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back to article Why I love Microsoft’s vapourware tablet

When I first got into this journalism lark in the late 1980s, the exploding nature of the personal computer market would force the hand of IT companies to reveal products far in advance of their intended launch date. Such was the race to give the appearance of being cutting-edge, they sometimes found themselves announcing …

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You Were Right .....

Utter bollocks ... ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

Occasionally my new iPad has moments when it struggles to connect to the Internet and a reboot sorts it out. Now is that a crash or a glitch?

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FAIL

Re: You Were Right .....

Yes alluding (if that's a strong enough term for stating it in the headline) to the product being vapourware and then showing a video of an actual device in use is quite a strange choice...

Oh yes and those "manufacturing mock ups" will have been floating around the software teams in probably quite large numbers in various revisions for months. You wouldn't expect the average consumer to know that - but if you're writing an article about it, perhaps some research into the workings of the mobile device industry would have been prudent?

Here's a hint: they don't finish the software (or hardware) the day before they hit the shops, but it is demonstrable at least in some form, quite some time before that. Pretty much explains everything written.

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JDX
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The Crash

meaningless, even iPads have done this at launch IIRC.

A price of £1k would be a massive deal-breaker though. Compete directly with the iPad perhaps but costing more is crazy... unless that's for the Intel version only and the ARM one will be considerably cheaper. After all an Intel tablet kind of IS like an ultrabook only even smaller and smaller means pricier.

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Re: The Crash

...please, post where an iPad has crashed on stage.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The Crash

A price of £2000 would be an even bigger deal breaker.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The Crash

A bloke I spoke to in the pub said it would be £3000 without the keyboard - obviously surface is a total fail.

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Stop

Re: The Crash

There seems to be some confusion going on here. There are TWO versions of the surface tablet. One is a Tegra 3 powered WinRT machine, which is expected to sell for the same kind of money as an iPad. Being Arm powered it won't be able to run any of the back catalog of Windows code.

The second tablet is Core i5 powered and is likely to be priced like an Ultra Book. It is large and more powerful than its sibling, and WILL be able to run old code, allong with providing a digitiser pen. it will however be unlikely to run for more than 5 hours on battery as its only got 40w hours of capacity.

Both are of course still vapourware and subject to change.

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Re: The Crash

The "ultrabook price" is for the x86 version and that basically is an ultrabook but with all the touchscreen, stylus stuff and the ability to turn into a pure tablet. The ARM version is supposed to be price competitive with other tablets, e.g. an iPad. Though again, it has the keyboard, etc. so it's not exactly an iPad equivalent.

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Re: The Crash

Exising Ultrabooks (eg the Toshiba z835-p330) with previous generation i5 processors (32nm vs 22nm) and comparable battery capacities supposedly last 7 hours plus in real life, so 5 hours would be a little disappointing.

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Pint

Re: The Crash

Sure Apple has had a couple of crashes with pre-release versions of OSX during keynotes (WWDC 2006 I think?) and swiftly swapped screens over, but can't remember any iPad crashes.

There's a clear difference in preparedness. Microsoft's stage crashes tend to drag on for a long time until the point hilarity ensues ... they're just not ready for them.

This one with Bill Gates and Conan O'Brien is my favourite: http://www.break.com/index/gatesconan.html

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Re: The Crash

So you missed the launch where Jobs had to tell the journos to turn off their laptops and phones because the iPad's WiFi wouldn't work otherwise? I think it was the iPad 2.

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Re: The Crash

That's not a BSOD. That's network overload...

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Re: The Crash

Troll

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Re: confusion

Actually there are ZERO versions of the Surface tablet outside of the Microsoft Chum Eating Disco-Moron Research Center.

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Re: The Crash

> it has the keyboard, etc. so it's not exactly an iPad equivalent.

It appears that it will have a choice of keyboards, a 3mm touch or a 5mm moving key. This implies that they will be options, or accessories, and not in the basic price of the units. This means that they will be priced at (iPad3 price) + keyboard for RT or (Ultrabook price) + keyboard for Pro.

iPads can have keyboards. Bluetooth ones allow the unit to be landscape or portrait, and for the keyboard to be used more conveniently than locked to the screen unit.

http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-31747_7-20091329-243/keyboarding-your-ipad-best-keyboard-cases/

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Re: The Crash

I thought it was the WiFi in the Moscone Center which couldn't handle all the devices trying to connect.

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Re: The Crash

Just so people are clear, the Surface RT device did not crash, it was the Netflix app that crashed. Sure he could have terminated the Netflix and restarted it but if it were me I'd have done he same and switched out the unit rather than risk the app failing again because of something specific to that unit.

Oh and by the way, or vapourware, Microsoft sure seems to have made enough of them already. This will enter production. Two things about the timing: 1. It makes people stop and re-think about that iPad/Ultrabook purchase. 2. It gives OEMs fair notice to up their game if they want a slice of the action.

Car manufacturers have long been showing off cars up to a year before they enter production.

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Re: The Crash

"So you missed the launch where Jobs had to tell the journos to turn off their laptops and phones because the iPad's WiFi wouldn't work otherwise? I think it was the iPad 2."

You think wrong. It was the iPhone 4 that was being demoed, and the issue you are referring to was that there were 500+ wifi networks in operation in the convention centre. The iPhone did not crash.

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Joke

Re: The Crash

" there were 500+ wifi networks in operation in the convention centre. The iPhone did not crash."

Hmmm... if the other people using the wifi were managing to connect, albeit slowly, while the iPhone 4 couldn't...

It was just that Steve was holding it wrong!

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Re: The Crash

"Hmmm... if the other people using the wifi were managing to connect, albeit slowly, while the iPhone 4 couldn't..."

...how do you know that every other person was able to connect ok..? Note the figure quoted was *networks*, not devices. That's a lot of spectrum being saturated - I would expect quite a lot of problems getting on.

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Re: The Crash (@ Fitz)

I reckoned the number of networks cited as an exaggeration. Obviously, 500 WIFI networks in the same building would not only prevent everyone from connecting, but also microwave them to death ;-).

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Re: The Crash (@ Fitz)

"I reckoned the number of networks cited as an exaggeration. Obviously, 500 WIFI networks in the same building would not only prevent everyone from connecting, but also microwave them to death ;-)."

There are 5000 seats at WWDC. I don't think it's unreasonable that 10% of attendees use a MiFi or equivalent.

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K
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Megaphone

No one's going to be able to buy for half a year.

Holy shit... have you just smelt something strange that woke you up??

Every manufacturer does this, look at all though nice new tablets promised back in the trade shows in January / Feb, half of them are not even available yet!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No one's going to be able to buy for half a year.

Everyone except the market leader in tablets, Apple.

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Windows

Re: No one's going to be able to buy for half a year.

Most of the tablets promised at CES 2009 are also not available yet. Must be some minor import holdup and they'll be along any day.

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Re: No one's going to be able to buy for half a year.

Apple don't make announcements about their new tablet 6 months before, they just get their suppliers to 'leak' details. That way if the specs change or there is a delay in manufacturing they have an element of plausible deniability and the fanboys can go on thinking that the company is perfect in every way.

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Happy

@Fibbles on 'leaks'

Yep, that's the smart thing to do.

Never announce something until it's in a container on the way to the shops or sat in your warehouse.

Then pretend to be really surprised when somebody 'accidentally' leaks the details while you're still developing it.

All the exposure of a premature launch, none of the risks of the cries of "vapourware!!!"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No one's going to be able to buy for half a year.

They announce a tablet, them someone produces one that has a more upto date spec so they have to redo what they have to keep up.

Hence the delays.

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Re: @Fibbles on 'leaks'

Go on then, why the downvotes?

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"About the same as an ultrabook"

I must admit that when I heard that was the moment I figured Surface would never work.

Ultrabooks have been a stunning sales success... for Apple.

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JDX
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Re: "About the same as an ultrabook"

As explained above in answer to my question, that's only for the x86 version which basically IS an ultrabook. If an ARM version is the same cost as an iPad I'm interested to get one (if I didn't already have an iPad 2).

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Thumb Up

"fuck off" as an adjective - +1

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Anonymous Coward

@Alistair Dabbs

Well that was another total waste of 5 minutes that I'll never get back,

Completely pointless load of shite.

I'm sure this site is turning in to a bunch of bickering old ladies that moan just for the sake of something to say..

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Sure is

Ever since they introduced comments, years and years ago. You're just now noticing?

Upvoted nonetheless for calling Dabbs crap. That can't happen often enough.

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I want the three seconds it took me to read your whining back. To whom do I send the invoice?

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Anonymous Coward

Dear toss pot.

My loss was more,, I'll tell you where you can shove your invoice when I get my minutes back!

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Re: Sure is

"Upvoted nonetheless for calling Dabbs crap. That can't happen often enough."

If Dabbs is crap, what the hell were you doing reading this article? I've stopped reading the 'Open and Shut' stuff from that ex Ubuntu guy, because most of it is rubbish. Although he's written a few good ones. I thought the first article I noticed by Dabbs was utterly rubbish, but I've enjoyed his last few, including this one.

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Vic
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Re: Sure is

> I've stopped reading the 'Open and Shut' stuff from that ex Ubuntu guy, because most of it is rubbish.

Yep. Me too.

> Although he's written a few good ones

I'll have to take your word for that.

Vic.

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Re: Open and Shut

Over the last few months he's posted some interesting articles but I'd skip the current one. Would be good to get ratings on the front page for triage.

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FAIL

Worst ones are AC's who moan just for the sake of something to say in the comments

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I actually thought that Microsoft rushed this event because it was about to be upstaged by someone else in the coming weeks.

It's quite a clever offering and has got the tech world talking, simply because it's something else to write about that isn't iOS, Android etc, but as it isn't out for some time.

Microsoft is taking a big risk. With the geeks like us soon forgetting about it, a lot of hard work will have been potentially wasted by the time it does come out - if indeed it does.

Sure, it now means that Microsoft can claim to have been first (and the cover/keyboard idea is something I bet Apple wishes it had done) but Joe Public probably don't know sod all about Windows 8 as there is no advertising of the OS yet, let alone the Surface.

I think it was announced too far in advance and for no real gain (other than to keep us Brits up late following the event, and to annoy hardware makers that now see Microsoft as a threat to their own business), which is why I return to my previous assumption that Microsoft felt they had to show the Surface at short notice for another reason we'll come to realise in the near future.

I wonder if someone like Samsung had come up with something like this for its new tablet with a iPad 3-style resolution? Or maybe Google has something like this for one of its new Nexus tablets (or maybe the two are one and the same!)?

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"What the hell were you doing reading this article?"

I haven't quite figured out that seeing "Something for the weekend, Sir" in my RSS reader translates to "Avoid this article; the writer isn't worth the paper he's printed on". I should probably write a Greasemonkey script or something.

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"Another"? I think I can see the problem here: you don't enjoy reading the column but you read it every week.

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Thanks for the additional 30 seconds

so I could answer your comment while pointlessly waiting for the F1 qualification :-)

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Anonymous Coward

@jonmorriss

'Apple wished they had done the cover keyboard'?

It would already have been done by them if it had been a good idea, but detracts from what Apple thinks A tablet should be.

A tablet with a keyboard is a laptop, there are plenty out there.

A tablet that needs a keyboard is a fail.

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Re: @jonmorriss

"A tablet that needs a keyboard is a fail."

I'm afraid that's utter bollocks.

I think my iPad is brilliant, but typing anything more than about 2 paragraphs on it is extremely annoying. Even just typing in url's is irksome. I therefore don't type on it much. That's OK, it's not what I bought it for. But it would be nice to have a keyoard, in the odd meeting or so I can send off a quick email. I've not seen a decent looking cover/keyboard for less than about £80, so I've not bothered. It's not a must-have, but the option would be nice. A tablet needs a keyboard if you want to type into it. You could then say, just get a laptop, but the advantage of a tablet is for using it on the sofa/train. It's a matter of making choices available. Some people want a device for a bit of light laptop work, as well as the kind of media consumption that tablets are great at.

Personally I think a stylus would be more useful. Handwriting recognition is much nicer than pecking at an onscreen keyboard, as well as much easier (and more natural) to do when you're holding the tablet in one hand. You also gain the ability to sketch. I don't know how well the digitiser pens work with capacative touch screens, but Samsung seem to have manged it with the Galaxy Note. I wish Apple had gone that route with the iPad. A decent, well-implemented stylus is what will have me jumping ship from iOS to whatever platform can do it.

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Re: @jonmorriss

"A tablet that needs a keyboard is a fail."

Where does it say the surface tablet *needs* a keyboard?

That's like saying the ipad is a fail because Apple make bluetooth keyboards that you can hook up to it.

Not saying this will be a world beater or anything, and no one can because it isn't being made yet, so criticising it like that is like criticising the ipad 5 - its impossible to criticise as it doesn't really exist yet - it was the whole point of the article.

But I guess that's never stopped a rabid Apple fanboi in the past from launching into an anti-MS rant...

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Anonymous Coward

Price has already been "announced" as less than £1000, so what exactly was the point of this waste of space article, other than to whinge about redundant stuff?

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Anonymous Coward

Less than £1000

Which means £999.99

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