It hasn't even been a full year since Microsoft launched its first generation Surface Pro for $900, a price tag that undoubtedly scared off more than a few buyers. When we tested the Surface Pro, we came to the conclusion that it has "more than enough power for any casual computing need," though cheaper and lighter solutions made it a tough sell. If pricing is all that held you back, take note that Best Buy is currently selling the original Surface Pro for $500, which is $400 off its original retail price.
Part of the reason why Microsoft had so much trouble moving its original Surface and Surface Pro products was because it priced them too high. And with the Surface Pro specifically, one could also argue that Microsoft did a poor job marketing the device as a full fledged laptop, but that's water under the bridge at this point. Second generation Surface products are now available to purchase in 21 countries, and so to rid itself of old inventory, Microsoft just slashed $100 off the price of Surface Pro.
We test Microsoft’s Surface Pro workhorse tablet in several common desktop-use cases to see how it stacks up to a traditional PC
For the last three years, there have been questions about what the spectacular rise of the iPad and other tablet computers means for the traditional desktop PC. Are tablet sales cannibalizing PC sales (the “post-PC” worldview), or is this simply a new category that people are buying alongside traditional computers? Will the tablet remain a third device, between a smartphone and a PC, or will it gradually take over the role that’s currently played by laptop and desktop computers? With the release of the Surface Pro, Microsoft isn’t making these questions any easier to answer.
Note: This feature was originally featured in the June 2013 issue of the magazine.
Along with every other hardware player, Microsoft is hoping to see a boost in sales from the back-to-school shopping frenzy that's about to get underway. Unlike everyone else, however, Microsoft is sitting on a mountain of unsold Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets, which to this point have only generated $853 million in revenue. This led to Microsoft taking a $900 million charge on unsold inventory followed by a round of price cuts, first with Surface RT and now with Surface Pro.
Maybe Microsoft should have listened to its hardware partners when they pissed and moaned about the Redmond outfit deciding to build its own hardware. Acer was especially outspoken, warning Microsoft on several occasions that competing in the hardware space is a whole different ballgame than software, but those warnings fell on deaf ears and now Microsoft is paying the price.
Microsoft needs to reexamine its Surface RT/Pro strategy.
Redmond, we have a problem. Citing "people with knowledge of [Microsoft's] sales," Bloomberg is reporting Surface tablet shipments in the neighborhood of just 1.5 million units, indicating a lethargic start for the company's foray into modern day tablets. This isn't what Microsoft envisioned when it redesigned and re-imagined Windows specifically with touchscreen devices in mind.
The best tablets on the market are also the worst to drop.
Here at Maximum PC we love to strip machines down and rebuild them just to see what makes it tick, but with modern gadgets that isn’t always easy. Screws have been replaced by glue, and the simple pleasures of popping the cover off to perform upgrades seems to be a lost art. iFixit has emerged as the Internet’s ultimate authority on gadget reparability, and its newly updated list of tablets puts both Microsoft and Apple fighting for the distinction as worlds least fixable tablet.
BlueStacks wants you to get your Android apps back on Windows 8
At last month’s Consumer Electronics Show, Android virtualization startup BlueStacks announced that its “App Player” software, which lets people enjoy Android apps on their PCs, was coming to Microsoft’s latest desktop operating system. It promptly delivered on that promise earlier this week when it released a new version of its free-to-download tool.
iFixIt's teardown of the Surface Pro reveals that it's even more difficult to service than Apple's iPad.
Our diabolical friends at iFixIt gave Microsoft's Surface Pro notebook/tablet the teardown treatment, and as always, they documented the surgery with plenty of pics every step of the way. It's a given that you need nerves of steel to tear into some of the devices that end up on iFixIt's operating table, and that's especially true of the Surface Pro, which scored a measly 1 out of 10 on iFixIt's Repairabilty scale (the higher the score, the easier it is to service).