What’s Beneath the Surface?

What’s Beneath the Surface?

August 7

When I picked up a Surface Pro at TechEd in June, I was a bit tentative. I really haven’t had the chance to play around with Windows 8 because we haven’t upgraded across the board here at StorageCraft (yet). Plus I’ve read what a lot of people have said since it released last fall. Where’s the start button? It’s not intuitive! How do I do a search?

I’ve had an iPhone and an iPad for several years and I’ve become used to the Apple way of doing things. I wouldn’t call myself a die-hard Apple user though. There have been quite a few frustrations trying to “cut the cord” with my iPad. I wanted to be able to travel on business without having to take along my laptop. There were one or two attempts at this, which ended in frustration because I couldn’t effectively edit documents or save them easily. Since I spend most of my life in Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint, my productivity was severely hampered without my laptop. Ultimately I ended up bringing both my iPad and my laptop on business trips, which defeated the purpose.

It took me a few days to open the box and get rolling, but I followed the advice of one of my colleagues and watched the tutorials and short videos that Microsoft put together for the Surface. I downloaded a few apps. I did some work in Word and Outlook, which are fully-functioning in the Surface Pro. (The interface has built in Office applications.) Then I hit the jackpot: I streamed a movie on Netflix.

Those who are touting the benefits of Surface Pro and Surface RT are talking up the productivity aspects. Hands down, this is a major benefit for businesses that allow employees to use mobile devices, whether they’re company issued or BYOD. But the crystal-clear HD screen for movie watching is what really sold me on my Surface Pro. Yes, this may make me seem shallow. Or it may sound like I didn’t really want a tablet that could help with productivity. But the truth is I’ve come to want it all. I want a device that’s easy to travel with. I want to use it for work, and then use it for fun when I’m really tired of editing my colleague’s eight-page white paper.

There are advantages and disadvantages with any device. What I like about the Surface Pro is that it’s basically a desktop in tablet form. It has all of the infrastructure, file management and multi-tasking that I need. It’s also able to run Flash.

While the reviews for both the Surface Pro and the Surface RT have been lukewarm, there are some users who really like what it has to offer. For professionals who live in a Windows environment and want a tablet that will make it easier to work on the road, Surface Pro is the way to go. Surface RT is also a good option for students. This may be why many people think Microsoft missed the boat in marketing Surface as another toy instead of a productivity tool.

The question remains whether Microsoft’s decision to drop the price for their tablets is a sign they’ll be abandoning this market, or they’re digging in for the long haul. Whether or not Microsoft opens up the tablet for the reseller channel in the future may help signal the company’s plans, but Steve Ballmer didn’t discuss it in his keynote at Worldwide Partner Conference. Those of us who like the Surface can only hope that Microsoft is happy getting a piece of the tablet pie rather than a huge chunk.

Are tablets bringing about the “Post PC Era?” Here’s our own Bret Dayley’s take in his article “When did the ‘Post PC Era’ begin? That’s a clown question, bro.