cover typing works.

  • Mouse Dresden

    From MouseTheLuckyDog
    The last bike I bought, a Bianchi Eros did not come with a kickstand, Most serious bikes don’t. The places where they are useful is very small, and they often don’t do a good job even then. 

    The only place you really see kickstands are on childrens bikes. Says something about the surface.

  • Goofball_Jones

    Microsoft hasn’t really been bashed in a long time. This isn’t a bash piece, it’s more of a frustration piece. Danny was frustrated that none of the journalists got a chance to actually play with these devices. They’d LOVE to give credit, it’s just that they weren’t really shown anything. It was all “yeah, this is what we’re gonna do…someday…no release date. And you can look, but don’t touch”. I personally am excited to see what will come from all this and I’m intrigued as to the final product. I’m a little perplexed as to why they  would have two versions though, an “RT” version (which is ARM based and won’t run your legacy Windows programs), and it’s more powerful version of a real Intel based computer. 

    While I’m not for bashing anything, I do get tired of people just dismissing legit concerns and opinions as “fanboyerism”. Yes, there are a number of pro-Apple douchebags out there, but does that mean you have to dismiss EVERYONE that has used or likes one of their devices or computers? You keep going on and on about “Microsoft bashing” and “Don’t let your fanboyism blind you to the fact..” type statements, without the realization that you’re doing the exact thing that you’re complaining about! Keep it civil and you won’t draw the ire of idiots like me that swing at the low-hanging fruit.

  • normm

    If you need a high quality pressure sensitive stylus for the iPad, you can get one.  I’m looking forward to the Blue Tiger from TenOneDesign.

  • Mouse Dresden

    From MouseTheLuckyDog
    Actually that is incorrect. Archos makes a tablet with a kickstand. CompUsa includes on their tablet web page feagture list  a kickstand. There used to be three or four tablets with kickstands, now there is only one. I guess the demand for kickstand ios great the other models sold out.
    As for styli, I agree that the prosthetic fingers that are called “capacitive styli” are virtually worthless. Though there are the MyNote and iPen digitizers available for the iPad.

    However Lenovo makes the ThinklPad tablet with Ntrig digitizer, too bad they are not planning a second generation. OTOH they may be rethinking their decision after Monday…

    And Samsung makes a 1/2 tablet 1/2 phone called the Note with a digitizer. In the next month they will be releasing a Galaxy Note 10.1, an actual tablet with a stylus made by Wacom.

    As for the Surface Pro, it’s stylus might be as good as a Wacom–because it probably is a Wacom. However the stylus for the Surface RT  — oh wait the RT does not come with a styljus – only the Pro. You know the expensive– I’m sorry the really expensive one.

    But to give credit where credit is do, with the pen/kickstand/Magnesium/keyboard MS actually does make an excellent case/shell for a tablet. Too bad they haven’t put an actual tablet in  it yet.

  • http://www.motmaitre.com Motmaitre

    Thanks for the sermon, Dr. King.

    Maybe as you preach to people to keep it civil, you can also avoid being condescending and preachy?

    I don’t see a single thing in your response actually talking about the product.

  • Mouse Dresden

    Samsung also makes a Slate with pen too. I’m sure they used that experience to make the Galaxy Note, and I’m sure that they are using the experience of selling 7 million Notes to make the Note 10.1. Which will be released soon ( demos of actual working versions have been leaking to YouTube ).

    Sadly the RT does not come with a stylus, only the Pro.If you already have the EEE Slate why buy the Pro?

    I think it’s sad,because the killer app for tablets  wiuth styli would be One Note if they would port a nearly complete version to ARM/RT  

    Funny to see MS with victory within it’s grasp, only to be flailing.

  • http://twitter.com/thetimchannel Tim Fuller

     Me too.  A point I have made in various other forums.  FWIW, I have had mine for several YEARS now, having bought it for my Imac.  It syncs perfect with my Iphone (and also an Ipad if I ever get one).  Right now I am using my wife’s MacBook Air, a full featured computer with a built in keyboard.  Enjoy.

  • http://twitter.com/thetimchannel Tim Fuller

     Windoze is only “cheap” if you don’t factor in the maintenance required to keep them running and virus free.  Penny wise and pound foolish.  Enjoy.

  • http://twitter.com/thetimchannel Tim Fuller

    Battery life will be a big issue running full Windoze.  A price of a thousand bucks will doom it from the outset because at the end of the day, the expensive MS tablet version is just a MacBook Air with a touch screen and a removable keyboard.  A Macbook Air is small and light enough that the difference between it and a recently (soon to be) introduced Microsoft keyboard tablet isn’t enough of a difference for most people to “gamble” on Microsoft.

    Don’t get me wrong.  Microsoft will likely sell a bunch of these.  They sold a bunch of Zunes too, and by “bunch”, I mean not enough to make a dent in the overall market.

    As to “why” I believe this?  History repeats itself.  Microsoft (like all the other vendors) is still trying to play “catch up”.  My odds of winning the 100 meter dash are pretty slim already, but if I am running against the world’s finest, and I give them a 70 meter head start, unless the pro dies of a heart attack or trips during the event, I will never have a chance of winning the race.

    Microsoft will “perfect” their tablet about the same time as Google “perfects” Goggle Googles and then Microsoft will have to try and change directions again.  LOL.


  • http://twitter.com/mvmn_prs MVMn-prs

    “Office on my Surface that has a real keyboard built in and a kickstand so I can type and see the screen. USB PORT!!!! SD SLOT”
    Just buy a netbook and brag how great that is (-;

  • Alan

    Being able to run photoshop in a cafe after I read my morning paper kind sounds fun! I think if they excute this properly it could become a real competitor to the iPad

  • http://twitter.com/mvmn_prs MVMn-prs

    I though it’s been clear enough so far that desktop OS on a tablet is not a good idea – heat-wise, battery life-wise, useability-wise etc etc. Netbooks proved it, failed HP Slate prooved it, iPad success (mobile OS on ARM instead of OS X on Intel) prooved it. And yet they’re still doing it.
    No wonder there’s no information on battery life – must be quite discouraging for Win RT version. And we yet have to see what kind of an “animal” that Win RT is – what drivers/software compatibility issues are there, and what the performance on tablet will be. Again – netbooks prooved the performance of desktop OS on mobile devices is usually below satisfactory.

  • http://jeffdownerbailbonds.com/ Jeff Downer Indianapolis IN

    I am a gear head.  I love fast cars.  I love reading about road tests of fast cars. In these road tests the writers actually drive the cars.

    I doubt that the folks at Road & Track or Car and Driver could even comprehend the concept of a road test where they just rode around as passengers.

  • technologyset

     They could have easily “turned off” access to certain things and kept the features locked for users without any rights. I don’t understand why they didn’t do that and let you guys take a poke around 

  • Joe_HTH

     You are a stupid asshat. You claim Windows 7 is not bad, and you installed that piece of shit known as Ubuntu? Windows 7 is a great OS and far better than that POS known as Linux. Nobody gives a damn that hate Microsoft you twat. You just have no taste of speak of, especially if you’re using Linux.

  • Joe_HTH

     Why they invited a Microsoft-hating Linux asshat like you is beyond me.

    “It’s like trying to type by pushing on a paperback book.”

    This was an especially idiotic comment. Sort of like typing on glass with a tablet touchscreen right? But I don’t hear you dumb ass criticizing that. Here’s a hint, don’t judge what you haven’t even used. Go back to covering Linux you idiot.

  • FOSSrules

    I would pay good money to see that. It would be a great comedy, running CS5 on this tiny interface. When these things start shipping on February 30, the (un-)real fun will begin.

  • James Noble

    Wait, really? People are amazed that Microsoft would fall back to it’s original marketing plan? (For those who don’t remember, it’s Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. aka FUD)

    I’ll stick with my Asus Transformer TF101 thank you, it’s far better engineered, and simply works. Oh, and did I mention it runs non-microsoft AND microsoft software?  Android, Linux + Wine, Msoft products… hrm… Dual Tegra 2 processors and over 11hours of battery life? Oh, and a detachable keyboard, which works great, and ISN’T like typing on cardboard. 

  • Richard

    I’ll be honest, I find these kinds of “reviews” no better than spam because they don’t give me any details – they just rehash the product pitch they were given.

    Why clutter up the Internet and search engines with this fluff? I hate it because it is no different than those content aggregators who used to score high before Google changed its ranking algorithms – not real content, just keyword loading. I understand the need of sites to generate traffic, but it needs to be done with integrity.

    There are lots of other terms journalists could have used instead of “hands on” or “review”.

    I was surprised to see AnandTech doing this (although, they’ve updated the title to include the terms”detailed impressions”).

    Tom’s Hardware has been doing this for more than a decade now (and it was these puff pieces that turned me away from them).

  • http://24hbetting.ru/ Kabakun749

    Which leads me to the final point about content presentation: The very last thing most corporate legal departments want is employees at any level freelancing “content creation” that doesn’t pass their review before being shown to a prospect or customer.топ спортивные ставки

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=535260227 Jeff Kean

    “consumer app makers don’t run windows”

    Give me a break, all my android apps, mobile web apps, website, devloping…ALL DONE ON WINDOWS

  • kibbles

    alf – when Apple announces a new product, the product actually works, and chances are good that you’ll be able to buy it – today.

  • http://twitter.com/dito Dito

    I liked your article, good point! Heands-on really!??

    However here’s my 2 cents. I’d choose android (with ICS) because it does make me do what the iPad CAN’T….. and that is…… DITCH ITUNES!
    Thanks for the great read!

  • Ed Snack

     Well, since the unit being demo’d on stage crashed when IE was used, I’d say that the development has a long way to go. And battery, equip that sucker with a high resolution screen and an Intel processor, and 4 hours is a joke, more like 1-2 hours max. That’s not a tablet, that’s a laptop with a poor keyboard.

    The ARM versions should get better battery life, but will be considerably less powerful and so won’t have all the functionality. Also, incompatible, you will have more or less the same apps but different versions will be necessary.

    The keyboard concept itself is quite clever, and a real point of difference as an original accessory. But unless you are a died-in-the-wool Windows fanatic (and I see at least one such troll commenting), this has all the signs of being a pretty epic fail.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=617341321 George Neaime

    If it does come out I would not buy the pro or the other. It wouldn’t make sense to me right now. This slate still has a good few years of use ahead of it unless it dies.

    Personally, I’m waiting for Win8 to come out :) and on the side I’m hoping that MS does invest in Surface and make it a reality as I’m sure people that get the pro will enjoy it. Furthermore, when it’s time to replace my slate it would be good to have a matured replacement ready ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=617341321 George Neaime

    Oh I know what you mean I use it to draw also. What I mean by the kick stand is if it is on body… unless they found a way to make it durable – if it breaks, that’s it. It’ll be a feature that is there and may not be easily replaced. In regards to our material based stand – we can find some sort of replacement if something happens to it.

    I also agree that the Eee slate is a disjointed mess but I’ve opted to ignore the keyboard altogether. I do either type up (using onscreen kb) or write up my documents, emails, etc. I usually prefer writing it’s faster. As I’m a web designer I do my coding on my desktop – hence why I never really use the BT keyboard.

    And again I agree that the Surface is an all round solution but I will not buy it though, the Eee slate still has a few years of use. I’m currently waiting for Win8 to come out and install it on this puppy.

  • http://twitter.com/JMackenzieVT Jonathan Mackenzie

    Or worse, sat in the driver’s seat without the engine running and imagined how well they would be able to take the turns if they were really going anywhere.

  • fugeesnfunions

    How can you call AppleTV a fail? It outsells every GoogleTV product combined by the millions. As of May of this year, they already sold 2.7 million, which puts them on track to increase sales of the device 100% over last year. It has unparalleled customer satisfaction compared to similar products, generates million of dollars every year, and sales are constantly increasing. In fact, if sales keep up and Apple sells 5.4 million AppleTV’s this year, it will generate more revenue than Android has for Google between 2008 and 2011. What does it take for a product to be a success in your eyes? 

    And Apple’s “stupid app world” is the only thing keeping iOS devices from being inundated with malware and scams like their Android counterparts. If Microsoft doesn’t implement a similar “closed” ecosystem, mobile Windows 8 users can expect the same outcome. 

    As far as USB goes, I’ve been using the iPad since the first version was released in 2010, and I can think of literally 0 times I’ve needed a full size USB port. 99% of peripheral devices are wireless, and if for some reason you actually need to connect something with a cable, that’s what the data-capable headphone jack and dock connector are for. But if you absolutely MUST have a traditional USB port and the rumors are true, the smaller dock connector coming in the 6th gen iPhone this fall (and inevitably the 4th gen iPad next spring) will be compatible with mini USB. Putting a full size USB port seems crazy, but so does fragmenting your tablet lineup with two totally incompatible models out the door. 

    Can we please have a civil conversation here? Resorting to calling people names like “fanboy” just because they speak negatively against a product you happen to like is totally uncalled for. We’re all tech nerds, that’s why we read and discuss stories like this. 10 years from now we’ll hardly remember these tablets and various mobile devices, it really isn’t worth being so offended over. 

  • http://memorybuilder101.com/ Deane Alban

     I loved the kickstand comment in this post. But oh, pahleez to the kickstand snobs. My bike has a kickstand I find it extremely handy. I ride
    approximately 300 days per year – I don’t need a serious bike without a kickstand to be a serious rider. My husband’s bike doesn’t have one and is always flopping it on the ground when we ride together. I don’t get the appeal. He says he doesn’t want the extra weight. Then why not ride naked and barefoot, too! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/brandoncomputer Brandon Cunningham

    OK, that is funny. Click the link above for foolishness.