• Views June 27, 2012

It's now been some time since the introduction of the Microsoft Surface and to be honest, I'm still not sure what to make of it.

First of all - I'm not sure what the product is and what need it is designed to fulfill, exactly. Microsoft seemed to position it as a tablet, but in my opinion it's really more of a cross between a tablet and a PC. It's nicely spec'ed out, but I am not certain as to why they didn't announce a shipping date or pricing. Pricing is going to be really, really key. If they can keep the intel version (I personally have no interest in the ARM one) under, say $700, things could get interesting. I have to imagine they will get this right; the stakes are too high to blow it on pricing and they can afford for it to be a bit of a loss leader in the spirit of the early days of Xbox.

No question, the keyboard is cool. Aesthetically speaking, the whole damn thing is cool but I'm not entirely surprised; their new phones are cool, too. It's apparent that they get that in this day and age, design counts for a lot. In regards to the keyboard, I'd love to see how to works; I find it interesting (and a tad disconcerting) that they didn't allow any demos.

The implications of this of course are huge; Microsoft just got into the hardware game (essentially conceding an important point to Apple - that in order to make world-class devices, you need to take ownership of both hardware AND software), which is sure to anger a lot of their partners (i.e. Acer, Dell, Lenovo, et al). It will be very interesting to see how that plays out in the coming weeks and months.

I do give them huge credit for taking a different approach and not simply introducing a me-too-ish, Android-type tablet.

From a pure PR perspective, I really didn't get the mechanics of the announcement. Not announcing the venue until the day OF the announcement? And then conducting the event at 4:00 pm PST? Strikes me as a bit illogical but clearly they were going for a lot of attention on this - and they got it - so maybe it was indeed a decent strategy.

Anyway, the bottom line question - as the resident gadget lunatic around here, will I be getting one? Quite possibly, but until I understand pricing and a few more specs that were conspicuously absent from the announcement (LTE?), it's too early to tell. And that's a shame, because if they *really* followed a page from the Apple playbook (which it seems was their intent), they likely would have pre-sold thousands of orders by now, which would have provided important momentum.

And in this game - which just got a lot more interesting - every second counts.