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Print 87 comment(s) - last by ritualm.. on Nov 6 at 8:18 PM

It plans to do so through a better retail experience and marketing

Microsoft has big plans make sure this holiday season is better than the last. 

According to Paul Thurrott's Supersite for Windows, Microsoft's main goal is to sell 16 million Windows tablets over the holiday season. In order to do that, it plans to set the record straight on exactly what Microsoft is offering through better holiday marketing. It's also spending $405 million on Windows retail this year compared to only $241 million last year. 

Some troubles Microsoft is having is that there are various Windows OS versions available on the market right now (Windows 8, Windows RT, Windows 8.1, and even Windows 7). The same goes for hardware, where some have touch while others don't, some are All-In-Ones while others are laptops and convertibles, and so on.

This can be very confusing to consumers who aren't sure of the differences, and Microsoft's aim is to clarify this confusion so people will want Windows and buy exactly what they need.

The first part of Microsoft's plan is to label Windows 8.1 "the new Windows," which will let people know that this is the latest version and best version. Windows 8 was looking to reinvent Windows, and now Windows 8.1 wants to change how people perceive it, since Windows 8 took a lot of criticism for being so different from past versions and being too difficult to learn. 


Microsoft will also provide retailers with a special USB-based Windows 8.1 Upgrade Kit this holiday, since only 20 percent of PCs shipped will have Windows 8.1 pre-installed.

In the way of hardware, Microsoft wants to label Windows tablets as "more than an ordinary tablet," and Windows PCs as "the only PC with touch" for the holiday season. Pushing the touch feature will distinguish Windows hardware from that of competitors, and Microsoft even plans to give free $25 gift cards for the Windows, Windows Phone or Xbox online stores when customers buy Windows touch devices this holiday (offer runs from November 15 to December 28).

To help push these messages out to customers, Microsoft will go the store-within-a-store route (kind of like Apple's set-up within stores like Best Buy). This will offer a station specific to Windows-based devices and help customers figure out exactly which tablet, PC or phone they need without all the confusion (right now, Windows tablets and PCs line shelves without much distinction to the consumer).

It remains to be seen whether Microsoft can hit the 16 million mark, but its latest efforts should certainly give PCs a boost from last year's sales. PC makers sold 89.8 million units globally in the fourth quarter of 2012, down 6.4 percent from the same quarter in 2011, according to IDC.

Source: Paul Thurrott's Supersite for Windows



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Only if...
By n0b0dykn0ws on 11/1/2013 10:24:08 AM , Rating: 3
The only way they will sell me one is for a much lower price.

I flat out refuse to buy RT, since it can't do everything that Windows does, and the Pro tablets are too expensive.

The only people I have met in person, whether in the IT field or not, that have been excited about Surface happen to be Microsoft reps.




RE: Only if...
By datdamonfoo on 11/1/2013 10:26:49 AM , Rating: 2
Can you explain what a lower price is? The Lenovo Miix2, Dell Venue, and Toshiba Encore all retail for 300-350, and come with full Windows, and Office.
That's pretty damn cheap.


RE: Only if...
By n0b0dykn0ws on 11/1/2013 11:04:45 AM , Rating: 2
I'm actively looking at the newer tablets, and might even get one.

I was referring to Surface RT and Surface Pro.

The problem is that the Nexus 7 showed you can have a great tablet at a low price point, and other 10" Android tablets have dropped significantly in price as well.

Outside of the Apple bubble it's hard to justify that kind of price point.


RE: Only if...
By Mint on 11/1/2013 2:20:03 PM , Rating: 5
First of all, and most importantly, this article is about all Windows tablets, not only Surface tablets.

Secondly, name a 10", 1080p or better, 32GB Android tablet that's cheaper than the Surface 2. Note that Surface also has expandable memory, unlike the Nexus 10.

Finally, name similarly equipped ultrabooks significantly cheaper than Surface 2 Pro. It's an ultrabook, tablet, and digitizer all in one.


RE: Only if...
By mediaslave.ca on 11/1/13, Rating: -1
RE: Only if...
By inighthawki on 11/1/2013 3:17:10 PM , Rating: 5
You're joking right? Those two aren't even in the same league together. One is a tegra 3 based android tablet and another is a tablet form factor ultrabook running a Core i5 and a full copy of Windows. It's like comparing a Ford Fiesta with a Ferrari.


RE: Only if...
By retrospooty on 11/1/2013 6:46:01 PM , Rating: 2
I'd say more like a Ford Fiesta vs. A decent crossover like the Nissan Murano or Honda Crosstour. The "crossover" thing fits real well since Surface is sort of between a tablet and a laptop... Plus the Murano and Crosstour are nice enough in their own rights, but not alot of people seem to want them.


RE: Only if...
By inighthawki on 11/1/2013 9:57:01 PM , Rating: 2
Fair enough, but I think you get my point :)


RE: Only if...
By Mint on 11/1/2013 3:18:15 PM , Rating: 2
That's an Android tablet with a processor that's probably 1/20th the speed of the Surface 2 Pro (and maybe 1/3rd the speed of the Surface 2).


RE: Only if...
By Roffles on 11/1/2013 3:51:16 PM , Rating: 2
I love my Nexus 7, it's great for general computing (budgeting, shopping, searching, games, e-mail, music and all the general stuff google now provides). But I'm not going to lie either; it's absolutely FU#%ING useless when I want to actually go and do something quickly and/or do some real work. I would sell the 7 off in a heartbeat if the Pro were just a smidge more affordable.


RE: Only if...
By Reclaimer77 on 11/1/13, Rating: 0
RE: Only if...
By Reclaimer77 on 11/1/2013 4:47:14 PM , Rating: 2
argh edit

useful = useless.


RE: Only if...
By Roffles on 11/1/2013 5:31:24 PM , Rating: 5
if you don't know how to do real work on a core i5 haswell tablet with an optional touch keyboard and wacom digitizer/pen then it's not the "tablet" that is useless, it's the person who can't use it.


RE: Only if...
By Reclaimer77 on 11/2/2013 5:37:03 PM , Rating: 2
Did you even read my post? I explicitly excluded the Pro, its more PowerBook than tablet.


RE: Only if...
By rsmech on 11/1/2013 5:41:24 PM , Rating: 2
So what you're saying is smart phones and tablets MS, Apple, or Android are toys. Well there some of the most productive toys I've ever owned.


RE: Only if...
By rsmech on 11/1/2013 5:42:37 PM , Rating: 2
As in having access to more than just games when I'm not at my desk.


RE: Only if...
By ritualm on 11/6/2013 8:18:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm actively looking at the newer tablets, and might even get one.

I was referring to Surface RT and Surface Pro.

The problem is that the Nexus 7 showed you can have a great tablet at a low price point, and other 10" Android tablets have dropped significantly in price as well.

Outside of the Apple bubble it's hard to justify that kind of price point.

I can justify that kind of price point, just not for the 8/512 model.

I just bought a Surface Pro 2 for a very simple reason, actually: I need a good backup laptop in case my primary laptop needs a service call.

My original intention is to buy an Asus Zenbook Infinity with the high-res screen, but none of the local vendors have that in stock. Not only that, but I'd also have to contend with a failboard (very few OEMs other than Lenovo would ship laptops with US English keyboard layout instead of Canadian Multilingual, and the latter is more suited towards Quebec French users than the other 90% of Canada, believe it or not.)

It took me about 1-3 hours to replicate the entire Windows 7 usage environment I had with my primary. I can't do any of that with anything from Android, let alone iOS.


RE: Only if...
By melgross on 11/1/2013 11:15:52 AM , Rating: 3
From what I can see,most of these other tablets are using ultra low power i3 chips instead of the ultra low power i5 that Microsoft uses for the Pro models. Some are even using Atom chips. For real poor performance. The metal cases Apple and Microsoft use add cost, as seem below.

As far as RT goes, a metal case that's either machined, as Apple's is, or die cast, as Microsoft's is, will always cost appreciably more than the various plastics other manufacturers making cheaper models will. It could easily raise prices by $50, maybe more. Then the metal kickstand likely adds another $10-15 to the price.

It's a matter of tradeoffs. Want a better made device, or a cheaper one?


RE: Only if...
By Digimonkey on 11/1/2013 11:29:44 AM , Rating: 3
With more tablets coming with Bay Trail it'll be really interesting to see if people make use of x86 applications on their tablet.

I bought a Surface 2, because in the end I couldn't actually think of any x86 app I'd want to run on a 10 inch tablet and build quality and the kickstand was more important to me.


RE: Only if...
By domboy on 11/1/2013 2:58:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I bought a Surface 2, because in the end I couldn't actually think of any x86 app I'd want to run on a 10 inch tablet and build quality and the kickstand was more important to me.


Here's a small list of win32/.NET desktop applications that I run on my Surface RT (signing restrictions removed):

-Putty
-Keepass2 (password safe)
-Subversion
-Dosbox
-Quake 1 & 3

What I've downloaded but haven't used much yet
- paint.net
- Quake 2
- snes9x

What I wish I could run:
-Cisco AnyConnect VPN client
-anything else I fancy

Thing is, with the exception of some simple surfing or Netflix, I use my Surface RT as a netbook quite often as I much prefer a real keyboard to onscreen poke typing. So I actually prefer the desktop more often than not.

Surface hardware is brilliant. Windows RT is anything but. It could have been so much better... just a simple recompile of Windows 8, but noooo...


RE: Only if...
By Digimonkey on 11/1/2013 9:35:37 PM , Rating: 2
I have to admit I did buy a Surface 2 with the intention to jail break it. More options are always better with a platform, but I was stating I went with the Surface 2 because I like the hardware enough to do without a few x86 apps that I might want to run.

I really wish you hadn't mentioned Cisco AnyConnect VPN client though, I forgot about that one.


RE: Only if...
By domboy on 11/3/2013 9:25:25 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I really wish you hadn't mentioned Cisco AnyConnect VPN client though, I forgot about that one.


Yeah, that is the Elephant in the room for Windows RT. I still can't believe Microsoft and Cisco haven't figured out a way to make it happen. And they could, if nothing else just recompile the client for ARM and have Microsoft sign it, just like they did with Office... but no...


RE: Only if...
By Flunk on 11/4/2013 9:12:43 AM , Rating: 2
What they really need to do is settle on a standard for VPNs that all vendors can adopt so we don't need to keep installing 10 different VPN clients just to access different systems.

And then Microsoft can just add support built in to RT and everyone's happy.


RE: Only if...
By Digimonkey on 11/1/2013 11:22:44 AM , Rating: 2
Those are all 8 inch tablets. Not really a fair comparison as far as price goes, and do you really want to run a full version of Windows and Office on an 8 inch screen?


RE: Only if...
By datdamonfoo on 11/1/2013 12:06:12 PM , Rating: 2
A fair comparison to what? No tablet size restrictions were mentioned in the comment I replied to. There are other 10 inch tablets that are in the same range as the iPad and Nexus 10 as well, but I am more interested in an 8 inch tablet right now, so that's why I mentioned them.

I don't think I would mind running Windows on an 8 inch screen, but it won't be my tablet anyway, I'm buying it for my girlfriend. But I'll probably use it when she's not. I'm sure it'll be fine, as the Nexus 7 I have is 8 inches and I can do things on it without too much hassle.


RE: Only if...
By Digimonkey on 11/1/2013 1:42:04 PM , Rating: 2
That's true but you also failed to mention they were 8 inch tablets. Since the op stated they wanted a full blown version of Windows, then they want to run x86 apps. I think running x86 on an 8 inch tablet is just going to be too frustrating to be worth it, but this is just my opinion.


RE: Only if...
By w8gaming on 11/1/2013 2:30:54 PM , Rating: 2
Some of these 8" tablets have HMDI output. So if one wants to use a bigger screen, it can be hooked up to a monitor. As for whether one can use an 8" tablet in desktop mode, remember this is 1280x800 resolution so it only matters whether one's eyesight is good enough for it.

Couple that with virtual mouse software, it is possible to operate desktop mode using touch screen quite comfortably.


RE: Only if...
By Digimonkey on 11/1/2013 9:39:05 PM , Rating: 2
I suppose, I find if I'm near a monitor I'm near a computer so will use that instead. An 8 inch tablet with a good docking station is viable, however that raises the cost which was the original complaint.

I never said it wouldn't be possible to navigate on an 8" screen in desktop mode, I'd just think it'd be very unpleasant.


RE: Only if...
By Imaginer on 11/4/2013 12:11:54 AM , Rating: 2
Only if you do not take advantage of a virtualized touchscreen mouse software that is already out in the wild.

Just a pure touch screen desktop isn't as pleasant, but turning the touchscreen into a giant trackpad makes things TONS better.


RE: Only if...
By jimbojimbo on 11/1/2013 12:30:16 PM , Rating: 2
The cheaper full Win8 tablets usually have the Intel Atom processor and less RAM so I'll pass. I admit they're nice and all but I'd like one to replace my laptop not carry along with my laptop.


RE: Only if...
By Samus on 11/2/2013 3:19:33 AM , Rating: 2
RT devices are $300 refurbished with a touch cover. And by refurbished, I mean part of that 900 million write-off. Every box I've seen has a refurbished sticker on the front, but you'd be hard pressed to know otherwise when you unwrap the device. I think this is just a knee-jerk word for "liquidated" so it doesn't come off as a fire-sale (which it isn't, because they're not quite $99.)


RE: Only if...
By Cypherdude1 on 11/3/2013 6:07:09 AM , Rating: 2
With the prices Microsoft wants for their Surface 2, I find it hard to believe they are going to reach the sales levels they want. However, if you have the cash and want to buy a 10.6", 8 GB, 512 GB tablet, it's plenty of capacity. Just be prepared to fork over $1800:
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTool...

For such an expensive tablet, I would expect M$ to have a 15.6" screen. I guess we'll have to wait until next year for that.


RE: Only if...
By tayb on 11/1/2013 12:09:43 PM , Rating: 1
http://www.hanselman.com/blog/UsingASurface2RTARMT...

That is Scott Hanselman talking about how he did a day of software development work on his Surface 2 at a Starbucks. It's a pretty interesting read. The ability to remote into another PC, an Azure VM running VS2012 in this instance, is incredibly useful. You could accomplish something similar with any other tablet as well but it just showcases that the tablet can be pretty useful if you actually give it a chance.


RE: Only if...
By n0b0dykn0ws on 11/1/2013 1:08:35 PM , Rating: 3
Wow, a blog by a Microsoft employee extolling the virtues of Surface 2 and Azure.

*SHOCK!*

Although it did provoke me to search to see if a vSphere client exists for RT, which it does.


RE: Only if...
By retrospooty on 11/1/2013 1:10:41 PM , Rating: 3
??? There are a dozen remote desktop apps on any platform. Even WebOS has a decently workable one. That is sort of base functionality at this point. Show me a tablet that cant do that.


RE: Only if...
By tayb on 11/1/2013 2:09:23 PM , Rating: 3
There is no other tablet that can use RDP. I use TeamViewer on my Nexus 7 but RDP it is not. And I say that negatively.


RE: Only if...
By retrospooty on 11/1/2013 3:31:07 PM , Rating: 2
I know what you mean, I use RDP daily on my work and home PC's, but the biggest "not" of using it on a tablet is not RDP itself, its the tablet, screen, kb mouse. Once you are connected to your remote pc/server you are connected.


RE: Only if...
By w8gaming on 11/1/2013 2:34:40 PM , Rating: 2
Hmmm but if remote desktop is involved then pretty much every other tablets in the market that run iOS and Android can do the same once paired with a wireless keyboard and mouse. Surface 2 exclusive advantages remains with availability of Office for the time being.


RE: Only if...
By YearOfTheDingo on 11/1/2013 1:33:09 PM , Rating: 2
It's hard to get excited over buying something similar to what that you've got already. Microsoft's tablet strategy in a way reminds me umpteen efforts to build a console running PC games. The idea never works, even when there seems to be positive reception.


RE: Only if...
By rsmech on 11/1/13, Rating: -1
RE: Only if...
By ven1ger on 11/1/2013 2:45:36 PM , Rating: 2
Don't know why you wanted to bring in Android into the conversation but, exactly what private information do you think you are giving up with Android vs any other tablet.

Don't know of any information that a person has to give up to use Android as you don't have to sign up for Google play but then you'll have to side load apps. You don't even need a Google email to use Android. Kindle is running its own version of Android but no one seems to bring up privacy issues about it. But to get much use of your mobile device you'll probably need to sign up for use of the app store for any device.

Guess some people just like to spread misinformation.


RE: Only if...
By mcnabney on 11/1/2013 2:53:45 PM , Rating: 2
You probably shouldn't point out that his ISP knows everything he has ever done online.


RE: Only if...
By rsmech on 11/1/2013 5:33:45 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Don't know why you wanted to bring in Android into the conversation


If you don't know why than why did you comment. There are these nice lines on the right that show I didn't start but commented.

As the rest goes it's simple. MS or Apple have a product to try and make money. Google, Facebook, or twitter YOU are the MAIN product for those companies. For Google: search engine isn't sold, you are. Android isn't sold you are.

Don't tell me everyone does it, that's obvious. The point is you are not what the other companies sell to others, Google's MAIN source of income is customer info. (that would be you).

That is my point. If it were not true they wouldn't even be here to talk about.

Is this horrible no, it's preference. But what started this is someone said other tablets are too expensive for them. Fine use Android. I can afford the others because I don't like that business model. My preference.


RE: Only if...
By ven1ger on 11/4/2013 3:28:34 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, I see the lines on the left. Interesting considering that you already proved my point, "other tablets" but yet you chime in with Android.

You still failed to answer my question, exactly what information are you giving away? Android allows use to use Google services or not, so exactly how does using Android mean that you are giving up any personal info? Or are you just making up stuff?

Customer info no matter who collects can be utilized by any company that gets info from you, whether you purchase their products or not. To blindly think only Google may be mining data for customer info, is sheer idoicy, all companies to some degree mine data for anything that can help its business, even MS and Apple does it.


RE: Only if...
By Roffles on 11/1/2013 3:38:10 PM , Rating: 2
They need to include the touch keyboard in the price of the $999-128GB model to get me interested. There's something about the "tablet that can replace your laptop" advertising, and the fact that it's not true unless you're willing to pay an additional $119-129, that turns me off of the product.


RE: Only if...
By inperfectdarkness on 11/4/2013 3:11:42 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed. When Surface Pro hits $399--with keyboard--let me know.


Funny version numbers
By dgingerich on 11/1/2013 10:52:13 AM , Rating: 2
If you look at the actual version numbers, Windows comes across quite funny.

Windows XP, Windows 2003 Server - 5.1
Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 - 6.0
Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 r2 - 6.1
Windows 8, Windows Server 2012 - 6.2
Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 r2 - 6.3

Microsoft does so much to make these look like totally different versions of Windows to the average user, but they're really just minor updates in the background. The only really big change was between XP and Vista. All the rest are just based off Vista.




RE: Funny version numbers
By The Von Matrices on 11/1/2013 11:03:09 AM , Rating: 5
That's nothing compared to Apple pushing your 10th dot release of OS X as something new.


RE: Funny version numbers
By melgross on 11/1/2013 11:05:33 AM , Rating: 2
You're right. It IS much worse. An almost useless update.


RE: Funny version numbers
By tayb on 11/1/13, Rating: -1
RE: Funny version numbers
By UpSpin on 11/1/2013 11:06:28 AM , Rating: 2
I think Windows 8 also was a big change, with the addition of Metro. However, it was half baked and rushed out, thus proably the minor version increment. But once they finally switch to Metro everywhere, then it's worth a new major version number in my opinion. But we have to see if they manage to do so and proof that Metro is usable on a desktop, which it currently isn't.


RE: Funny version numbers
By ShaolinSoccer on 11/1/2013 1:05:09 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I think Windows 8 also was a big change, with the addition of Metro. However, it was half baked and rushed out, thus proably the minor version increment. But once they finally switch to Metro everywhere, then it's worth a new major version number in my opinion. But we have to see if they manage to do so and proof that Metro is usable on a desktop, which it currently isn't.


Metro is nothing but a start screen/button. I haven't used a single metro app. I just use it the same way I would use the start button. So, Windows 8 works 100% fine for me. You'll never see me crying about how awesome Windows 8 is.


RE: Funny version numbers
By Flunk on 11/1/2013 11:49:39 AM , Rating: 3
The version number is just arbitrary, different companies use difference systems to derive it. Look at Google's Chrome version numbers, they're already on 30.

Anyway, look at the features and compare. The numbers are really just for internal use anyway.


RE: Funny version numbers
By Digimonkey on 11/1/2013 12:03:45 PM , Rating: 2
There was a relevant order to update numbers adopted by many in the industry. It's still fully alive in the Enterprise market where users normally can make sense of them, but for the general consumer market the Chrome and Firefox version numbers makes more sense.


RE: Funny version numbers
By Labotomizer on 11/1/2013 2:11:52 PM , Rating: 3
Those numbers refer to the NT Kernel version. That's substantially different from the entire OS. The kernel takes up less than 50MB of the entire thing and doesn't include GUI, etc.

It's like saying the Linux Kernel is an OS. It's not. It's a kernel. Everything that runs on top of it is what makes up the operating system.


RE: Funny version numbers
By w8gaming on 11/1/2013 2:45:09 PM , Rating: 3
Since when does version number reflects the amount of changes made in a comparative way across different OSes? You realize it is quite easy for any vendor to simply choose a different numbering scheme to show you every minor update deserve a big version number change? It is the actual amount of changes that matters, not something superlative as a simple version number.


RE: Funny version numbers
By Labotomizer on 11/4/2013 9:01:55 AM , Rating: 2
Like Chrome and Firefox?

We fixed a bug, version elenty-eight!


Lol
By saarek on 11/1/2013 10:25:09 AM , Rating: 4
I'd like to win the National Lottery, retire and buy Richard Branson's Island in the British Virgin isle..... It's not going to happen but we can all dream.

MS might be able to give that many away, although even then the return rate would probably be extremely high.

Still, aim for the sky and all that.




RE: Lol
By kwrzesien on 11/1/2013 10:28:43 AM , Rating: 1
Lol...where is the picture of Tim Cook laughing?


RE: Lol
By retrospooty on 11/1/2013 10:57:22 AM , Rating: 5
RE: Lol
By nafhan on 11/1/2013 11:49:13 AM , Rating: 2
16 million Windows tablets over the holiday season isn't that crazy, actually (I've seen numbers that indicate 90 million Windows laptops were sold in 4Q last year). The OEM's are starting to make decent, and more importantly, low cost Win 8 (not RT) tablets and convertibles.

At the same time, I'd guess that Win 8 tablet sales will probably further eat into Win 8 "PC" sales - meaning it probably won't be 16 million additional licenses to help MS's bottom line.


RE: Lol
By w8gaming on 11/1/2013 2:52:03 PM , Rating: 2
Actually while many vendors have announced very reasonable priced, low cost Windows 8 tablets, I have problem actually finding them in the actual market, or read relevant reviews on those. Supposedly this quarter means October to December, I have problems believing other vendors have made enough units to push 16 millions units in the first place. I think the partners of Microsoft are wary about the consumer acceptance and there will be low inventory for such devices, in order not to make a big loss if they flop. So unless Microsoft is ready to make several millions of units in such a short time, and they sell well, it will be unlikely there will be 16 millions of units available for sale.


RE: Lol
By Malevolance on 11/1/2013 11:53:41 AM , Rating: 1
Maybe next version, let's face it the original batch of Surface Tablets (both Pro & RT) were epic failures and cost MS a fortune.

This batch is not that much better, MS really seemed to ignore features/specs that they should have updated.

Overall I expect them to continue losing boat loads of money, which is a shame as the rest of the iPad competition is universally shit.


RE: Lol
By Labotomizer on 11/1/2013 2:14:04 PM , Rating: 1
It didn't "cost them a fortune" as they were still very profitable overall. It's a long term business strategy. A company the size and scope of Microsoft can lose billions of dollars on a venture if they believe it's worth it in the long run.

Also, they said Windows Tablets. Not Surface tablets. 16 million across all manufacturers is pretty reasonable.


RE: Lol
By Chaser on 11/1/2013 7:38:37 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It didn't "cost them a fortune" as they were still very profitable overall.


http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2013/07/18/microsoft-t...

Maybe in your fanboy fantasies.


RE: Lol
By Labotomizer on 11/4/2013 9:05:21 AM , Rating: 2
And they still made around 5 billion in profit that quarter. Not sure how your article disproves my point about them being willing to lose money to break into a market they think is worthwhile.

Also, Surface is serving its purpose. Microsoft got tired of half-baked tablets and computers from OEMs so they made a high quality Windows tablet. Other manufacturers have also made quality tablets. Sure, they make cheap ones too.

Also, the Surface RT/2/Pro/Pro 2 are incredibly well built, premium devices. If you've used one extensively there is no question it's a superior device to other tablets on the market.


Wait for Windows 9 :-)
By UpSpin on 11/1/2013 11:03:16 AM , Rating: 2
Office is unusable on a tablet. I also wouldn't want a Windows 8 PC with anything below a Core processor. Windows 8.1 itself is not a tablet OS, even if MS likes to promote it that way. There's still a huge gap between Metro with its more or less gimmick apps and the usual desktop environment with the powerful software, which isn't usable on touchscreen only tablets.
Windows RT is worse, because it's Windows 8.1 without the desktop environment (except Office, which further shows how poorly optimized it is for tablets) and left with the half backed Metro.
I doubt that MS lands a success with Windows 8 or RT in the tablet space. Maybe with Windows 9 they finally close the gap between Metro and the old desktop, then they might become interesting, and finally competive. However, by then, maybe Google managed to merge Chrome OS with Android and invaded the desktop space, Apple managed to cross Mac OS with iOS and MS is, again, too late.
Who knows.




RE: Wait for Windows 9 :-)
By Da W on 11/1/2013 11:28:12 AM , Rating: 2
I fail to see a useful android app that i cannot have on Windows Metro, as an app or by using internent explorer and go to the actual web page. So explain how Google tablet is good and Windows RT is bad.

Agreed windows x86 is more useful than arm. That's not my issue.


RE: Wait for Windows 9 :-)
By UpSpin on 11/1/2013 12:37:30 PM , Rating: 1
Android allows you to do whatever you want, similar to how it's the case on a desktop since years. I think this is the ultimate stand out feature of Android, next to the huge available selection different hardware at every possible price point. This felxiblity allows tablets with ARM, MIPS, X86 architectures, any display size you want, WACOM pen input, and whatever the manufacturer can imagine. It also allows you to do whatever you can imagine, install anything on it, you're free on how to use it. So if you want an useful app not available on Win RT, then take a look at any app which requires root access. (Titaniumbackup, Android Tuner, Adblock, ...) Else, it's not my job to convince you to anything and I have better things to do with my time.

On the other side is iOS with its plethora of restrictions, but solid thrustworthy hardware and lots of good and mature apps, especially for tablets.

Windows RT mimics iOS, but offers nothing special as iOS or Android does. (or Windows 8 would do, if it had a tablet friendly UI for normal software, which it currently definitely doesn't has).

So I fail to see why anyone would choose the quite expensive Win RT over the more mature and widespread iOS or Android.

How useful a device is depends on the use case. Windows x86 is totally useless on a tablet with touch input only. However, on a tablet with pen input it's totally different.


RE: Wait for Windows 9 :-)
By Argon18 on 11/1/13, Rating: -1
RE: Wait for Windows 9 :-)
By w8gaming on 11/1/2013 10:29:56 PM , Rating: 2
If you think Windows 8 desktop is useless with touch input only, but could be useful with pen, I suggest you take a look at virtual mouse software such as "TouchMousePointer":

http://www.lovesummertrue.com/touchmousepointer/en...

It will make desktop applications easier to navigate using touch input. In fact, it is not much different from using a touchpad on a notebook except it appears on screen instead of keyboard.


RE: Wait for Windows 9 :-)
By ET on 11/2/2013 2:13:22 PM , Rating: 2
Anand wrote the ASUS T100 review on that tablet. Sure, he wrote it using the keyboard that comes with it, but it's still a tablet, and Office was very usable on it. I'm sure that a large part of these 16 million tablets that MS wants to sell will end up being the T100.

Also a lot of desktop software IS usable on a tablet screen, especially when used with a stylus. A lot of people want that software compatibility in a small form factor, while also being able to use the device as a normal tablet. Different people have different uses in mind (I plan on playing Windows games), but Bay Trail with Windows 8.1 will certainly be good enough for a lot of people.


RE: Wait for Windows 9 :-)
By Aloonatic on 11/3/2013 11:12:40 AM , Rating: 2
Why do people buy MS products?

Well, why did they buy them? - PC era

a) There were no alternatives other than more expensive Apple products.
b) To work on Office apps.
c) To play PC games.

And now...

a) There are now tons of cheaper Android tablets, cheaper even than MS products which MS seem to think are now premium products... If people want a premium product, they'll buy something with an Apple on it.
b) On these MS tablets you're not going to be doing a lot of complicated document production and spreadsheet work, so why not use a free Office alternative?
c) You won't be playing "PC" games on one of these "cheaper" Ms tablets.

I get that MS want to get on the tablet bus, and they are right too. I think that they have a really good tablet OS with windows 8.

I just wish that they could see that it's great that they are trying to make a consistent feel across all devices, but even Apple have drawn the line at the desktop/Laptop and leave the constant feel to their tablets and phones.

Trying to force a half PC/half tablet OS (which is what win 8 seems to be to me) onto both tablets and PCs is going to be a real stretch.

Windows 8 / Metro on phones and tablets and windows 7 with an option to have metro style menu if you want (which windows 8 doesn't seem to be whenever I've used it) for laptops and desktops would be great IMHO. They really should leave the desktop alone, it's where they are strongest and people still want it.

But then, what do I know, I was only a small section of the crows here (the 1%) who at least realised that the iPad was going to work out :o)


RE: Wait for Windows 9 :-)
By Imaginer on 11/4/2013 12:45:43 AM , Rating: 2
It is a stretch that fits well with my paradigm.

I bring my Surface Pro to a friends to visit, connect to their Wifi for gaming (Final Fantasy XIV ARR mind you), run internet browsing software (of any PC choice) with no hindrance, file manage things with ease and breeze, dual pane a modern app and either another modern app, or desktop with all the windows open in the desktop.

I can draw and handwrite notes on an Office application, Corel Painter, any image creation software on a desktop, and finger tap a simultaneously running modern app on another (Kindle, Nook for reference and side by side reading, tapping games, other apps), and seamlessly switch back to controlling the desktop, without switching my screen to either or (both are shown at the same time the entire time).

I can also pull out my Surface Pro at a whim and within seconds, do things. This was something not even possible before. Even with the rotating hinge tablet PCs of before, it was cumbersome; because many manufacturers are insistent on the "laptop" build mentality as well, not to mention the cooling issue and hardware not being there yet.

Did I also mention, Visual Studio, Autodesk software, and any other professional lineups as well? Yes, now enabled on the go (even more so) with the new paradigms of a Windows 8 Pro Tablet PC.

Android looks to me like Linux. There is not any compelling solutions for me to dive into that make the platform worthwhile. Yes they are cheap. I bought into a Kindle Fire once. But I realized the computational limitations and software limitations - the browsing alone made me switch back to a PC.

And to say either Surface or the Pros are expensive? Surface and Surface 2, maybe, but definitely has a solid accessory option with the covers and ease of power connection. The Pro and Pro 2, well worth it - price is in line with ultrabooks and laptops with a lot more input capability, deployability, and usability.

And the Start Screen. It is no more different than revealing your desktop with the "Show desktop" button in 7 to see your icons, handcraftily organized (or not), covering a wallpaper with no grouping labels. It is also no more different than a list of recent programs and show all programs (with 8.1 a click on the down arrow will reveal "all programs" and can sort to "recently ran programs".

The recently opened documents however, is missed at times, but then again - most applications will have a list specific to that application, making that not as useful.

But I welcome the crossover, convergence tablet/laptop/PC ways. Shame many are abhorrant and insistent on wanting to segregate the environments.


RE: Wait for Windows 9 :-)
By Imaginer on 11/4/2013 12:49:47 AM , Rating: 2
By "recently ran programs" it should be "mostly used programs", something the past start menus before did.


I really hope so ...
By johnnycanadian on 11/1/2013 10:44:29 AM , Rating: 2
I sincerely hope that MS is successful in selling as many of their tablets as they can build; Apple needs some REAL competition at the high-end and reading through Anand's review of the iPad Air (superb bit of journalism, that) the only true competitor at the moment is the Surface 2.

In my experience Android tablets still feel like a second thought, both in industrial design as well as execution. I use a Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 as an XBMC remote and that's about all it's good for (Yatse remote kicks a$$!), but my iPads see daily duty from everything from casual web browsing & email to accessing and updating real-time field reports generated by engineers & instrumentation techs at various job sites throughout the province I'm in ... it's a very powerful tool.

I only hope MS's software expertise can make Surface (2) a competitor that isn't a "toy with few additional features".




RE: I really hope so ...
By Reclaimer77 on 11/1/2013 11:22:03 AM , Rating: 2
Android tablets are solely responsible for knocking the iPad down from a monopoly to a niche. They have REAL competition my friend.


RE: I really hope so ...
By johnnycanadian on 11/1/2013 12:07:07 PM , Rating: 2
... because most people use tablets as toys. If all you want to do is play casual games and read the daily news then any tablet will do. I'm talking about doing something "real" on them, for which there's a few criteria:

- No no-name hardware. Nothing bargain-basement, nothing that can't be backed up by the manufacturer and that won't be abandoned every time there's a O/S point release.
- Something with a modicum of centralized device management and tracking.
- Support for a robust, proven client/server development and deployment environment. Bonus if the master dev environment is device agnostic. Nothing written by Joe-Bob the local shade-tree programmer, please. Which brings me to:
- Decent device security
- There's others that are industry-specific but I'm throwing this together off the top of my head.

iPads fit the bill, Surface & Surface 2 / Pro fit the bill but sorry, the vast majority of Android tablets miss on at least one or two of the above, especially the ability to centrally manage the devices without a significant IT effort.


RE: I really hope so ...
By nafhan on 11/1/2013 12:01:58 PM , Rating: 2
I hope you got a good deal on the Tab 2, it was overpriced and under specced the day it came out. I've had what sounds like about the opposite experience with my 2013 N7 - no complaints and between myself, wife, and kids it gets used all the time. I may buy a second one (at that point, I'll have spent less than what a single Surface costs).

Also, this was part of the conclusion of Anand's Surface 2 review:
quote:
I feel like at a lower price (and/or with a cover thrown in as part of the bundle) Surface 2 would have a much easier time attracting more than a niche.
He then likens it to a Chromebook.

The Surface 2 is great if your primary needs basically, what it provides: internet and MS Office, and you're willing to spend a couple hundred extra dollars to get a good MS Office experience. It's not a bad device, it's just bad compared to the competition.


RE: I really hope so ...
By w8gaming on 11/1/2013 10:21:30 PM , Rating: 2
His main point is centralized device management. Essentially he wants something to lock down the device capabilities while the device is connected to the work environment, which cannot be bypassed or worked around by the users. Not having much first hand knowledge myself there so I won't comment on how much support Android has for that. Read somewhere Samsung devices are supposed to have features on that areas. Since most work environment runs Microsoft OS therefore MS is of course the vendor best suitable for implementing features such as this.


RE: I really hope so ...
By nafhan on 11/4/2013 9:44:39 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, that was something he brought up in a later comment, and not what I was responding to.


And it will
By Da W on 11/1/2013 10:24:01 AM , Rating: 2
8.1 just works.
Tablets are getting mature.
I'm guessing Bay Trail models will sell the most.




RE: And it will
By w8gaming on 11/1/2013 10:33:21 PM , Rating: 2
If only Bay Trail tablets are actually available now. It is odd that there is almost no reviews on all these incredibly priced tablets except maybe a few article on Transformer T100.


RE: And it will
By ET on 11/2/2013 2:16:22 PM , Rating: 2
The Dell Venue 8 Pro is widely available, and lots of people have posted personal experiences with it. The problem with reviews is that sites tend to only review samples they are sent, and I guess Dell didn't send any.


I'm torn between the 2 tablets
By SpartanJet on 11/2/2013 6:55:18 PM , Rating: 2
I keep going back and forth, The Pro 2 might be a bit overkill since I have a very nice Windows 8 laptop, but the ability to run full Windows 8 programs in a tablet form is really tempting.




You can want in one hand...
By msheredy on 11/1/13, Rating: 0
no way in hell
By Argon18 on 11/1/13, Rating: -1
"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer

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