Welcome!

AJAX & REA Authors: Scott Hirsch, David H Deans, Carmen Gonzalez, Pat Romanski, Aria Blog

Blog Feed Post

Microsoft’s Surface Pro Review: A Windows 8 Ultra Tablet

Surface Pro

Is Microsoft’s Surface Pro an Ultrabook or a Tablet? Matt Tweety Tverberg, one of Microsoft’s Biz Dev guys in NY, calls it an Ultra Tablet. When you play with one, you’ll see his point.

The Surface Pro tablet is a personal interface for Windows 8 that changes your relationship with the Windows programs you use through touch. It is profoundly different than using Windows 8 on an Ultrabook, laptop or desktop computer.

A Brief History

When Windows 8 came out last October, the reaction was lukewarm. People were just getting used to Windows 7 (which was Microsoft’s apology for Windows Vista) and, remarkably, Windows 7 worked!

Windows 8 was a radical departure. The start button was gone, everything was moved, there was a new graphical user interface and it was a brand new way to use your laptop and desktop computer… in the least efficient way possible. Windows 8 is a touch-based interface and when Microsoft jammed it into keyboard and mouse environment, the experience was somewhat sub-optimal.

Of course, Windows 8 was created to take Microsoft into the Post-PC world, so it needed some Post-PC hardware. Enter “The Surface with Windows RT.” It came out at the same time as Windows 8. The Surface RT ran crippled form of Windows 8 in a tablet form factor. The hardware was mediocre and the software was lackluster. It wasn’t very good – and I’m being kind.

Windows 8 You Can Touch

Last Saturday, February 9, the Surface Pro tablet hit store shelves and almost immediately sold out. Whether demand was at an all-time high or whether it was simply understocked, we may never know.

The important thing to know, though, is that this is exactly the product Microsoft needed to release and exactly the right time to do it. With Mobile World Congress coming up in less than two weeks, now is the time to talk about productivity and connectivity on the go.

As I like to say, mobile is “the” story of 2013 — and in a Post-PC world, the Surface Pro delivers!

The Specs

The Surface Pro is both a tablet and a computer. There are two models: a 64 GB version ($899) and a 128 GB version ($999).

You can use it like a tablet: you can do everything you need to do using the touchscreen, and it even comes with a pen that has many, many uses within Windows 8. You can write with it, erase with it and use it as a stylus like you would on any other tablet.

Although the Surface Pro looks like a long, thin iPad, it is nothing like an iPad. It’s twice the weight and it’s a real computer (as opposed to an iOS device, which is not suitable for any Windows-like computing chores).

To use the Surface Pro like a computer, an optional (but definitely recommended) keyboard snaps into the bottom of the tablet and transforms it into a full-featured, powerful ultrabook. There are two keyboards you can buy: a flat, bendable keyboard that costs $99 and a more tactile version with movable keys that costs $129. (I actually prefer the $99 version … it folds thinner and I can actually type a little bit faster with it.)

Surface Pro Keyboard Covers

The Surface Pro rocks an i5 processor, which is the same chip that’s used to power most of today’s mid to high-end laptops. Unlike the lesser Surface RT tablet released in October, the Surface Pro runs the full version of Windows 8, which means it can run any program designed for Windows: Microsoft Office, Adobe CS Suite, Intuit programs like Quickbooks Pro or Quicken, just to name a few. And, by the way, Microsoft One Note is really fun with a stylus.

The display is very nice. It has a full 1080p screen that gets even bigger (up to 2,550 x 1,440) when you connect it to an external display. The Surface Pro also comes with a USB 3.0 port, and has an external memory card slot, which is almost assuredly going to be used on a daily basis given the lack of free space after formatting and the restore partition has been allotted.

One other annoyance: the battery life on the Surface Pro is only about four hours. But since the device is WiFi only, the limitation can be worked around. Microsoft has already addressed concerns about the battery life and the space issue, though, and has also hinted that future accessories could improve the battery life.

How Does This Fit Into My Life?

If you’re in the market for a new PC, you suddenly have a new option. Instead of buying an Ultrabook for approximately $1,000, you can buy a Surface Pro with a keyboard for approximately $1,000. Not only are you buying a computer of similar power, but you’re also getting a high-end tablet bundled in the price.

While heavy for a tablet, it’s very light for a laptop. Even with the keyboard factored in, it’s still lighter than nearly any laptop out there … and far more portable. You can stick it in your purse, briefcase or backpack and almost forget it’s there.

Taking a plane ride to Barcelona with me for Mobile World Congress? You have an entertainment machine and a work machine in one sleek package. That’s exactly what you need in today’s Post-PC world.

Should I Buy One?

Do you want a tablet for web browsing, games and a little work? You can buy an iPad for about half the cost and have access to the best App Store in the world.

Do you want a computer that delivers the most bang for your buck? You can buy an Ultrabook that’s a little more powerful for a few hundred dollars less.

But if you’re in the market for a new, fully functional Windows 8 computer, and you like the idea of a tablet, the Surface Pro was designed with you in mind. The ability to run every Windows program you have on a two-pound tablet feels like a game-changer. But, then again, we’re in the early days … a Surface Pro Mini can’t be too far off.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the host of Fox Television’s "Shelly Palmer Digital Living" television show about living and working in a digital world. He is Fox 5′s (WNYW-TV New York) Tech Expert and the host of United Stations Radio Network’s, MediaBytes, a daily syndicated radio report that features insightful commentary and a unique insiders take on the biggest stories in technology, media, and entertainment.

@CloudExpo Stories
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Ashar Baig, Research ...
In her General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Anne Plese, Senior Consultant, Cloud Product Marketing, at Verizon Enterprise, will focus on finding the right mix of renting vs. buying Oracle capacity to scale to meet business demands, and offer validated Oracle database TCO models for Oracle development and testing environments. Anne Plese is a marketing and technology enthusiast/realist with over 19+ years in high tech. At Verizon Enterprise, she focuses on driving growth for the Verizon Cloud pla...
StackIQ offers a comprehensive software suite that automates the deployment, provisioning, and management of Big Infrastructure. With StackIQ’s software, you can spin up fully configured big data clusters, quickly and consistently — from bare-metal up to the applications layer — and manage them efficiently. Our software’s modular architecture allows customers to integrate nearly any application with the StackIQ software stack.
As Platform as a Service (PaaS) matures as a category, developers should have the ability to use the programming language of their choice to build applications and have access to a wide array of services. Bluemix is IBM's open cloud development platform that enables users to easily build cloud-based, creative mobile and web applications without having to spend large amounts of time and resources on configuring infrastructure and multiple software licenses. In this track, you will learn about the...
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, will discuss how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money! Speaker Bio: ...
Compute virtualization has been transformational, yet security policy implementation and enforcement has lagged behind in agility and automation. There are a number of key considerations when implementing policy in private and hybrid clouds. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Holland Barry, VP of Technology at Catbird, will discuss the impact of this new paradigm and what organizations can do today to safely move to software-defined network and compute architectures, including: How normal ope...
Samsung VP Jacopo Lenzi, who headed the company's recent SmartThings acquisition under the auspices of Samsung's Open Innovaction Center (OIC), answered a few questions we had about the deal. This interview was in conjunction with our interview with SmartThings CEO Alex Hawkinson. IoT Journal: SmartThings was developed in an open, standards-agnostic platform, and will now be part of Samsung's Open Innovation Center. Can you elaborate on your commitment to keep the platform open? Jacopo Lenzi: S...
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic • Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff hap...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SOA Software, an API management leader, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SOA Software is a leading provider of API Management and SOA Governance products that equip business to deliver APIs and SOA together to drive their company to meet its business strategy quickly and effectively. SOA Software’s technology helps businesses to accel...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Utimaco will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Utimaco is a leading manufacturer of hardware based security solutions that provide the root of trust to keep cryptographic keys safe, secure critical digital infrastructures and protect high value data assets. Only Utimaco delivers a general-purpose hardware security module (HSM) as a customiz...
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
SYS-CON Events announced today that ElasticBox is holding a Hackathon at DevOps Summit, November 6 from 12 pm -4 pm at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. You can enter as an individual or team of up to 10 developers. A New Star Is Born Every Month! All completed ElasticBoxes will then be sent to a judging panel - 12 winners will be featured on the ElasticBox website in 2015. All entrants will receive five full enterprise licenses for one year + ElasticBox headphones + Elasti...
Once the decision has been made to move part or all of a workload to the cloud, a methodology for selecting that workload needs to be established. How do you move to the cloud? What does the discovery, assessment and planning look like? What workloads make sense? Which cloud model makes sense for each workload? What are the considerations for how to select the right cloud model? And how does that fit in with the overall IT tranformation? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, John Hatem, head of V...
Cloud services are the newest tool in the arsenal of IT products in the market today. These cloud services integrate process and tools. In order to use these products effectively, organizations must have a good understanding of themselves and their business requirements. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Brian Lewis, Principal Architect at Verizon Cloud, will outline key areas of organizational focus, and how to formalize an actionable plan when migrating applications and internal services to...
SAP is delivering break-through innovation combined with fantastic user experience powered by the market-leading in-memory technology, SAP HANA. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Thorsten Leiduck, VP ISVs & Digital Commerce, SAP, will discuss how SAP and partners provide cloud and hybrid cloud solutions as well as real-time Big Data offerings that help companies of all sizes and industries run better. SAP launched an application challenge to award the most innovative SAP HANA and SAP ...
Ixia develops amazing products so its customers can connect the world. Ixia helps its customers provide an always-on user experience through fast, secure delivery of dynamic connected technologies and services. Through actionable insights that accelerate and secure application and service delivery, Ixia's customers benefit from faster time to market, optimized application performance and higher-quality deployments.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Calm.io has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of DevOps Summit Silicon Valley, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Calm.io is a cloud orchestration platform for AWS, vCenter, OpenStack, or bare metal, that runs your CL tools puppet, Chef, shell, git, Jenkins, nagios, and will soon support New Relic and Docker. It can run hosted, or on premise and provides VM automation / expiry, self-service portals,...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Aria Systems, the recurring revenue expert, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Aria Systems helps leading businesses connect their customers with the products and services they love. Industry leaders like Pitney Bowes, Experian, AAA NCNU, VMware, HootSuite and many others choose Aria to power their recurring revenue bu...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce t...
Blue Box has closed a $10 million Series B financing. The round was led by a strategic investor and included participation from prior investors including Voyager Capital and Founders Collective, as well as the Blue Box executive team. This round follows a $4.3 million Series A closed in December of 2012 and led by Voyager Capital. In May of this year, the company announced general availability of its private cloud as a service offering, Blue Box Cloud. Since that release, the company has dem...