IoT User Interface Authors: Elizabeth White, Kevin Benedict, Dana Gardner, Ed Featherston, Liz McMillan

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
Intelligent machines are here. Robots, self-driving cars, drones, bots and many IoT devices are becoming smarter with Machine Learning. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Sudha Jamthe, CEO of IoTDisruptions.com, will discuss the next wave of business disruption at the junction of IoT and AI, impacting many industries and set to change our lives, work and world as we know it.
In the 21st century, security on the Internet has become one of the most important issues. We hear more and more about cyber-attacks on the websites of large corporations, banks and even small businesses. When online we’re concerned not only for our own safety but also our privacy. We have to know that hackers usually start their preparation by investigating the private information of admins – the habits, interests, visited websites and so on. On the other hand, our own security is in danger bec...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu 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. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their online busine...
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Penta Security is a leading vendor for data security solutions, including its encryption solution, D’Amo. By using FPE technology, D’Amo allows for the implementation of encryption technology to sensitive data fields without modification to schema in the database environment. With businesses having their data become increasingly more complicated in their mission-critical applications (such as ERP, CRM, HRM), continued ...
Enterprises have been using both Big Data and virtualization for years. Until recently, however, most enterprises have not combined the two. Big Data's demands for higher levels of performance, the ability to control quality-of-service (QoS), and the ability to adhere to SLAs have kept it on bare metal, apart from the modern data center cloud. With recent technology innovations, we've seen the advantages of bare metal erode to such a degree that the enhanced flexibility and reduced costs that cl...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Embotics, the cloud automation company, 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. Embotics is the cloud automation company for IT organizations and service providers that need to improve provisioning or enable self-service capabilities. With a relentless focus on delivering a premier user experience and unmatched customer support, Embotics is the fas...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudbric, a leading website security provider, 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. Cloudbric is an elite full service website protection solution specifically designed for IT novices, entrepreneurs, and small and medium businesses. First launched in 2015, Cloudbric is based on the enterprise level Web Application Firewall by Penta Security Sys...
Governments around the world are adopting Safe Harbor privacy provisions to protect customer data from leaving sovereign territories. Increasingly, global companies are required to create new instances of their server clusters in multiple countries to keep abreast of these new Safe Harbor laws. Is it worth it? In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Adam Rogers, Managing Director of Anexia, Inc., will discuss how to keep your data legal and still stay in business.
In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Nick Son, Vice President of Cyber Risk & Public Sector at Coalfire, will discuss the latest information on the FedRAMP Program. Topics will cover: FedRAMP Readiness Assessment Report (RAR). This new process is designed to streamline and accelerate the FedRAMP process from the traditional timeline by initially focusing on technical capability instead of documentation preparedness. FedRAMP for High-impact level systems. Early in 2016 FedRAMP officially publishe...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Impiger Technologies will exhibit in Booth #109 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. Impiger Technologies is a world-class, enterprise software product engineering company specializing in Mobile Application Development, Cloud Applications, Microsoft Technology Solutions, Web Technology and Telecom Services. Impiger Technologies helps enterprises improve busi...
Qosmos, the market leader for IP traffic classification and network intelligence technology, has announced that it will launch the Launch L7 Viewer at CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley, being held November 1 – 3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The L7 Viewer is a traffic analysis tool that provides complete visibility of all network traffic that crosses a virtualized infrastructure, up to Layer 7. It facilitates and accelerates common IT tasks such as VM migra...
As companies adopt the cloud-to-streamline workflow, deployment hasn’t been very seamless because of IT concerns surrounding security risks. The cloud offers many benefits, but protecting and securing information can be tricky across multiple cloud providers and remains IT’s overall responsibility. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Simon Bain, CEO of SearchYourCloud, will address security compliance issues associated with cloud applications and how document-level encryption is critical for sup...
Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, will draw together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cemware 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. Use MATLAB functions by just visiting website mathfreeon.com. MATLAB compatible, freely usable, online platform services. As of October 2016, 80,000 users from 180 countries are enjoying our platform service.
SYS-CON Events announced today that MathFreeOn 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. MathFreeOn is Software as a Service (SaaS) used in Engineering and Math education. Write scripts and solve math problems online. MathFreeOn provides online courses for beginners or amateurs who have difficulties in writing scripts. In accordance with various mathematical topics, there are more tha...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
SYS-CON Events announced today that StarNet Communications 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. StarNet Communications’ FastX is the industry first cloud-based remote X Windows emulator. Using standard Web browsers (FireFox, Chrome, Safari, etc.) users from around the world gain highly secure access to applications and data hosted on Linux-based servers in a central data center. ...
Virgil consists of an open-source encryption library, which implements Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS) and Elliptic Curve Integrated Encryption Scheme (ECIES) (including RSA schema), a Key Management API, and a cloud-based Key Management Service (Virgil Keys). The Virgil Keys Service consists of a public key service and a private key escrow service. 

In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, will discuss how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team a...