Rambling Notes About Surface And Windows RT

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The entire point of a tablet is not to deal with the same crap we deal with on desktops and notebooks.

Which is why I keep thinking about Windows RT every now and then.

Using a machine to get things done — the functionality matters, not allegiance to any particular bit of software.

For example, I use a photo resizing program and an editing program on my desktop. These are really functions to me. If there were RT equivalents — or just one thing — to do that, full Windows capability wouldn’t be an issue. Just like it isn’t an issue for anyone who can do those things with either iOS or Android.

Surface RT is overpriced by at least $100-$200. This year people will be able to buy an Archos 97 Titanium or Platinum tablet with Retina-class screen for, respectively, $249 and $299. Surface RT competes against those, whether Microsoft will acknowledge it or not. We’re not living at the beginning of tablets, where iPad 1.0 set the floor at $499. The floor is being lowered by other brands. Apple can hold out with price because they created the category, have the best hardware, and a bazillion apps.

It’s hard to see how Microsoft can control things. What if Archos found a way to do a $249 eight-inch Windows RT tablet? Or Barnes & Noble? With lighter-faster-cheaper the rule for tablets — moreso than with notebooks — Microsoft has slim hope for holding Surface RT pricing. Having a full USB port is no reason for someone to pay more than competitors. Hell, even a Nexus 7 can use a portable hard drive with the right cable and software!

Is Connected Standby worth a premium? Why couldn’t either iOS or Android add that? And why bother with it in a tablet when a smartphone does that?

I don’t yet see something distinctive about Windows RT that sets it apart from either iOS or Android. Full Windows 8 in a tablet is really a crutch — and I keep wondering if I really need it, since I’m interested more in functions than specific apps.

Functions:

• Google Books PDF reading
• YouTube and similar sites
• Blog posting
• Light photo editing (crop, resize)
• Screensnap editing (JPEG/PNG)
• Watching video (especially Divx/Xvid AVI)
• RSS (Bloglovin or similar)
• Maps (which I actually sometimes use on the desktop)
• Audio — local and streaming music
• Twitter in an emergency
• eBook reading

Well, that’s most of the big ones.

On the other hand, for wicked-fast handling of ginormo-sized Google Books PDFs — something for which I really need a tablet — nothing yet beats a Core i3/5/7 CPU, which means a full Windows 8 tablet.

3 Comments

Filed under Windows Tablets

3 responses to “Rambling Notes About Surface And Windows RT

  1. Ric Day

    Mike, after playing a bit with RT, I just cannot see it getting traction in the mass market. It is an awful, confusing hybrid, trying to be a tablet and an ultra book laptop at the same time. The UI/UX is thoroughly confusing and wildly inconsistent, even when using only MS apps. It feels like some things were designed for touch, others for a mouse, and no rules were set to ensure consistency.

    Corporate buyers will, I think, run screaming into the night, with visions over overloaded support lines and halted productivity. Consumers who manage to spend a reasonable time trying it are going to experience enough WTF moments that the tablet + keyboard premium price is going to look like a no-go. Samsung’s decision to not make o e foe the US market says a great deal.

    That leaves the question, will the “real” Surface with full Win8 be any better? Will it be so good that corporate buyers and prosumers say, okay, I can justify that huge price? I doubt it. That device is going to be in the MacBook Retina price range, FFS.

    Can’t see a Win8 Nook, either, not when Android doesn’t come with licensing fees. It is really hard to see Surface making any kind of significant dent in the market now owned by Aple and Android.

  2. Ric Day

    Yes, I suppose it is possible the investment relationship would allow for a Nook without license fees, but my suspicion is we’ll see Nook reading software on RT and Surface, maybe even an MS-branded ebook store connected to it, selling B&N’S ebooks. I think MS wants to look like it has media to offer consumers.

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