Welcome!

IoT User Interface Authors: Elizabeth White, John Basso, Automic Blog, Liz McMillan, AppDynamics 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
Cloud analytics is dramatically altering business intelligence. Some businesses will capitalize on these promising new technologies and gain key insights that’ll help them gain competitive advantage. And others won’t. Whether you’re a business leader, an IT manager, or an analyst, we want to help you and the people you need to influence with a free copy of “Cloud Analytics for Dummies,” the essential guide to this explosive new space for business intelligence.
Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, discussed how leveraging the Industrial Internet a...
Ixia (Nasdaq: XXIA) has announced that NoviFlow Inc.has deployed IxNetwork® to validate the company’s designs and accelerate the delivery of its proven, reliable products. Based in Montréal, NoviFlow Inc. supports network carriers, hyperscale data center operators, and enterprises seeking greater network control and flexibility, network scalability, and the capacity to handle extremely large numbers of flows, while maintaining maximum network performance. To meet these requirements, NoviFlow in...
When it comes to cloud computing, the ability to turn massive amounts of compute cores on and off on demand sounds attractive to IT staff, who need to manage peaks and valleys in user activity. With cloud bursting, the majority of the data can stay on premises while tapping into compute from public cloud providers, reducing risk and minimizing need to move large files. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Scott Jeschonek, Director of Product Management at Avere Systems, discussed the IT and busin...
There will be new vendors providing applications, middleware, and connected devices to support the thriving IoT ecosystem. This essentially means that electronic device manufacturers will also be in the software business. Many will be new to building embedded software or robust software. This creates an increased importance on software quality, particularly within the Industrial Internet of Things where business-critical applications are becoming dependent on products controlled by software. Qua...
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
"We host and fully manage cloud data services, whether we store, the data, move the data, or run analytics on the data," stated Kamal Shannak, Senior Development Manager, Cloud Data Services, IBM, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
With the proliferation of both SQL and NoSQL databases, organizations can now target specific fit-for-purpose database tools for their different application needs regarding scalability, ease of use, ACID support, etc. Platform as a Service offerings make this even easier now, enabling developers to roll out their own database infrastructure in minutes with minimal management overhead. However, this same amount of flexibility also comes with the challenges of picking the right tool, on the right ...
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Am...
"This week we're really focusing on scalability, asset preservation and how do you back up to the cloud and in the cloud with object storage, which is really a new way of attacking dealing with your file, your blocked data, where you put it and how you access it," stated Jeff Greenwald, Senior Director of Market Development at HGST, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
Large scale deployments present unique planning challenges, system commissioning hurdles between IT and OT and demand careful system hand-off orchestration. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Smith, Senior Director and a founding member of Incenergy, will discuss some of the key tactics to ensure delivery success based on his experience of the last two years deploying Industrial IoT systems across four continents.
“We're a global managed hosting provider. Our core customer set is a U.S.-based customer that is looking to go global,” explained Adam Rogers, Managing Director at ANEXIA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device.
IoT is rapidly changing the way enterprises are using data to improve business decision-making. In order to derive business value, organizations must unlock insights from the data gathered and then act on these. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, and Peter Shashkin, Head of Development Department at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how one organization leveraged IoT, cloud technology and data analysis to improve customer experiences and effi...
In today's uber-connected, consumer-centric, cloud-enabled, insights-driven, multi-device, global world, the focus of solutions has shifted from the product that is sold to the person who is buying the product or service. Enterprises have rebranded their business around the consumers of their products. The buyer is the person and the focus is not on the offering. The person is connected through multiple devices, wearables, at home, on the road, and in multiple locations, sometimes simultaneously...
“delaPlex Software provides software outsourcing services. We have a hybrid model where we have onshore developers and project managers that we can place anywhere in the U.S. or in Europe,” explained Manish Sachdeva, CEO at delaPlex Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor – all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
Let’s face it, embracing new storage technologies, capabilities and upgrading to new hardware often adds complexity and increases costs. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Seth Oxenhorn, Vice President of Business Development & Alliances at FalconStor, discussed how a truly heterogeneous software-defined storage approach can add value to legacy platforms and heterogeneous environments. The result reduces complexity, significantly lowers cost, and provides IT organizations with improved efficienc...