Friday, 22 June 2012
Surface: An underwhelming presentation of half baked hardware
After watching the Surface introduction event, I couldn't avoid a feeling of an underwhelming presentation. There were many bits suggesting this was planned to be a Big Product Announcement, but it turned out to be a classical Microsoft introduction: a supposedly fantastic product, which is introduced well before its actual availability, and what's worse: it is introduced in such a beta stage that even well prepared professionasl are incapable of hiding some flaws.
The key, and in fact only, innovative feature in Surface is the cover keyboard. And it was not shown to work, in some detail, during the whole introduction, if I recall correct. It was used a couple of times in ways suggesting that something was not fully functional.
Besides, there is a dual approach: the fully mobile device (which I presume will be the actual competitor of the iPad) running on ARM processors, and a professional device running fully fledged Windows 8 and is supposed to be a desktop class computer. As many otheres before, I think this approach is flawed, because it is impossible to combine in a single device the two holy grails: full computing power and full mobility. You go one way or the other, but in the current state of technology, pretending to be both things at the same time is only a route to confuse people.
All in all, I think this is a valuable effort of Microsoft to become, once and for all, a real player in mobility. But I smell they are going to fail, just like they failed to actually compete with the iPod despite their best attempts.