Microsoft Kept Surface Tablet A Secret By Securing The Team In An Underground Bunker

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zaznet

All that painstaking security and they came up with something completely predictable and still several years late to the tablet market with months to go before we'll see one.

I worry that Microsoft won't be able to pull success out of their tablet endeavor. They continue to try and push the appearance of one platform on multiple form factors while each one still stands apart from the others. The company who needs to be most worried about this is Microsoft themselves, another failure with this product launch can push them further behind.

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Engelsstaub

Ooh, ooh! I want the pink one.

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Strangelove_424

I have long wondered how Microsoft can remain so adamantly dismissive or ignorant of their own customers’ demands, but this bunkered development process might just explain everything.

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maxeeemum

I really don't believe the bunker stuff. It sounds like more M$ marketing hype. They see the writing on the wall. This is just more of a desperate move to sell a doomed OS.

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theplustwo

I don't really understand the need for such secrecy, given they've been touting Windows 8/RT as a tablet OS for months on the "Building Windows 8" blog. The tablet looks basically exactly how you'd expect. The kickstand and detachable keyboard are neat, but not exactly revolutionary.

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chop_slap

-3

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jgrimoldy

There must be something more substantial to this device than the keyboard for Microsoft to sequester the devs like that...

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Cregan89

There is, Windows.

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theplustwo

Sure, but they've been showing off Windows 8 on tablets ever since that D9 event over a year ago.

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Cregan89

I agree. I just mean in response to the question of developer support. The interest for developer's isn't from the hardware. It's from the software.

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Baer

Actually, I think it is a game changer. Enterprise that already uses MS as their OS (which is most of us) will be far more open to a Windows tablet. I already know of some who have put their consideration of iPads on hold. I also think that this weeks activities show that Microsoft is taking the compitition seriously, perhaps for the first time.
In addition the investment community likes what they see.
It is impossiable to say with certainty but I think when we look back on this in a few years we will admit that in fact it was a game changer.

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thetechchild

Well, I don't think this first tablet of theirs will be a mass adopted device, unlike the iPad and other major competitors. But I think you're right that this signals MS's first radical new product for a long time. In the long run, it will probably lead to second and third tablet iterations that will take over large parts of the market.

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sammy_sam

Aren't they going a little overboard given it's a tablet with a kickstand and detachable keyboard? :) Not exactly a game changer.

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TechGoudy

I do believe that the "game changer" is the tablet with Windows 8 Pro and an Ivy Bridge i5 in it.

As far as we can tell Microsoft is trying to sell that particular tablet as a "PC", it will most likely contain hardware that no other tablet on the market possess. (Of course other than high end tablets that cost more than a grand.)

I will say I am disappointed that Microsoft is aiming for "Ultrabook" prices with this tablet. What would really constitute as a game changer for me at least would be if Microsoft gave us capable hardware at a price of $400 or $500.

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Cregan89

That's kind of like saying that a game changer for the auto industry would be if somebody offered a Mercedes quality vehicle for 20k. It sure would be a game changer. But it's impossible because the parts are too expensive.

Current Intel x86 chips are inherently more expensive than ARM chips. x86 chips are significantly more complex than ARM chips and therefore are more expensive to produce. ARM chips integrate most of their components into the chip itself, so they require far fewer supporting chips than Intel chips, and are much more power efficient (Intel is working on this though). So on top of the more expensive Intel chip, you also need to spend more on additional chips, additional cooling, and more on a more powerful battery. Add to that USB 3.0, 1080p screen, OS licencing costs (something no other tablet platform has to deal with) and it becomes clear why Microsoft is aiming for Ultrabook prices. Because they're not in the business of giving things away for cheaper than it costs to make it.

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wolfing

Exactly. What does it have to make it a 'game changer'... that it uses Windows RT? AFAIK WRT doesn't run Windows applications, so basically it's like yet another OS developers will have to code for, and unless this sells like hotcakes (which I doubt), it'll just replace WebOS as the latest abandoned system. For the W8 tablets, it could be a game changer if it was significantly lower priced than an equivalent ultrabook (which doesn't look like).

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Cregan89

No Windows RT doesn't run existing x86 Windows applications. But .NET based C#/VB code from existing x86 Windows applications can be recompiled for Windows RT. Windows RT also runs HTML5 and JavaScript making Windows RT debatabley the most cross-platform compatible OS behind Chrome OS. So it's actually not like another OS that developers will have to code for at all. This is why there's already 3rd party applications in the Windows 8 Store that are ARM compatible even though not a single developer outside of Microsoft has access to a Windows RT device yet.

Another massive advantage Windows RT has over iOS and Android is that it is the only OS to allow two applications on the screen at the same time.

And finally, and most importantly, is the ability for business to manage Windows RT devices using their existing Windows infrastructure (Active Directory).
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2012/04/19/managing-quot-byo-quot-pcs-in-the-enterprise-including-woa.aspx

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TechGoudy

My Sony Tablet S has the ability to bring up two applications at the same time and display one on top of the other in a way that I can still browse the internet while using an on screen calculator or play a game and browse the internet as well.

I will say, however, that I like Microsoft's implementation better so far from what I can see.

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Cregan89

True. But that's a custom implementation by Sony. It only works for those specific apps written by Sony.

There's also Cornerstone, an Android mod that allows you to run multiple apps at the same time. But it's also buggy as hell.

Windows 8/RT is the only OS to include this natively. All developer's have access to it. And their implementation of it is perfect.

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jgrimoldy

I agree on the WinRT. However the Windows 8 Pro *COULD* be a contender (extremely heavy emphasis on "could").

If it's what I'm expecting, it'll functionally be a laptop that doubles as a tablet. It'll run programs written for Windows and be managable by IT departments. If these can be Windows Domain member devices, this has the potential to be enormous.

This is all somewhat speculative, but the fact that this device will come with a nifty keyboard will pale in comparison to how well it can be integrated into existing corp environments.

If this is the case, I'm scratching my head as to why Microsoft really undersold this device at the announcement.

At the very least, the Pro unit will almost surely run programs in floating, resizable windows. This'll make everything else look like a toy. Why Microsnarf didn't play this up instead of the silly (but still somewhat cool) keyboard is beyond me.

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DU00

I think MS playing the keyboard up and all the other stuff down has to do with the mainstream consumers. Enterprises that are interested in tablets will more than likely go to Windows based ones just for the compatibility with their existing infrastructures. The ones they really have to convince are the average Joes of the world who could care less about compatibility and legacy apps and so on.

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