Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: Aleksei Gavrilenko, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Jaynesh Shah

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.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Internet of Things (IoT) will be a hybrid ecosystem of diverse devices and sensors collaborating with operational and enterprise systems to create the next big application. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Bramh Gupta, founder and CEO of robomq.io, and Fred Yatzeck, principal architect leading product development at robomq.io, discussed how choosing the right middleware and integration strategy from the get-go will enable IoT solution developers to adapt and grow with the industry, while at the same time reduce Time to Market (TTM) by using plug and play capabilities offered by a robust IoT ...
17th Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some form of XaaS – software, platform, and infrastructure as a service.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Secure Infrastructure & Services will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Secure Infrastructure & Services (SIAS) is a managed services provider of cloud computing solutions for the IBM Power Systems market. The company helps mid-market firms built on IBM hardware platforms to deploy new levels of reliable and cost-effective computing and high availability solutions, leveraging the cloud and the benefits of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS...
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps 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 opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
"We have a tagline - "Power in the API Economy." What that means is everything that is built in applications and connected applications is done through APIs," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at Akana, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 16th Cloud Expo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
The 5th International DevOps Summit, co-located with 17th International Cloud Expo – being held November 3-5, 2015, 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. Among the proven benefits, DevOps is corr...
The basic integration architecture, as defined by ESBs, hasn’t changed for more than a decade. Most cloud integration providers still rely on an ESB architecture and their proprietary connectors. As a result, enterprise integration projects suffer from constraints of availability and reliability of these connectors that are not re-usable across other integration vendors. However, the rapid adoption of APIs and almost ubiquitous availability of APIs amongst most SaaS and Cloud applications are rapidly redefining traditional integration approaches and their reliance on proprietary connectors. ...
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
Internet of Things is moving from being a hype to a reality. Experts estimate that internet connected cars will grow to 152 million, while over 100 million internet connected wireless light bulbs and lamps will be operational by 2020. These and many other intriguing statistics highlight the importance of Internet powered devices and how market penetration is going to multiply many times over in the next few years.
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi’s VP Business Development and Engineering, will explore the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context wi...
WebRTC converts the entire network into a ubiquitous communications cloud thereby connecting anytime, anywhere through any point. In his session at WebRTC Summit,, Mark Castleman, EIR at Bell Labs and Head of Future X Labs, will discuss how the transformational nature of communications is achieved through the democratizing force of WebRTC. WebRTC is doing for voice what HTML did for web content.
To many people, IoT is a buzzword whose value is not understood. Many people think IoT is all about wearables and home automation. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed some incredible game-changing use cases and how they are transforming industries like agriculture, manufacturing, health care, and smart cities. He will discuss cool technologies like smart dust, robotics, smart labels, and much more. Prepare to be blown away with a glimpse of the future.
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems, described how to revolutionize your archit...
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society-changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jason Mondanaro, Director, Product Management at Metanga, discussed how you can plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change the world and it starts with business models and monetization strategies.
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. BMC delivers software solutions that help IT transform digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive business advantage. BMC has worked with thousands of leading companies to create and deliver powerful IT management services. From mainframe to cloud to mobile, BMC pairs high-speed digital innovation with robust IT industrialization – allowing customers to provide amazing user experiences with optimized IT per...
There will be 150 billion connected devices by 2020. New digital businesses have already disrupted value chains across every industry. APIs are at the center of the digital business. You need to understand what assets you have that can be exposed digitally, what their digital value chain is, and how to create an effective business model around that value chain to compete in this economy. No enterprise can be complacent and not engage in the digital economy. Learn how to be the disruptor and not the disruptee.
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will addresses this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
Business as usual for IT is evolving into a "Make or Buy" decision on a service-by-service conversation with input from the LOBs. How does your organization move forward with cloud? In his general session at 16th Cloud Expo, Paul Maravei, Regional Sales Manager, Hybrid Cloud and Managed Services at Cisco, discusses how Cisco and its partners offer a market-leading portfolio and ecosystem of cloud infrastructure and application services that allow you to uniquely and securely combine cloud business applications and services across multiple cloud delivery models.
In his General Session at 16th Cloud Expo, David Shacochis, host of The Hybrid IT Files podcast and Vice President at CenturyLink, investigated three key trends of the “gigabit economy" though the story of a Fortune 500 communications company in transformation. Narrating how multi-modal hybrid IT, service automation, and agile delivery all intersect, he will cover the role of storytelling and empathy in achieving strategic alignment between the enterprise and its information technology.
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists peeled away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud environment, and we must architect and code accordingly. At the very least, you'll have no problem fillin...