Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 23rd Sep 2013 16:53 UTC
Windows

While on stage, Microsoft Vice President of Surface Panos Panay explained how the teams have worked hard in making the next generation of Surface tablets cooler, lighter, quieter, more efficient and have longer lasting power reactors. The Surface Pro 2 was up first and is all about power, with new covers and better components to further improve the user experience. If you're after the premium Surface experience, this will be the correct choice.

[...]

The Surface 2 is lighter, has a faster CPU and now sports a 1080 display with ClearType. Powering Windows RT 8.1, the Surface 2 brings new exciting features to the table, without bumping the price above the competition.

Specification bumps all around, and thinner, lighter, and changes borne from customer feedback, such as the adjustable kickstand. I like the full HD display on the Surface 2 (the ARM version of Surface), and the Haswell improvements to power and battery life on the Surface Pro 2 are substantial.

Still, as a Surface RT owner, the hardware has never been the issue. My Surface RT is a very enjoyable piece of hardware to hold - well-built, sturdy, solid, and very well designed. Specification-wise, it packs more than enough power, too. Sadly, Surface was let down by software; Windows RT and the Metro interface are simply not of decent enough quality, and the applications for it are even worse - slow, jittery animations, crash-prone, rarely updated. All the hallmarks of side projects; things developers may work on when they're not working on Android or iOS applications.

Windows 8.1 seems to have fixed little of those issues (although Surface RT owners are still waiting for the final release), and with Microsoft's notoriously slow development pace, I hardly see that change any time soon.

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Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

There is no "Surface". It was always Surface RT and Surface Pro.

Surface Pro updates to Surface Pro 2 and Surface RT updates to Surface 2.

Reply Score: 4

judgen Member since:
2006-07-12

The original named Microsoft Surface project and hyped enormously a few years ago is renamed Microsoft PixelSense though in their continuing trend towards hiding any former market failures (even though the tech-demos I have seen was fairly impressive for the time)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_PixelSense

Reply Score: 3

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Hrm, could have sworn there were 3 versions of the original.

Either way, dropping RT from the name is just going to lead to confusion.

Reply Score: 2

Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

I don't think it'll make much of a difference in either direction. I honestly don't think a single person said "Surface RT is such a confusing name I'm going to buy an iPad" and I also don't think they'll say "Surface 2 is such a simple name I'm going to buy a Surface"

Where I do hope they simplify is the Lumia naming convention, that's a clusterfuck.

Reply Score: 4

aligatro Member since:
2010-01-28

Surface RT --> Surface 2
Surface --> nothing
Surface Pro --> Surface 2 Pro

I predict a lot of people with the original Surface will be upgrading to the Surface 2 only to discover that none of their apps work, none of their x86 software works, and will be returning them en masse.

Dropping the "RT" from the name of the ARM version is just going to cause even more confusion in the MS tablet space.

They really should have named it the "Surface RT 2", and then the other version should be named "Surface Pro 2".



Can someone explain why Microsoft didn't go the C# + .NET way? It seems like a perfect solution for ARM vs X86.

Reply Score: 3

tkeith Member since:
2010-09-01

Legacy software.

Reply Score: 2

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

They did. Apps in the store will run on both tablets and Windows 8 on the desktop.

But, while Windows RT has the desktop included, you can't install/run desktop apps. The included version of Office is the only desktop app allowed.

I don't know if the Surface Pro has access to the desktop or not, but it would be painful to use on a touch-only interface (no Type/Touch cover).

Reply Score: 2

lucas_maximus
Member since:
2009-08-18

http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2009/12/version-1-sucks-but-ship-i...

* Took 3-4 versions of Windows to get it right.
* Took 5 version of Windows NT.
* Took 3 versions of the CLR to get right.
* Took 8-9 versions of SQL Server to be decent.

Reply Score: 2

bnolsen Member since:
2006-01-06

Will have to see. The competitive environmnent is different now from those previous conditions. All I know is that I don't want them succeed to the point that I'm forced to pay a windows tax to get a decent tablet.

Reply Score: 1

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

What is Windows Tax? because I never seen it mentioned in my payslip.

Edited 2013-09-23 19:49 UTC

Reply Score: 1

nikcomp Member since:
2011-12-28

While MS tries to catch up to what Android did years ago. The pricing and spect bumps aren't going to cut it. MS needs.. developers, developers developers developers. Android/IOS have them.

Reply Score: 1

acobar Member since:
2005-11-15

* Took 3-4 versions of Windows to get it right.
* Took 3-4 versions of Windows to get it right.

And the competition at that time for the first versions were?

You see, the scenery this time is a bit different, they are fighting two already entrenched and "admired" players with lots of money to invest on their products too with a similar potential to keep the fight going, i.e., they get lots of cash from other activities. It is also very different from "Word x Word Perfect" case and all that happened before.

* Took 3 versions of the CLR to get right.

And I am still unconvinced of it.

* Took 8-9 versions of SQL Server to be decent.

Granted, it is a decent product now but then again it is a different battle from what MS tablets are entitled to fight.

Again, I am not saying that they may not succeed, only that its is really different this time. Will be a great spectacle, nevertheless. I am already stocking popcorn. ;-)

Reply Score: 3

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

And the competition at that time for the first versions were?

You see, the scenery this time is a bit different, they are fighting two already entrenched and "admired" players with lots of money to invest on their products too with a similar potential to keep the fight going, i.e., they get lots of cash from other activities. It is also very different from "Word x Word Perfect" case and all that happened before.


They can stay in this fight for years.

And I am still unconvinced of it.


Be unconvinced then, I will keep on solving problems for my employer using it. I really don't like it when people slag off .NET because tbh you won't find a better designed core API.

Most .NET programmers would agree that the first truly decent version was 2.

Granted, it is a decent product now but then again it is a different battle from what MS tablets are entitled to fight.


Again it was saying that Microsoft usually takes quite a few iterations to get it right.

Reply Score: 4

acobar Member since:
2005-11-15

I will keep on solving problems for my employer using it. I really don't like it when people slag off .NET because tbh you won't find a better designed core API.

And I am still waiting for the big project that will make use of all the potential .NET, XAML and all provides. I see lots of small projects that are great to interact with MS business backends, though. Perhaps, I have my fingers burned by the first iterations and should try it again but most of my things are on Linux/Android camp right now.

Reply Score: 2

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

I really like questions that are loaded, because they are easy to debunk.

ASP.NET and the .NET if you actually followed any of their blog posts or correspondence of any sort are basically trying to let yo load stuff up like Lego ... i.e as a set of components.

This attitude is generally present now in the ecosystem.

Reply Score: 2

Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

He's obviously never used OWIN, its pretty much awesomesauce for webdev

Reply Score: 3

moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

And I am still waiting for the big project that will make use of all the potential .NET, XAML and all provides. I see lots of small projects that are great to interact with MS business backends, though. Perhaps, I have my fingers burned by the first iterations and should try it again but most of my things are on Linux/Android camp right now.


Well, at my employer we have lots to choose from.

Just as an example, the last .NET project I took part on, was a two year project, with more than 30 developers on average, scattered in three development sites.

It made use of IIS, ASP.NET, App Fabric, SiteCore, SQL Server, SAP, REST/SOAP, jQuery, TFS, partial deployment in Amazon EC2.

In terms of project costs and profit, you could buy a few houses.

There are plenty of big C++/Java/.NET in the Fortune 500 consulting world to choose from.

Reply Score: 4

Daemon_ZOGG
Member since:
2009-08-26

It amazes me that micro-Ballmer is still trying to push out even more garbage than before. But, it doesn't suprise me either! Stupid is as stupid does, I guess. ;-P

Reply Score: 0

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Well that was insightful ... not

Reply Score: 4

Microsoft can't keep the pace of development.
by reduz on Mon 23rd Sep 2013 19:46 UTC
reduz
Member since:
2006-02-25

I insist on this because It's so obvious, yet no one realizes it.

Microsoft develops everything in-house. Their own OS, driver model, display technologies, programming languages. Apple does to a certain point, but not as much and Google (Google reuses plenty of what is available out there for Android).

In practice, if you compare Android, iOS and WinPhone, this reflects on how much the OS improves over time and how fast. Android is the clear winner, iOS comes second and Windows Phone has barely changed in years.

I don't think Microsoft can keep the pace of developing OSs anymore, everything takes them so long and constantly release unpolished or unfinished software. Over the time they always end up in great and mature products, but they never had the competition they have now.

Whoever the new CEO will be, I hope he or she adapts more open development models, so they can reuse more of what is available (or allows others to participate).

Reply Score: 2

Comment by ssokolow
by ssokolow on Mon 23rd Sep 2013 20:03 UTC
ssokolow
Member since:
2010-01-21

I'm glad to see they're pushing forward with the Surface Pro line. I've heard good things about the Wacom-built stylus digitizer in the base model as a cheaper, more portable alternative to owning a Wacom Cintiq.

Combine that with reports of success installing Linux on the original Surface Pro and that sounds like something I'd like to own once process has gained a bit of polish.

Reply Score: 4

Development speed
by ClockworkZombie on Mon 23rd Sep 2013 22:33 UTC
ClockworkZombie
Member since:
2012-12-12

I really want MS to succeed with the surface. The concern I have is the glacial pace of software updates and releases.

The iPad and iPhone updates tend to do things like optimise battery life and speed. How long will it take MS to release these optimising updates?

The phones suffer from the same problem.I wish to upgrade my phone, I am torn between the Nokia 1020 phone and the IPhone 5s, I know Apples' software updates will be timely and available to install.

Historically Nokia updates in Australia are not released in a timely fashion and woe if you have a contract phone as the carrier may never allow it.

Tablet software updates are not tied to the carrier like phones but the release schedule for one is tied to the other.

Reply Score: 4

v beating a dead horse....part 2!
by jnemesh on Mon 23rd Sep 2013 23:46 UTC
v I'll wait for the Google Edition
by skandalfo on Tue 24th Sep 2013 05:47 UTC
brion
Member since:
2010-11-04

Windows 8.1 is a solid but incremental update; I've been fiddling with the final release and am itching to update my gaming PC to it. (Unfortunately no final version of RT on MSDN though, so my Surface RT is still on Preview...)

The biggest problems remain:

* Modern app ecosystem is both locked down AND relatively unpopular. People put up with iOS's code signing and review system because there's a huge market, but there's just not the same demand for 'Modern' Windows apps so devs don't put serious effort into it. The 'side project effect' is very real.

* The ARM desktop is totally locked down for NO APPARENT REASON. This hugely limits the appeal of Windows RT as a lightweight dockable laptop/desktop replacement unless Office is literally the *only thing you do* on a Windows machine.

Simply allowing cross-compiling of desktop apps to ARM would have made the Surface RT a useful work tool for me instead of a toy and testing machine...

Reply Score: 1

Comment by Barnabooth
by Barnabooth on Tue 24th Sep 2013 20:58 UTC
Barnabooth
Member since:
2013-09-24

The Ars Technica article "Hands on with Surface 2..." by Peter Bright refers to the Surface Tablet as "robust and secure".
I have run into similar comments before, and although I have assumed that some of this refers to the apparently high quality of the construction, there usually seems to be an implication that the operating system itself is solid.
I see very mixed results when I ask if a Surface needs anti-virus (which astonishes me—I would have assumed it was a given).
Is there any reason to think the Surface operating system is more stable or more secure than Android? I run one flavour or another of Linux on my systems, but Android, and tablets in general, are among the many things I know nothing about.
Just curious.

Reply Score: 1