Lispian Random meanderings on whatever catches my fancy

Microsoft Surface

It’s rare that I get at all excited about a piece of hardware, but Microsoft’s Surface has me pretty excited. The reason? Not because it’s a tablet. No. Not that. That’s a “who cares” type of thing. No, it’s for what I think it is, for what I’ve been asking for for a long time: a tablet computer.

Now, I know that all tablets are computers but they’re pretty pathetic ones. Microsoft’s Surface seems to resolve that issue. It’s a tablet that runs Windows and can run Office, especially in the Pro variation wherein it can (hopefully) run anything Windows can usually run.

Sure, that sounds great but that’s only about 10% why I think this is exciting. The other 90% of my excitement comes from something I believe the Pro will do, and maybe even the base version, namely connect to a monitor and thus provide you with a full-on computer.

Unlike Apple that gives you an iPad but you need a Mac to go with it, Microsoft seems to be thinking: why have 2 or 3 devices when one will do.

I think the Surface will connect to a yet unannounced monitor and via Bluetooth hook up a keyboard and a mouse providing the owner with a full-on Windows desktop. A desktop, mind you, that you can take with you to the coffee shop and use the Touch Cover to do your work [B]effectively on your work computer[/B]. And then, you can take it home and use it as your home/desktop computer there. Finally, it’s still a tablet, so it does all the tablet things we love, like consuming information from the internet or reading books in the Kindle app, say.

If my beliefs are right it’s sheer genius and Microsoft will sell boatloads of this thing. It’s going to be unbelievably popular. I would just love to only have a monitor at home and at work and a powerful tablet that I can use as the “brains”. Throw in storage in the cloud for backup and this thing would be better than anything Apple’s produced.

And whatever people may think of Microsoft they do have a huge cadre of dedicated people and gobs of cash to throw at this. They can own the enterprise and, if done right, own home desktops, too. For most people they only need enough power to read email, browse, etc. Some want to write in Office or draw pictures in Visio. Few need the horsepower of a full blown computer. So the Surface might be the perfect solution: fast enough for nearly everyone, useful nearly all the time. Allowing people to take their electronic lives with them in a single package is extremely compelling. Couple Surface with Azure and Microsoft may have a one-two punch that leaves everyone reeling. Throw in cash incentives to developers to get touch apps onto the device ASAP and the sky’s the limit with this.

So I’m eagerly awaiting announcements concerning the Pro. It might be the thing I’ve been waiting for for 10 years: a single device that can be used everywhere, anytime and replaces all my computers with one, single box hooked perpetually to the web.

And now I wait.

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June 2012
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