I wish they'd been more clear about that, almost all the promotional materials show the new Surface with the Type Cover (keyboard) and pen. It feels deceptive.
I was more interested when I thought $400 would get me a complete Windows tablet/ultrabook. At $650-700, it's nice but not nearly as compelling.
It feels like airline convenience fees jacking up your ticket $100
Besides, when upgrading most people sell their old device so it just shifts the problem one step back to the person buying your old Surface.
And regardless, if you upgrade a normal amount of time for a laptop/tablet, even in a corporate environment, you will need a new keyboard every time.
Gen 1 shit never works with Gen 2 shit.
And some pens are $40 though not everyone needs the pen.
Others only want the keyboard, not the pen. Having only one variant and "take it or leave it, we know what's good for you" is a strategy. Allowing customizing is too.
*If I want a keyboard I have desktop PC with a full-sized keyboard, a big monitor and everything else I need
> On a more practical note, Kinect represents the $100 difference in price between Xbox One and PlayStation 4 this holiday. It's of course Microsoft's prerogative to go "all-in" on Kinect, but we'd sure prefer to choose at retail.
I'm not disagreeing with your comment, I agree that if they advertised the bundled price and then calling out the opportunity to buy it without a keyboard as a lower price option would be a better way to market it, but is the unit 3 pieces? (pen/keyboard/display) 2 pieces (display/pen)? or one piece? (display).
I have both the Surface Pro and the iPad pro and find that both can be operated without the keyboard although windows applications often assume the keyboard is there. And while you can use your finger on the Surface display the stylus is much more accurate.
Bottom line seems to be that Microsoft and Apple are going head to head with these things and Microsoft didn't have a 10" version. I was disappointed in the lack of LTE availability at release.
How is web browsing on the iPad Pro compared to the Surface Pro?
On my iPad 3 I found browsing frustrating because of the way Safari handled memory. I got very tired of starting to write a comment on HN or Reddit, opening more tabs to research while working on the comment, and having Safari decide that to save memory it should discard my comment tab's content and reload it from the net when I switched back...thereby also losing what I had typed so far.
Has iPad Pro improved this?
I switched to Surface Pro 4, figuring that because it is running a desktop OS and desktop browsers, it either would handle this better out of the box or I could fiddle with virtual memory settings to make it work. It did indeed handle it fine out of the box.
On the other hand I still regard the iPad as a fantastic device made for browsing, reading, media consumption an dlight work. The fact that it’s light, small and so portable enables you to always have it ready and nearby on the couch, out in the garden, at the coffee table. It’s a feature that’s hard to explain. Unless I’m doing real work, my iMac hardly gets any use these days.
The surface might handle these tasks just as fine, but I guess you’d give up at least some convenience due to the fact that, at least to me, the surface seems like a ultrabook first, tablet second.
No, they are both deceptive.
Apart from that: For my very own usage patterns, no Windows machine is in the same market as an iPad. I see that they pitch it this way, but I don't know anyone who perceives those two products as comparable for daily usage.
Allow me to introduce you to me :-) I presumably have different usage patterns that you do.
I've got both an iPad Pro 10.5 and a Surface Pro and keyboards and styli for both of them. With the exception of software that is available for one and not the other, they are pretty much interchangeable as a daily driver with two caveats.
1) If I am using my Surface on the road I have to tether it through my phone for internet connectivity.
2) If I am using the iPad have to SSH into a Linux machine to get a Linux userland prompt.
I use Dropbox on both of them to access shared files.
The big differentiator for me, is that on Surface when I plug in the dock connector it lights up my dual 2K monitor/keyboard/mouse setup and it is just like being on a desktop machine. Not something I can do with the iPad.
The other aspect that probably makes my setup unique is that I'm not developing code for either the iPad or the Surface, just using them as essentially terminals to get to the systems where I am writing the code.
FWIW, I haven't used it since I bought a 6th-gen iPad with LTE. It suits that role better for me.
For gaming, Windows is awesome. But this machine would be terrible for anything other than casual games.
For other software, everything interesting and exciting is coming out on iOS, macOS, or Android. Outside of gaming, there doesn't seem to be any excitement or energy behind Windows anymore. When was the last time Twitter was buzzing with talk about some Windows program?
Of course, the big market for this is running Office and a browser and that's probably enough to justify the machine. That might be a big niche, it just isn't very interesting.
To be fair when was the last time it was buzzing about some iOS or MacOS app that wasn't just an Electron app that was also available on Windows.
I remember the times when a Mac/iOS app like Clear or Coda would come out and everyone would be so hyped about it but it seems as far as I can tell those days are long gone. Which is sad as a Mac user but since the app store raced to the bottom it just doesn't seem to be worth the effort for developers to ship 3 highly tuned versions of their software for 3 Apple platforms.
I mean you can look yourself, look at the top ten free/paid on the Mac and iOS app stores, it's grim.
Windows has other market leading software that isn't on a Mac. 3ds Max comes to mind.
Nah, like every fad it will join HTA in a couple of years.
Parent mentions Sketch and a counter-example.
I pointed out it wasn't really valid.
Mentioning 3dsMax was indeed inconsiderate of me, because it didn't add up to a discussion and subverted it instead. My bad.
>when was the last time it was buzzing about some iOS or MacOS app that wasn't just an Electron app that was also available on Windows.
Surely one would typically buy a Surface Go and also buy an iPhone to play Pokemon Go.
If you live in a Sillicon Valley / Apple tech bubble, then it might seem so. But that's just your filtered bubble and bias - because you're invested into other ecosystems, you of course follow people who gush over and praise those products.
There's plenty of software still constantly being released on the most popular operating sytem in the world. You just decided to ignore it all.
I never decided to ignore Windows software at all but maybe you're right and I've inadvertently shielded myself from it. Somehow though, I still am seeing exciting projects in Linux (software defined radio has piqued my interest this week). I also see a lot of news around iOS and macOS stuff but maybe that's just because those platforms have so many high profile fans.
Aside from gamers, Windows feels mature and conservative. I run into a Windows fan about as often as I run into an Oracle fan.
So what's cool and new in the Windows ecosystem? Who are the fun startups focused on Windows?
I've used Mac, Linux, and iOS for years and had long abandoned Windows, but when I built a game PC this winter, I bought a retail copy of Windows. Mac hardware is not upgradeable enough, and Linux takes too much time.
At this point it's not like Mac is some innovation hub either.
If Ford made a small, efficient engine I might ask what they are going to use it in. Aside from SUVs and trucks, what is it that people are buying from Ford that makes the small engine interesting?
Nobody is talking about cool new Windows software and so the Windows ecosystem feels stagnant. With the number of Windows machines out there, you know that can't be true.
Speaking as someone who's more of a designer, Octane Render which is a GPU accelerated rendering engine and Oculus Medium for VR sculpting both feel completely next generation VS anything on iOS/Mac.
(I know Octane technically ships for mac but it requires a Nvidia GPU which Apple hasn't shipped for many years)
Most major areas of consumer software have been satisfied in some form or another on both of the dominant operating systems.
Is there any "major new software for Mac" that isn't simply a re-interpretation of something else that already exists?
Pixelmator, Bear, Things, Highland, and Drafts are all newish Mac-only applications that I know about because of Twitter and podcasts. With Windows having an installed base an order of magnitude larger, I should be able to name 50 cool Windows applications and I can't think of many. ResophNotes is the last new application I installed.
As for Bear, Highland and Drafts, Bear is the only one worthy of mention. Highland and Drafts on the surface seem a lot like remixes of iAWriter to me.
Keep in mind that Mac users seem to be more likely (yeah, yeah, citation required) to evangelize apps than Windows users do.
As for cool Windows apps... off the top of my head:
I just bought a license of Groupy (https://www.stardock.com/products/groupy/), and it was money well spent for me. I get that a future version of Windows will probably make it a feature, but I get a lot of value out of it now.
DisplayFusion (https://www.displayfusion.com/) is another utility I can't live without. It's great whether you use one or multiple monitors. If you are thinking of buying it, Steam is the cheapest way to get it on multiple computers.
People switching from Mac might like Quicklook (https://www.microsoft.com/store/productId/9NV4BS3L1H4S).
If you've got a lot of sound sources and want to manage playback volumes, EarTrumpet is pretty great (https://www.microsoft.com/store/productId/9NBLGGH516XP).
Mailplane users on Mac would probably like Easymail on Windows (https://www.microsoft.com/store/productId/9NBLGGH626NC).
The first thing I always install on Windows is CMDer (http://cmder.net/), which is also great for switchers who think they're going to miss the Mac terminal.
Codesector (http://www.codesector.com/) makes a couple of great utilities worth paying for in Teracopy and DirectFolders.
I 100% agree and I think it's a shame. There's not enough joy in Windows world.
Thank you for the list of applications. I'm going to check them out. Groupy looks immediately interesting to me because I prefer to work on a single monitor (I do use virtual desktops though).
> Most major areas of consumer software have been satisfied in some form or another on both of the dominant operating systems.
I think that attitude reflects a lack of innovation in both hardware and software for desktops/laptops. At least migrate some things from mobile, such as more cameras, touch, accelerometers, payment systems, etc. Why can't I pay online as easily on my laptop as I can on my phone? Where's the facial recognition logon?
That's a hodgepodge of things in your list. Some of those are hardware (cameras, touch, accelerometers).
You make it sound like there's a huge divide between paying with your laptop (which is site based, not app based) compared to a phone. I personally don't think it's that much of a big difference (I use 1Password to fill in credit card fields, which works fairly well). I actually prefer to buy and pay for stuff on a computer over a phone, but that's just my own preference.
As for the facial recognition logon, you can always use Windows Hello if you've got a supported camera (which, by the way, relatively few people have). That API is available to Windows developers and has been used in apps in the Windows store.
Weird you mention this, the Surface line has been shipping this for years.
I have a Windows 10 tablet from 2015 with an Atom x5 Z8500, and it will run pretty much any game Valve has made - DOTA 2, anything running on the HL2 engine, etc - at 40+ fps in 720p. The iGPU in that thing has 12 EUs and will hit 600mhz, while the Pentium 4415Y in the Surface Go has 24 EUs and will hit 850mhz.
The single worst thing is the way windows trackpads work. It feels like time traveling to 1997.
I need my only "hands on" compute platform to be a phone.
Can't be done because there's no x86 smartphone chip. Intel, in their infinite brilliance, killed off their smartphone chip project in April of 2016.
However, if MS got serious about this I suspect Intel would quickly slap an x86 chip together.
I really hope there is a new, light and fast operating system being worked on in Microsoft Labs. Something with a Linux core for developers with a brand new desktop environment could compete with MacBooks.
For many years Microsoft Research worked on an entirely new OS, codename Midori (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midori_(operating_system)), and it actually went into the incubation phase (which is Microsoft speak for "This is no longer a research project. We are turning it into a product") Then it got cancel around 2 or 3 years ago … just before it otherwise would have become a beta.
Today, they are not working on a new OS AFAIK. They are working on something called Andromeda. They have been working on that for, I don't know, 4-5 years or something like that. It is not a new OS. It is windows 10, but they have turned it very very very modular. It has a new adaptive shell named cshell as its party trick. Andromeda is really about that shell. Not so much about the modularity.
The new shell, they are working on, can adapt to any screen size or form factor on the fly and enable Microsoft's wet dream: Turning a phone size device into a tablet sized device.
You know from sci-fi movies "stretchable screens". you have a small phone size device, you stretch it and suddenly you have a book/newspaper/something-with-a-bigger-screen devices. Then you squeeze it back into phone size and put it into the pocket.
Windows need a new shell for when those types of monitors become available and it is the redmonds wet dream to be the ones that comes with those devices.
You might have stumbled across articles lately that Microsoft is about to launch (or have cancelled launching) a new device with 2 screens that you can turn in to 1 screen and there by turning a phone size device into a tablet).
That is andromeda and apparently is has been delayed (or maybe cancelled. Who knows) because the software is not ready. The "not ready part" is this adaptable shell.
That platform is limited in ways that are difficult to describe succinctly, and even with those limitations, it is a useful platform for lightweight touch interfaces. Probably not as light as Linux can be made to be, but pretty freakin' lightweight, nonetheless.
The only graphical apps that run on IoT Core are UWP apps (except for browser applications) and UWP applications handle resizing and spontaneous display resizing and changes in orientation very well. Web browsers handle this fine also, of course.
I would bet that a motivated developer could create most of what you are describing relatively easily.
I've been wanting this for years. With .Net Core, PowerShell for Linux, MS SQL for Linux, and WSL, I feel like (hope) that that is where they are headed, and if so, it's going to be awesome. A Linux OS with Windows on top and full compatibility for DirectX, games, Office, etc.
Ugh, one can dream...
I think that competing with MacBooks is first a matter of build quality. It's the hardware much more than the software that absolutely stands in my way of switching.
Also, Windows 10 is a really great operating system and they keep dominating the OS market share. The majority of enterprise users use and prefer Windows.
I think most of the times we are not being honest about the real impact of productivity between different solutions. Is a proficient developer on Windows less productive than a proficient developer on macOS/Linux?
Probably there are some differences; but is it really significant?
What about build quality? I know Macs have god-tier touchpads, but if I'm at a desk I carry my mouse around and get by just fine. If I forget my mouse; I'm stuck with the clitoris of my old Lenovo, which I hate but I do my job just fine and don't stress over it.
I know we like to nerd out on our choices; but the general market doesn't really care that much and that's why Windows keeps owning.
I’d fare better with some flavor of Linux but I’d need time to tweak my setup to be just right.
A big part of my attraction to macOS is that most things are set up as I prefer right out of the box, with the extent of tweaks necessary being little more than spending 5 minutes in system preferences and downloading Alfred.
I think the enterprise CIOs use Windows because switching isn't a consideration; they've made an enormous investment in it, and cost of switching also is astronomical - consider hiring / training an all-new IT staff, development team, etc for the new platform, then recreating/repurchasing and redeploying all software running natively, then retraining every user. Whether or not they like Windows is a non-issue.
And the fact that CIO/CTOs are not willing to migrate to a new OS may indicate that those "efficiency and productivity gains" macOS users brag about may not be significant :)
I really understand the difference between different UIs and hardware, I'm an Linux with i3wm user myself; but I'm not blinded to the fact that even though I may think I'm more productive on a given software/hardware environment; those are not the factors that really weigh in (without going to extremes of course).
IMHO, the users' opinion of the OS is meaningless and even a signal of problems. Users should only have to deal with applications (beyond clicking an icon to start the app); the OS is IT department's job. If users have to think about the OS, the IT department isn't doing its job an users are being distracted from doing their jobs (of course, that is a big generalization). Windows has much that IT staff like, such as Active Directory and Group Policy.
(And the TouchBar fiasco.) I would love to think they're just on a temporary excursion that will be corrected, but it sure seems like Apple doesn't care about the PC experience any more and are just moving rather than innovating. I really want to switch, enough that I tried switching to an X220 a while back, but the hardware of even the best just doesn't seem on par.
I just bought an ipad 2018 (with pen support) for 329€  new in Paris. VAT included.
I wanted something to show my decks on the go and not having to put "geek mode on" with my laptop.
Im all for diversity, but not at any price.
I would consider that surface for 3/7 - 4/7 of the price of the ipad. More is Microsoft not wanting my business.
I just saw 399 on MS side. Not.
I'd easily pay 10 Euros extra over an iPad for a fully functional computer - Seems like an easy choice
Surface is wonderful at showing and creating presentations :)
I currently own a 9.7” iPad Pro and I’d say at least 80% of the apps I have installed, maybe more, have proper iPad UIs or at the very least have light tablet adaptations.
My tablet is an iPad and it is by far my favorite computer to use. The killer feature for me is the Apple Pencil combined with Good Notes and Procreate. I just worry because the software is so cheap I'm not sure its priced sustainably.
Another app that I just started using is Drafts and I'm quickly starting to feel like it could be a game changer for me. It has me thinking I would want to get an Apple Watch to use with it but I think I would need an iPhone and I don't really want to move off of Android for my phone.
The $329 entry level 9.7 inch iPad now supports the Apple Pencil (as well as the new cheaper Logitech Crayon...), so not so sure this argument holds up. This $399 entry level Surface doesn't come with the stylus as standard either, with stylus the Microsoft tablet hits $499.
It's so close, yet just far enough to make me prefer my Macbook for coding.
the utility/portability is amazing..
BTW, what do people find interesting/exciting from Apple these days?
So you’d take it with you when you normally would not take anything or take the plunge and take your full laptop with you.
It’s like an accessory to your main laptop. There’s probably some use case for that situation, and this is their answer.
Eh... kinda. It certainly has the best hardware available for the task, and is still open enough that developers need not get approval to distribute software for it, or create software for it, but one wonders how long that will last.
See: https://youtu.be/rWrHfGfzoOE?t=6757 for additional ranting. (from that time to the end, there are some unrelated Q&A).
They certainly seem like they're ready to lock the platform down at any moment if they decide it suits them. Meanwhile, the experience of using Windows gets crappier and crappier. It's becoming more and more difficult to believe that they aren't intentionally trying to kill off desktop computing.
I play mostly fighting games (when I can find the time), and those, for the most part, used to be the exclusive domain of consoles.
Outside of some first party exclusives (like Nintendo's Smash series), just about every major fighting game franchise outside of Virtua Fighter (and who knows, that might even show up hidden in a release of Yakuza) is now on the PC. They're coming out so often that I can't even keep up now. And while I know there are Steam haters out there, it has been great for me. I buy games only when they're heavily discounted, so I now have a huge library that is a fraction of the cost of some of my old console purchases.
IIRC, DOA6 has been announced too, and I would expect that to show up on PC.
It's a competitive advantage and they won't be giving it up so easily, they know a lot of people would drop Windows in a heartbeat were not for it being "the" PC gaming platform.
Even if Apple decides today to invest heavily in having games as first party citizens in macOS (something that they never showed interest in), they would still need to deal with the 20+ years of backward compatibility and huge existing library that Windows has.
I just threw away my copy of Civilization II because Windows 10 couldn't run it (I think it was 16 bit code).
Civ 2 for instance runs flawlessly on Wine. Even on Windows 7 I had to install a fan made patch to get it to run without crashing.
1) Half of this rant is complaining about how terrible Razer is as a company. Razer's software and hardware problems are well known and well documented, none of that is Microsoft's fault.
2) "Pop-ups during gameplay" is part of what you get from having an open operating system. Sure, it might sound nice for Windows to ban anything from interrupting gameplay (as Casey says, "no gamer would ever accept a popup during gameplay -- it's absurd to even consider").
But people really do want that. Removing it would mean you can't get incoming call alerts (Skype), it would mean VoIP indicators couldn't warn you if you are/arent on a hot mike, it would mean you can't use the Steam in-game overlay, it would mean you could never have FPS counters or software-based screen recorders (like FRAPS), and so on. All of that is useful to one user, and "annoying popup spam shit over my game" to another user.
Microsoft actually tried to block popups over gameplay in UWP and PC gamers rejected it specifically because it prevented popups from Steam / Fraps / Nvidia / AMD from running overtop of games - https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2016/02/microsoft-needs-to-st...
Windows has to straddle this line of being a somewhat open operating system, while appreciating that 95% of it's userbase will intentionally break their computer and blame it on Microsoft when given the power of an open operating system. If Windows let average folks easily disable updates, for instance, lots of people would do it and then break their computers, or complain about Windows getting "viruses" or getting "hacked". That's not just conjecture, we have over twenty years of computing history where Microsoft tried to trust users to update on their own, with dire consequences. (See WannaCry https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/05/13/nhs-cyber-attack... where Microsoft fixed the vulnerability before it could be exploited, but users blocked/delayed the security update containing the fix)
This rant also drastically underestimating how much effort goes into making Windows work. Does anyone remember Sony's PS3 + Linux fiasco? Sony literally could not flip a switch and have a Windows PC competitor out the door "tomorrow", the idea alone is ridiculous, and drastically undervalues the work required in operating systems.
> But people really do want that. Removing it would mean you can't get incoming call alerts (Skype), it would mean VoIP indicators couldn't warn you if you are/arent on a hot mike, it would mean you can't use the Steam in-game overlay, it would mean you could never have FPS counters or software-based screen recorders (like FRAPS), and so on. All of that is useful to one user, and "annoying popup spam shit over my game" to another user.
Unless I'm mistaken, the pop ups you're talking about that people want are a) optional, and b) do not steal focus and probably don't take up 30% of the center of screen the way Windows Update, the one he's complaining about and that Microsoft practically forbids you from turning off does. Further, Windows updates rather frequently break the OS install, which was one of his other complaints. So not only do you have forced, in-your-face focus-stealing update notifications, there's a not unrealistic chance it won't even work. Even if your system does survive the update, I can assure you from experience that something probably broke. I know because I've had to block updates at my job frequently because they freaking break software, often Microsoft's own software. In other words: people kept turning off the updates because Microsoft really sucks at updates. The cost of potentially being infected is actually much less than the cost of Windows's forced update bullshit.
That's what his real complaint is: MS doesn't produce a quality product and it doesn't give a shit about that fact either. And it's people like you, who just assume that users are retards and have to be treated like children, that make modern computing suck so much.
I guess I just have an old-fashioned idea of what "personal computer" means. I think it means that it's my computer, meaning that I should be the one ultimately in control.
Answer: Maybe not a 10" Surface.
What I dream of is single computing unit (read: cpu + ram + storage + etc.) with the ability to attach to different UIs.
Maybe that's a 5" screen. Maybe that's a 10" screen. Maybe it's voice (and no screen at all).
I know Motorola tried (is still trying?) this to some extent, but as strong as they are, they are not MS.
The Surface range is the best progress I've seen in that direction to date. A compute unit that one can use as a tablet, a laptop, or (via the Surface Dock) a desktop - my Surface Book has replaced what used to be three separate devices, which is pretty good going.
Yes it would be ideal if it could also shrink down to phone, watch, or ring size, but let's walk before we try to run.
In my pocket, android phone without Google Services. No way I want this to be Windows.
In living room, an iPad for Netflix, light games and light web surfing while in sofa. I don't want Windows for this purpose either.
Kids room - gaming computer. Windows. Version 7. It's good at this. Best device for powerful gaming.
My work room. Linux laptop and a MacBook air. The macbook is great for banking and other tasks where Linux can't do it. Otherwise I enjoy Linux as my daily work horse.
Multiple devices are great!
> In living room, an iPad for Netflix, light games and light web surfing while in sofa. I don't want Windows for this purpose either.
The current windows UI for this is alright, and there's a decent number of light touch games around. It's not quite as smooth as a dedicated tablet UI, but it's close enough that the pros of single-device outweigh the cons IME.
> Kids room - gaming computer. Windows. Version 7. It's good at this. Best device for powerful gaming.
The surface book I mentioned is actually the 15" surface book 2, which handles every game I've thrown at it. I used to use a desktop, then a luggable 18" gaming laptop, but if the gaming power can be packed into a device that can also function as my travel laptop then why not? And for some modern development/computing tasks you want the same kind of powerful GPU you want for gaming, so it makes sense to use the same device for both.
> My work room. Linux laptop and a MacBook air. The macbook is great for banking and other tasks where Linux can't do it. Otherwise I enjoy Linux as my daily work horse.
I used to use linux and my home server still runs FreeBSD, but almost all the things I actually want to run - IDEs, rendering tools - are available on windows. The current "ubuntu/debian on windows" is good enough for the times when I want to play with some linux-only tool. I could use a different device with a different interface but why make things harder for myself?
1) I'm not suggesting on device for everything. I'm suggesting that having 3-ish devices where the only major difference is the interface is: stupid, wasteful, reeks of FW consumption, etc.
2) Put another way. You seem to have A LOT excess capacity just collecting dust and becoming obsolute while most of the time it's doing nothing.
Given the state of the world I find that mindset rooted in the 20th Century, and bordering on offensive.
At some point anticipating tomorrow will have to become more important than the convenience of today. Apparently that understanding is currently unevenly distributed.
It has to do with wars for profit and control, powerless or corrupted media and journalism, science as religion, culture of passive consumerism, and a future tech of AI, genetics, implants, robots which seem cool but will be used as weapons.
You can carry them arround, even do most stuff on the small touch screen.
The only problem is their interface.
You would need something better than USB or lightning. Something more like PCIe, to get a low latency connection to your other devices (ereader, laptop, desktop, tv, etc.) and the external devices could also offer your the resources that make them unique. I mean a bigger screen or different UI is cool, but the USP of a desktop is also its CPU/GPU that is much faster.
Question is, could you fit that tech in a smartphone?
It won't beat a 300W monster or accurately predict the future weather for 10 years, but it'd be more than reasonable for casual gaming.
USB2 has low enough latency for gaming mice and keyboards, and the various embedded display port interfaces (USB-C alternate mode, thunderbolt) have no more latency than desktop DP.
Also in a small form factor, the actual usage is very different than workstation usage (at least for myself, it would be messaging+email+browser+youtube vs visual studio/blender/UE4 in the workstation) and having a powerful cpu/ram would be pointless... The storage doesn't need to be that big either, I think that just storing the equivalent of %appdata% in the phone would work as it keeps your setup and preferences in your device, work software/data can be kept in the workstation attachment devices.
Currently, nearly every device I have is massively underutilized because I'm chained to a fix UI (screen size) for a given moment / need.
p.s. Do you know if this new Surface (via some W10 feature?) will be able to serve as an extended monitor for my laptop. At home I'm used to an extra screen but on the road that's no possible. 10" would be better than nothing.
It's called "The Cloud".
On my lap I have a Linux laptop, a couple Google Sheets open, an open Word document (in a browser window) which I was reading a moment ago from my Android tablet. The spreadsheet is also open on the big screen machine upstairs, from where I was videoconferencing before that, and on my wife's laptop (she's working from the kitchen). A couple terminal windows are connected to different servers, one upstairs (actually, a VM running on it), one a beefy GCE instance with lots of number crunching power and the Mac upstairs (the big screen machine), updating ports. If I want to leave the house without a backpack, I can take the tiny Acer "Cloudbook" and summon pretty much all that's on this laptop from there through a VPN and a bastion host.
I can get to my e-mail from anywhere. Same for my documents (Google and Office 365). I can edit code with the tablet (can, but really, no) or any laptop. Where the computing takes place is largely irrelevant - it's taking place in multiple machines, on multiple networks. My phone is just one point where I can get to my stuff.
And it's shit.
A Google Sheets is not Microsoft Excel. Data stored in some proprietary databases are not files. A browser is (still) not an ergonomic platform for work.
> I can edit code with the tablet (can, but really, no) or any laptop.
Exactly. Yes, but really, no. Same for editing images, or doing actual work with documents and spreadsheets.
The problem of the cloud is that data is held captive by SaaS companies, while all we've got are shiny toys working over web browser. We can't exchange data beyond what SaaS vendors allow. We can't edit data in non-vendor-sanctioned tools. We can't work off-line.
We need something that lets you retain ownership and control of your data, supports powerful software running locally, and generally doesn't treat Internet access as if it was electricity (i.e. assumes it's always available).
That's true, but OneDrive is integrated into Windows and the mobile/desktop versions of the Office programs. I can open Word on my Windows desktop, Android phone, or iPad and all of my OneDrive files will be there.
> We can't edit data in non-vendor-sanctioned tools. We can't work off-line.
> We need something that lets you retain ownership and control of your data, supports powerful software running locally, and generally doesn't treat Internet access as if it was electricity (i.e. assumes it's always available).
OneDrive and Google Drive both support offline access to files. They get synced with the cloud the next time you go online. Even Chromebooks, which are basically designed to be always online, can use Google Drive offline.
I am also free to open up any Google Drive or OneDrive file on Windows with any program I want. Both of those services integrate with the file system. On iOS, I'm not sure if it's universal, but most of the apps I use allow me to open a file from Dropbox, Drive, OneDrive, iCloud, etc.
Only if you want it that way. An NFS share can serve as a single source for your files (extra points if it's on a block-deduped, snapshotted volume). Since well before DropBox, I used a Subversion server to hold data I wanted to share across multiple laptops (back when git didn't exist, wifi was not ubiquitous, and phone data was expensive and only usable via USB). While there is nothing comparable to Google docs or Office 365 that I can host myself (that I know of), I am pretty happy with them (even though they may not be as capable as Office or LibreOffice or Python with Pandas, they do the job).
> We need something that lets you retain ownership
A small cloud server costs about $5/month. You can set up one at your house and use whatever broadband you have.
Carrying around a computer that's optimized for small size like my Celeron-based laptop, but smaller, like my phone, but also fast like my Xeon W desktop, with enough memory for me to work - 16 GB may be enough, with a capable mid-range GPU for number crunching, but also with a long battery life and a enough storage to hold my projects is not possible yet and, when it is, I doubt it'll be enough.
> And it's shit.
Perhaps the answer is "the cloud" but not the way you see it now. We're at the point where streaming games running on a remote server is actually a thing (it's still not great, but it's a start).
If bandwidth gets fast enough, maybe the future is you running desktop apps using a super fast remote desktop that's in the cloud, and not the overglorified web apps that we currently think of as "the cloud".
Only if you live near their datacenters and have exceptional bandwidth and pings - a real problem when the major ISPs consider 150ms+ pings and kb/s internet speeds to be "fast enough" for their customers.
You also have to give up a lot of "rights" to play those games - all of your "first sale" doctrines, backing up saves, the ability to play offline, and so forth.
It might be a start for some, but it's a non-starter for so many more.
The provider, who can ban you on their whim with no practical recourse.
The ISPs between yourself and your provider, which is a real problem when ISPs have such lax requirements about "what is broadband"; when they have huge ambitions for making money off your traffic.
The browser vendors, who break backwards compatibility like it's going out of style. This goes back to the provider too, who like to dictate which browser you must use to access their services.
That's a lot of links in a fragile chain just to have access to basic computer functionality.
A mid-range phone has more than enough CPU, RAM, storage, GPU to do everything 99.9% of consumers need to do: browser, email, word, excel, Candy Crush, even Fortnite etc.
Just plug it into a USB-C monitor, plug a keyboard & mouse into the monitor & voila all your issues with sharing a computer and syncing your documents have disappeared. Along with time & money cost of maintaining multiple computers.
So why has it failed? It's a chicken & egg problem.
The available solutions aren't polished enough to be suitable for the mass market, and the market isn't big enough for all of the app providers to polish their app to seamlessly adapt between such disparate UI paradigms.
Normally, tech goes through the bleeding edge. Early adopters put up with the lack of polish and provide the early market for development of that polish. But the phone as a single unit of computing isn't suitable for the bleeding edge. The bleeding edge is pretty much the only place that needs specialized devices.
Chromebooks had a similar issue, but found their path to market through schools.
What is the phone as computer breakthrough market going to be?
I see two possibilities, there are probably others.
1: Apple. I'm confident that Apple has prototyped this out and then deemed it "not ready yet". If/when they do it, it will be polished from day 1 and would drag app makers along with them, solving that chicken & egg problem.
2: Businesses. I could easily imagine several large businesses targeting their in house apps at a phone or phone-like device that can plug into monitor stations.
I think that ultimately, the hardware / software producers want it to fail. The more profit in selling you multiple "you MUST have THIS" widget and a single catch-all system for less money and less consumption.
How about an eco-system of hardware / solution as a service. I mean, aside from your contacts and photos what about your phone must you own?
Then why did they invest so much money trying to make it work?
Modularity comes at a cost. Size & weight will all be compromised in order to make this device. Having devices for specific use cases - phones and laptops for example, allow the device to be optimised for their specific use case.
A phone made up of a modular compute unit + screen will always be bigger / heavier (for the same performance) as a phone with an integrated screen.
I see this dream quite a lot on HN and I've never understood why anyone wants their phone to be their computer at their desk. How do you answer your phone if it is powering your desktop? It just seems impractical.
How important are phone calls as an "app" anyway?
First of all, for as long as Skype and Google Hangouts have been around, at least some people have been answering voice and video calls on laptops/desktops/etc for many years now.
Beyond that though, it is weird how much we seem to privilege the traditional voice call to a hand-holdable accessory. It's just one communication method in a sea of them now.
(Also, if any other communication app on your phone interrupted you the way we allow phone calls too, you'd uninstall that app and write terrible reviews on that app. It's possibly past time to rethink the modal focus-stealing device takeover that is phone call UX, I feel.)
Even if you wanted to answer the phone call in the traditional manner, a good dock should allow you to undock pretty rapidly and seamlessly switch context into the phone call anyway. (You'd want that dock to flow that well/seamlessly even for non-phone call scenarios. For instance, maybe you are going to head to lunch and want to smoothly pick up and pocket the device on your way out the door.)
With wireless docks the device might not even leave your pocket in "desktop" mode, as you work from the screens and input devices on your desk. The phone call scenario is the take it out of your pocket and answer it dance you are used to, and leaving for lunch just sends the desk to auto-sleep as you leave range without you needing to do anything else. All of that seems quite practical and not that strange from today's technology.
You'll have a camera & speakers or headset either integrated into your monitor, or plugged into it, just like almost every workplace computer does. So you just click the green "answer phone" button.
I imagine that currently 99% of phone calls are answered by the person picking up their phone, breaking this pattern would be difficult.
If it was a purely enterprise device then maybe it could work, as you could make assumptions about headsets etc, but I still don't see it being better than what we currently have.
Also if I have a desk, I have enough space and power for a high end computer, a mobile computer unit that could convert into a phone would never compete in terms of power with a desktop (or even laptop). Why restrict yourself to your most limiting use case? If you need a mobile computer/phone with a tiny processor that sips at the battery use that, then if you need a huge multi CPU multi GPU system that knows it will never be unplugged from its 1600W power supply use that. The mobile compute unit will be compromised in both these use cases.
It doesn't have to be an either/or. You can think of it as an "expansion bus" situation. You can have a bunch of compute power on the desk, but still a relatively "dumb" terminal. It can augment the mobile device from your pocket rather than being an entirely separate device.
An example would be how the Surface Book dGPU option has an extra GPU in the detachable keyboard. Attach the keyboard and you play some games you couldn't otherwise when detached. Sometimes you just use the power the mobile device itself carries; sometimes you increase its access to CPU/GPU cores as you have access to fixed resources such as work desks or home desks or cool hotel screens or what have you.
I have (and still use) a Windows Phone (Lumia 950), and the Continuum is brilliant. We've got USB-C inputs on all videoconference TVs in the office, and my phone "just works" with it. Meanwhile, the Mac users find it to be very fiddly. For one user, when he plugs in, his mouse stops working.
The only caveat is the Windows Mobile platform is dead. Too bad really, I thought Continuum had some real promise.
Damn it, MS was even demoing something of that fashion right before the pulled the plug on Windows Phone completely.
Effectively they want an universal docking-station for smartphones, I guess.
As for the motorola attempt, it needed two plugs (hdmi and USB), and they could never commit to having a single spacing and overall phone shape across generations. End result, each phone needed its own docks until Motorola went "fuck this" and released a lapdock with some massive cables instead of the dock plugs.
And the Samsung attempt seems poised to develop the same problem...
One nice feature of the NeXT cubes with the drives was that you could carry your environment on a disk and insert it on any NeXT machine to work from there. It failed because NeXT machines were never that mainstream and MO disks were slow as hell, but the core idea is that you saved your "world" to that disk, ejected it, went home, inserted it and continued to work.
I can do that with a USB stick and generic x86 computers.
If so, it would be an interesting device. 10" is somewhat small though. And I guess the weight of 1.15 pounds is without a keyboard. Any guesses how much a keyboard will add on top of that?
- Surface 3: Atom x7, 4 GB RAM, 128 GB HDD
- Surface Pro 3: i7, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB HDD
- Surface Pro 2017: i7, 16 GB RAM, 1 TB HDD
- Surface 3: reading PDFs & documentation, email
- Surface Pro 3: backup device
- Surface Pro 2017: software development, general use
The devices run different kernels:
- Surface 3: stock LTS kernel or Zen kernel with patches
- Surface Pro 3: stock LTS or stock Zen kernel
- Surface Pro 2017: git kernel with patches from (http://github.com/jakeday/linux-surface)
Works on all devices:
- SecureBoot, TPM
- touchscreen, pen input
- Typecover (detach/reattach), touchpad multitouch
- sensors (rotation, ambient light)
- WiFi, Bluetooth
- SD card
- DisplayPort doesn't always work
- webcams don't work
- everything works 100% with stock kernels
- battery readings don't work
- webcams don't work
I wouldn't consider a mobile device with broken S3 suspend to be "usable for actual day-to-day work", but to each their own I guess.
> - battery readings don't work
Wow. That's sad.
Things should be improving now that Microsoft loves open source, right? Right?
WSL == a compatibility layer on top of Windows kernel with binaries on top.
WSL doesn't contain a single line of code from Linux.
This is completely meaningless to me, and I'm more clued up than most people on this stuff. Why does Microsoft continue to sell—by the looks of it—pretty decent hardware with terrible marketing copy?
> Since my two youngest daughters...
This paragraph is completely shoehorned in, and in a different voice (the rest of the article is "We"). It's so clunky it hurts. Come on Microsoft.
Not sure they pioneered it - I had an ancient Android tablet where you could take the keyboard off (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asus_Eee_Pad_Transformer) that was released in 2011. Pretty sure that wasn't the first either - anyone know of any earlier ones?
Interestingly, here's a piece comparing the TC110 to the Surface Pro 3: https://www.pcworld.com/article/2363252/ten-years-after-hps-...
I was keeping it to set up a kitchen computer.. I should just recycle it.
But Jobs wasn't interested in stylus-based laptops.
It's just like Apple never invented the MP3 player but they sure as hell pioneered it.
Definition: One who ventures into unknown or unclaimed territory to settle.
Apple does not really fit the bill when it comes to MP3 players, but you could say they did when it came to the tablets since they pretty much created the category.
In fact it was apparently Microsoft that were the first:
Microsoft started down the path towards Surface by adding rudimentary pen support in Windows 3.1 as a response to what these guys were doing.
But good lord is Microsoft hardware just utter trash compared to what Apple is putting out these days.
Let's compare: Surface 3 Pro vs. Macbook Air. MBA is 4 years old, SP3 is about 3 years old. (I own both and am speaking 100% from personal experience here)
Macbook Air: 6-8 hours of battery life. Surface: 3-4.
Macbook air recovery from sleep: flawless. Surface sleep kinda-sorta works. Sometimes I have to push the button 2-3 times. It usually takes at least 5-10 seconds to recover. It's not instant like my Air.
Occasionally my surface does silly things, like I'll flip the cover back and the screen shows up inverted. I can shake it, turn it sideways, try to fix it, nothing. This sort of nonsense simply doesn't happen on my Macbook Air. Ever.
The keyboard of the surface pro is terrible. It flexes under normal weight and is too light to properly balance the machine.
The display on the surface, despite getting less battery life, is less bright, and less glare-resistant.
The surface is thicker. It also uses an eMMC hard disk drive that gets shoddy performance compared to the SSD in the (older) Air.
About the only thing the surface has going for it is the pen which I use from time to time.
This is one of those cases where you can make a "fair" comparison but it really isn't even close. Apple is just playing in an entirely different league than MS. Apple is designing their own CPUs while Microsoft is still trying to figure out how to get wake-from-sleep working. There just isn't any real competition here at all.
I don't know if the processor can handle it but maybe you can even install PyCharm to the 8gb memory version for some back end programming as well?
I used the Type Cover "3" and "4" (current) extensively; while they're impressive feats of engineering and some of the best keyboards for the weight/size/thickness, they're nowhere near a normal laptop keyboard, the attachment angle is wrong, and if you have large hands, outright uncomfortable.
I actually try to steer people interested in Microsoft's Surface line towards the Surface Laptop and Surface Book these days, in no small part because of the improved keyboard experience. I'd strongly recommend going to BestBuy/Microsoft Store and trying a Surface Pro with Type Cover for a long period before buying, then try the Surface Laptop/Book.
Quite fine on a machine with 2GB of RAM.
uhh.. what ? So, the OS in itself takes 700mb of RAM and that's being optimistic. OS + VSCode ~ 1 gigabyte of RAM used. In the remaining gigabyte, what can you do ? open firefox with three tabs, and maybe a music player if you're lucky ? what if you need to run a VM or two ?
10" is really, really small.
and discharge battery in 25 minutes.
Would you really like to program on such small screen, weak battery, low performance, flat unergonomic keyboard and mouse? It's for kids playing games in a car or reading documents.
>I assume it would be able to handle those programs performance-wise with its Pentium processor
On my laptop with i5 doing `yarn start & ./gradlew bootRun` takes over a minute, on a PC with Ryzen it's 8seconds, on a tablet, I don't want to know how long it would take on a tablet with slower disk and RAM.
And the idea you can't do front end (or really any) development on a slower machine is completely ridiculous. People are doing this around the world every day especially with incremental compilation.
Also, the storage is a proper 128GB m.2 SATA SSD. The reviews say the WACOM digitizer is accurate and fast. The screen is the same as the Surface Pro 2. Reviews and reports say the device is durable enough. (Also, some descriptions say it's dual Android-Windows, it's not, it's just W10) Asking around, the only drawback I was able to find is if you get a dud, you need to send it back to China for repairs which can run 80-100 USD.
The price is just 330 USD.
Depends where you buy. Gearbest will ship and service it for you in EU. No idea about US. No affiliation. I hear Banggood is also fine but no first hand experience.
Also I’d rather get this Cube: https://techtablets.com/cube-i35/review/
It has the major advantage of being an actual laptop. It still has a touch screen if you’re into that sort of thing.
I really don’t understand the point of a mobile device that you can’t put on your lap or in your pocket. To each their own, I guess.
10” PixelSense™ Display with 1800 x 1200 (217 PPI) resolution, 3:2 aspect ratio, 10-point multi-touch, and ink
64GB eMMC, 128GB, solid-state drive (SSD)
1 x USB-C, 3.5 mm headphone jack, 1 x Surface Connect port, Surface Type Cover Port, 1 x MicroSDXC Card Reader
The do seem dead set on keeping the "surface connect" port for charging.
As mentioned by others, type cover sold separately.
Of note is also that they mention that the screen is compatible with the surface "dial".
No type cover and a relatively lo res screen makes this a bit of a "meh". Still over 200 PPI isn't terrible.
I just got a new ThinkPad laptop with a 13 inch screen at 1080p, which is perfect. Enough screen resolution to do my work comfortably but no superfluous dpi to kill battery and cause scaling issues.
Scaling issues and glitches really ought to be things we can get around soon enough.
Battery/power is likely to remain a trade-off for a while though (although there were some efforts on hybrid eink/lcd screens that could trade refresh for power - for certain use cases).
All that said, and somewhat more pragmatic: 1080p on a 13" really isn't near high enough dpi for the nice immediacy of drawing with a proper pen on something like a surface pro.
It's one of those cases where a difference in magnitude becomes a difference in kind.
Honestly, the experience of using Android apps on a tablet is much worse than using iPad apps to me. Too many Android apps just treat the tablet like a huge phone.
These things are so variable from user to user-- speaking for myself only, 13.3-14" is too small for me to use as a daily driver.
On the other hand, I also have an original Surface Pro, and the small screen is usable for me when not being used as a daily driver.
If Microsoft didn't think there was a market for the Surface Go, I highly doubt that they would have made them.
More power consumption means more heat to dissipate, means it needs to be larger. Smartphone and x86 are at odds in terms of design. In a world where Apple is doing everything they can to trim off mms, including removing all the ports, I don't know if there's much room for a big fat x86 phone.
This was when Windows 8 licensing was free for any devices with 4gb or less of RAM, which caused a huge flood of Chinese Windows tablets and netbooks. I'm not sure if that's still going on.