Waiting for a Dell

Line outside the Microsoft Store waiting for the $99 Dell Venue Pro

The line outside the Scottsdale Microsoft Store at 8:30 AM. Waiting for the $99 Dell Venue Pro. The line was about twice as long as this and would have been longer if there wasn’t an employee letting people know that all the Dell Venues they had were already sold to people at the front of the line.

I should have gotten there earlier.

1, 2, 3, and counting…

Microsoft is building another Surface Tablet, the Xbox Surface. First impression: I’m flabbergasted. What on earth are they thinking? Two versions of Windows on tablets both called Surface isn’t confusing enough? Guess not, let’s throw in another! And at the same time, let’s confuse developers too! Which Windows platform to develop for? Windows RT which is a good price point and looks like a nice tablet experience, but can’t really run Office? How about the much more expensive Windows 8? Maybe Windows Xbox? Or is that Surface Xbox? Really, they can’t even keep their naming conventions straight between hardware and operating systems.

And I would like to know precisely how many tablets Microsoft expects me to buy? One for casual consumption, one for “creation”, and one for gaming? How much more clearly can they make an argument to just buy an iPad?

And who is going to buy the Xbox Surface? Does Microsoft think parents will buy it for their kids? So now it’s up against the real Xbox? Doesn’t that just cannibalize Xbox sales? At least with the iPad, the kids can justify it with all the educational and creative apps that are available.

All this is going to do is cause a massive amount of confusion and drive people right into the iPad with it’s much simpler proposition: one tablet to do it all, almost.

Microsoft Surface RT Looks GOOD

Microsoft Surface RT

Looks like Microsoft did their homework on this one. Seems a bit pricey at $499 (with keyboard). But on the other hand, that’s a damn fine looking keyboard and if it works only half as well as Microsoft says, it’ll be a pretty compelling device. And then there is the little issue of Office. Surface RT comes with Office. Which, for most people, is a very compelling advantage.

Let me just come out and say it, the Surface RT hardware looks awesome. But, god I hate saying this, but it’s running Windows. Wish I didn’t have to say that and I hope I’m wrong but I’m worried that it just won’t measure up. I say this based on my experience with Windows 7 on my four year old MacBook. It was so fast when I installed a few years ago. But over time, the damn thing slowed down so much that I finally gave up and built a PC to replace it. The really damning thing is that OS X still runs very well on it. So it’s not the hardware, it’s the…software. And that’s where I think both RT and Pro will fall short. The hardware won’t be able to keep up with bloatware. Oops, I mean software.

I could be wrong. And I hope that I am wrong because both the Surface RT and PRO look terrific. These could easily be the most exciting things since the iPad. But honestly, I think they could be the biggest things since the iPhone. And that’s big because, in my humble opinion, the iPhone was the biggest thing in computers since the dawn of the PC.

Microsoft Surface RT side view with keyboard

I could gush over the design of the RT, but just look at those pictures. Perfect. And the designers seems 100% on their game. I litterally punched the air in excitment when one designer was talking about the keyboard:

Microsoft Surface Keyboard Design

Full video.