Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft Surface’

Samsung Galaxy Pro – Pretender or Contender?

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014 by Justine<

Samsung has leapt head first into the on-going tablet wars with the launch of its new Galaxy Pro tablet range. Rumours have been circulating for a while but the official launch at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas yesterday brings a new contender to the tablet landscape.

So far there have been two main choices for would be tablet owners, the iPad and the Surface.  Regular readers will know that we’ve investigated the faults and merits of each on several occasions and tried in vain to negotiate a productive peace between the two camps.

Obviously our coverage so far has been somewhat coloured by what we want from a tablet – we readily admit to a certain business/presentation bias  – but we don’t think we’re alone in wanting functionality, connectivity and accessibility (and if it can throw in some stunning looks as well, then all the better).

Samsung have chosen to pitch their tent right on the frontline of the Apple versus Microsoft’s stand off and if early reviews are anything to go by we’re in for some really interesting times.

Galaxy Pro is armed to take on both sides and is pulling no punches, pricing has not yet been released but we know that’s an area where Samsung can kick a little butt. The Spec is right up there too – Samsung have obviously done their homework and rather than sidestep the competition by inventing themselves a niche they’re charging full speed into what other competitors seem to consider hallowed ground.

This is no imitator or pretender to the throne so if Apple and Microsoft are listening, now might be a good time to kiss and make up, because it looks like it might need the best of both of you to take this one on….

Scratching the Surface

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012 by Justine<

The Microsoft Surface has been eagerly awaited here at Eyeful Towers. We’ve held on to the hope that it will combine the best of Microsoft’s software ingenuity with the outright sexiness of the iPad and a USB port. So now that the great and the good have had a chance to run to run it round the block, it’s time to look at whether our dreams have come true.

Much of Apples success has been based on access to Apps and this is an area in which the Surface seems to be struggling. The stuff that already lives under the Microsoft umbrella is there and works well, Skype being an example. But most Apps will be developed by the same independent companies that currently do most of their business with Apple gadget owners. Developers will only invest in Apps for the Windows operating system if they see a valid return on investment, while many consumers will hold fire on buying a Surface until the Apps are available – resulting in a good old fashioned chicken and egg conundrum.

Many commentators are also critical of the level of touch screen sensitivity. But the Surface has a clever little keyboard (sadly an optional extra on cheaper models) so that’s ok – or is it? If the keyboard is the best way to interact with the Surface, is it still a bona fide tablet or just an anorexic laptop?

It would seem that Microsoft themselves are not entirely sure, with the more powerful Windows 8 Pro model (expected in about three months) being pitched as a rival to the MacBook Air.

The build quality has a reassuring solidity but I suspect that an errant piece of fluff or hair may be able to play havoc with the connectors. For those who wish it to be known that they are definitely not using an iPad the ‘clickety-click stand and connect’ theme tune will definitely make their point. But it’s a brave move by Microsoft because drawing attention to users makes it even more important that you’ve given them something that they’re proud to be seen with.

From a business perspective having fully loaded versions of the Office suite on a tablet is fantastic. Here at Eyeful we’ve blogged, begged and cajoled for this for a while but now we have it on the Surface does that mean that the iPad App is mothballed forever?

iPad sales in 2013 are expected to be around 142.8 million units, so unless the Surface really is a giant killer there will still be a lot of frustrated businesses.

And last but not least it does have a micro USB.

Microsoft have made much of the business potential of the Surface and if they can make a niche for themselves as the ‘serious’ competitor to the ‘stylish’ iPad, we may just have a fight on our hands.


The Surface is coming…

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012 by Simon<

The countdown has started…

On the 26th October, Microsoft release their rather nice looking tablet/PC hybrid, Surface.

Questions abound…

  • Will it prove to be a worthy adversary to the ubiquitous iPad?
  • Will it prompt business presenters to think “tablet” when previously they’ve just thought “laptop“?
  • Will the operating system be up to scratch?  Have Microsoft learned from their Vista nightmare?
  • Will coffee shops and airport lounges be full of people making that irritating clicky noise with their magnetic covers?

We’ll be sure to tell you.  Watch this space…

Microsoft Surface – Lessons from Kinect

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012 by Justine<

Listening to Simon’s podcast about the Microsoft Surface tablet launch got me thinking about their previous forays into hardware, specifically Xbox Kinect.

The Kinect is a very clever bit of hardware. So clever in fact that its use in gaming is almost like using a laser beam to slice bread and even in that arena, it has suffered greatly from its post Wii market launch (are there lessons to be learned with the iPad?).

Outside of the gaming world the Kinect has been adapted for use in some real ground breaking stuff; diagnosing Autism in children, guiding lasers in cancer surgery, remote bomb disposal and 3D video conferencing to name just a few. And yet the only impact it has on most of our lives is the pulling of a previously undiscovered muscle.

It seems to me that with Kinect, Microsoft lost out on two levels.  Firstly they did not realise the full potential of what they had and, secondly, they launched into the wrong market at the wrong time. There is a huge difference between “we’re going to remove your tumour using a games console” and “we’re going to bring technology advanced enough to defuse bombs to your video games”.

Kinect was undersold at launch and maximising its huge potential is an uphill struggle.

Now we have Surface and, once again, Microsoft are late arrivals at the party. So how can Surface make the impact that it deserves to? What it needs is a niche that other tablets are failing to fill and as Simon suggested, businesses around the world need a tablet that can do what they want it to – straight out of the box.

Dear Microsoft