Microsoft Surface


Ok – so anyone who knows me, knows I had to eventually write about Surface. You already know I’m not the place to turn for pro-Apple sentiment. Now, I’m not against Apple – totally. I just don’t believe Apple is the right answer to every tech question.
I pre-ordered my Surface, and got it bright and early on the 26th. I really was looking for something to take the place of my iPad. I was anxious to have features like dual windows/app views, full support for Office documents and cloud syncing built into the platform. I was anxious to be able to plug-in extra memory, or to plug-in my mouse. I was anxious to have good keyboard (aside from Bluetooth) and the ability to work with more than just touch… because that’s the way I work. I do more than read on my device. I need to do work. Real work. I like my Surface. I don’t think that everyone who owns an iPad will automatically want to trade their device for a Surface. But I work and live within the Microsoft ecosystem. I like SkyDrive and I need to be able to work on Office documents while offline – and have them automatically sync with the cloud when I’m online again.
Surface has some good features that I didn’t expect. Surface has the ability to add my son as a user on my device (if I want to do that) and to allow him certain access – without giving him admin access. I can’t do that natively on iPad. Those kinds of things need to be part of the OS not an app I have to buy to add that functionality. The dual window capability is very cool and something I wish I could do on iPad. I can very simply see the list of my open apps, and indicate one to dock beside my main app. I can easily switch between primary and secondary app windows by sliding the divider to the left or right. These are things that just make the experience very nice.
Overall, I’m very pleased with Surface. If I had to describe it, I would say that it’s the best of both tablet and pc worlds. It’s more than just a tablet – but there’s legacy stuff that has to be supported on the device. There are things people are used to (like going into Control Panel or Task Manager) that they couldn’t just take away. They are doing something that android devices never needed to do, and something that Apple has yet to do. Microsoft is consolidating development for multiple platforms into one platform. Apple developers must specifically develop for iOS and OS/X in very different ways, and must maintain 2 completely separate code bases. Microsoft is attempting to allow developers to use one code base and deploy to multiple platforms. It’s not perfect, but by making Windows 8 the OS for both Mobile devices and desktop devices, they have taken a huge step in the right direction. Only time will tell how well the plan works.

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