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back to article Hearts, minds and balls: Microsoft's Windows 8 Surface gamble

What makes Microsoft think people will buy its Surfaces? It would have to be either for the love of the Microsoft brand or because Redmond has got them by the balls on data and apps. These can be the only reasons, based on the partially released specs of the Intel-based Surface running Windows 8 Pro that was unveiled on Thursday …

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(Insert El Reg tombstone)

"More powerful unit will cost more - El Reg's SHOCK finding"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: (Insert El Reg tombstone) @Eadon

Oh thank God - you finally showed up! When you hadn't posted something yesterday evening I thought you might have had a mishap. You know - drowned on your own rabies froth or something. Glad to see you're still on top form, complete with "EPIC FAIL" ending. You could put that in bold too, you know.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: (Insert El Reg tombstone)

Looks to me Microsoft have clearly set Surface RT against iPad and Surface Pro against MB Air. Having said that seems odd to me the Pro entry level pricing does not include a keyboard since thats part of the whole hybrid concept.

This week I was working on UI design alongside a guy who'd recently taken delivery of a Sony Vaio Duo 11, a convertible Win 8 11" 1080p touchscreen with stylus support. His notebook worked remarkably well IMO and finally convinced me the flexibility of touch and structure of this new generation of notebooks is a major step forward. I don't need a new notebook this minute and that Sony model not quite what I'd choose. Possibly same will go for the Surface Pro but one thing for sure, my next notebook will be a multitouch convertible.

Surely the whole point of these Surface models is to open some eyes to new notebook/tablet formats and encourage OEMs to be more adventurous. But its only one size and format so whether Surface sells 5 million or 10 million in its first year is neither here nor there to Microsoft it seems. The company knows how to sell through retail channels as seen with Xbox but they chose much more limited distribution hardly a sign of a major push for first party hardware.

So here we are late 2012. Apple doing good things with higher resolution displays, Amazon/Google low cost pocket size devices, and Microsoft the notion of convertibles and multitouch on notebook and desktop. Its all good to my mind each a valid step toward more capable personal computing.

Its an exciting time for technology IMO. I'm fed up with the vocal critics on all sides who have little constructive to say beyond repeating their obsessions and making conjectures why xyz will FAIL most often without even trying the technology. Please stop!

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FAIL

Re: (Insert El Reg tombstone)

Actually Eadon, whilst I'm not the OP I'll step in and say I stand by the general point I think the OP was trying to get across - although I don't know why you hold more credit for a handle that requires no ID verification Vs. "Anonymous Coward"

Apple owns the premium side of the consumer mobile market.

Android owns the low end of the overall market

Both cross into mid-range, and neither are exclusive into a particular end of the market - it's just both are dominant in different ends.

From a business / enterprise point of view, neither are great options for me. I can't manage ether platforms very well even using expensive 3rd party tools. Best I can do is spend days learning scripting tools or bespoke tools for said platform that I can't transfer to the rest of my job.

In addition a large number of applications and tools used in our business, but also on the consumer side are not avaliable on current mobile platforms. E.g. full fat photoshop, Visio, our ERP application, various Java and .Net apps used that could be ported but at present are Windows only.

So ironically, Windows 8 has a USP (compared to iOS, Android and even WP7.x) being that it the applications i use on my desktop PC at home (well, a media and gaming rig on the TV), as well as the tools I use daily at work can be used on the go.

No extra management tools (Group Policy / System Centre), no 3rd party apps or hacks, can use the same games, XBox Live - just like another PC.

I'm in the market for a new device. I shouldn't use my work laptop at home for streaming personal media, use in the bath, playing flash games etc. and the media centre rig is great for power but hardly the most usable thing in the world. I like Android - my HTC Desire was a real gem, but for me it's USP was appealing to the geek in me - sometimes I want things to just work well. Sometimes I don't want to research online how to do something, or find out I need to root the phone to perform a task. Using the same platform as I use on my desktop, and what I use at work would be ideal. iOS is too restrictive for a tablet / ultrabook device for me.

Step in Windows 8 on decent hardware - I don't need much storage, but I do want an extension of my home network. The Infrastructure guy in me says that will fill the hole we have at work for tablets that I can deploy without more management headaches.

Something mid-to-high end, the same applications I use already work on it, from a corporate point of view I can manage it without any extra work. Best of all it works for touch really, really well. Cost is comparable to other devices at the mid-high end too.

Windows RT - yeah, unless the applications catch up really soon then I'd call that an EPIC FAIL. Microsoft Surface Pro.... hard for it to be a fail real. Microsoft aren't trying to carve out a market for their hardware like HP, Acer, Dell etc. It's getting an example of what can be done out there for the launch of the platform. Job done, they'll sell millions of the unit. OEM's can't make anything too shitty as people will have a benchmark. Windows 8 on a touch device is already sold - if you have a Windows infrastructure at home or at work and you're after a mid-high end touch device then why wouldn't you opt for Windows 8? Either you opt fo a Surface Pro or you find a Microsoft partner that have comparable hardware at a comparable price point - or better.

And if you don't like any of that then just get yourself any of a number of Android devices or if Apple floats your boat you still have a range of iPad's. Maybe even take a wildcard and go for a BB device if you are feeling brave! ;)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: (Insert El Reg tombstone)

@Eadon. Don't take it personally, its just that yours was the first of the expected list of negative comments and attitudes I've got used to boring me when visiting the site.

The topic happened to be Surface but I'm just as irritated by the halo of negativity on many topics. It would be easy to quote relatively low sales for the MB 'retina' models and pronounce them and the Apple strategy a fail. The fact remains smooth text and images and colour space is the future and its brilliant we can now buy higher quality notebooks thanks to Apple, albeit at a high premium as early adopters. Once people get used to good screens on notebooks and costs come down 'retina' notebooks will seem the normal thing and we'll look at older devices and wonder how we put up with them. IMO. I'm just as robust on negativity around 'retina' as touch.

Back on topic, by the same token it seems to me the convertible/hybrid model for multitouch notebook/tablet works very well, even if it is early days for the variety of products we can buy. I've tried a number of devices so its not speculation from reading reviews etc. I'd love to hear other peoples experiences, good and bad to help inform me on the subject. I don't need to hear comments from people who have nothing useful, interesting or amusing to say on the topic. For a variety of reasons neither Surface model hits the sweet spot for me. WIld horses wouldn't persuade me to take a job working for Microsoft. It is possible to work with technology without having any vested interest in the success of one or another large corporation believe it or not.

I don't care what becomes of Surface. I only care about the ill-informed tripe we read online about success and fail without evidence or rational discussion. Surface Pro doesn't even launch until January for goodness sake. I'd be amazed if Surface achieves even a significant fraction of the iPad and/or MacBook sales but my point was Microsoft are looking to shake markets with iPad/RT, Air/Pro as comparisons, not attempting to seriously compete in product sales.

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Vic
Silver badge

Re: (Insert El Reg tombstone)

I don't know why you hold more credit for a handle that requires no ID verification Vs. "Anonymous Coward"

I'll tell you why I do.

If someone posts with a username, we can follow that person's posting history. We can all see whether he is someone who thinks things through, or someone that always posts irrationally, or someone who always presents a position in support of or in opposition to a given company. And often, it's a mix of all this, and other stuff to boot.

Posting anonymously means that someone has deliberately chosen to dissociate the current comment from his posting history. There are valid reasons to do that - I've done it myself - but nevertheless, it does not inspire confidence that a poster is unwilling to stand by his comment. Sometimes, you have to take those knocks, but often, it's hard to understand why a poster does not want his name alongside his comment. And then you start wondering why that should be...

Vic.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: (Insert El Reg tombstone) @Eadon 16:42

Thanks, but as for the agreeing with your logic - er, no. I'm not in the market for this kind of device, so I haven't been looking at its sales at all. The only references I see to that are on The Reg. I don't know or care whether you're right. Of course, " Balmer, king of hype, even he said sales were "Modest" - which, if he says Modest, means TRAIN WRECK." is hardly what I'd call logic. Sounds more like an interpretation of his words based on what you think of him. "To my knowledge people are already not buying surfaces" - er, so? Are you omniscient? Know everyone buying in this market? I know people who aren't buying Raspberry Pis. Don't think I'd get one myself - off the top of my head a custom microcontroller circuit or full-blown PC is more likely to suit my requirements. Do I call the Pi crap because of this? No.

In summary, I'm just enjoying poking fun at your personality problem :)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: (Insert El Reg tombstone) @Eadon 19:10

-- "Air have FAILED to compete. (oh, there I go again!)."

Yup. Predictably. You just can't help it, can you :)

-- "Definitely it is possible that you are a marketer / PR / shill working for Microsoft."

Oh dear. It's also possible he's an extraterrestrial.

-- "Am I obsessed?"

Is this a trick question?

-- Who cares, I am either correct or I am not.

Well, I can't argue with that one. Best argument you've used yet!

"The Register is a light-hearted satirical IT site, and when I say "EPIC FAIL" I am both technically correct, and the tone is consistent with the tone of The Register."

Dunno about technically correct, but you aren't being light -hearted or satirical. You wouldn't be such good sport if you were :)

" It's not a corporate intranet. So your begging me sto stop is another EPIC FAIL."

I dunno about the other guy, but I'd just like to see a bit more variation in your phrasing. Repeating "EPIC FAIL" makes it look as if you're either limited in your ability to express yourself, or hoping that if you repeat things enough, especially in capitals, it'll stick in peoples' minds. Which would be marketroid behaviour. Weak ...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: (Insert El Reg tombstone)

Peoples' past posts are irrelevant. If you can't judge a post on its own merits that's your failure. "... thinks things through" - that generally means "agrees with me." "... always posts irrationally. ..." - I'll let you work that one out.

"And then you start wondering why that should be ..."

Ooh, sinister! You left out the "Dun dun dun!" though :)

Weak.

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Meh

Re: (Insert El Reg tombstone)

My point is that as a systems adminstrator, I'm much more inclined to be pro-active in researching, testing and generally wanting to deploy devices that I can manage. My job is to prescribe the best technology to meet the business requirements set out - Surface, and Windows 8 in particular is a bless as it opens up a new avenue for me. I won't be given budget to make iOS and Android work due to the additional costs involved in training / support or additional software. Both for the technicans and for end-users.

Windows 8 has a good USP from that view IMHO.

As a consumer I was touting the advantages it has. You say people don't want compatibility with legacy Windows applications. Maybe you don't, maybe the people that already own an iPad don't - however I do. I have a Win7 desktop and an XBox360 at home. A Surface pro or an OEM product that's slightly cheaper means I can get a device around iPad money that I can use around the house knowing my Sonos, Logitech and productivity software will work fine. I want that. Maybe you don't - I do. I doubt I'm the only one. I'll like having my companies remote access software on it so I can get work emails without having to be tied to the desktop PC or lugging a full fat desktop around. I want a device between tablet and laptop, without the traditional "Ultrabook" price tag. Be nice to plug my camera into and view RAW files, but portable enough to take into the bath.

Microsoft are spending money on marketing Surface, even though it's only a reference, because a reference that's just in the OEM's realm is useless - consumers need to make a comparision, and they can't unless they know about it. I like seeing that there is another platform that works for touch in decent hardware with a different UI and has a different USP. (Android it's openness, iOS it's simplicity, WIndows it's compatibility).

I only brought up the fact that there is a vast number of hardware and platforms out there to meet your needs. Your constant posts attacking a product that isn't even launched yet prompted me to ensure you are aware of the options my friend. (Using the advantage of you not being an AC!) ;)

More choice is only a good thing. I welcome any company, in particular a large one with big financial backing, to enter a market - worse case scenario is they add nothing and fall into obsecurity. Best case is innovation, lower costs and more options.

I just don't see what people are moaning about so passionatly.

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kb
FAIL

Re: (Insert El Reg tombstone)

Way to miss the point! Ask ANY retailer and we'll tell you the same thing...$400-$550, what's that? that is the "sweet spot" where a good 90% of your sales will come from. You go over that sweet spot? And I don't care if you have the thing delivered on a golden platter by porn stars the public WILL NOT BUY so you end up with a pile of units you just can't move.

And it is THIS, this right here, that has doomed Win 8, both RT and pro. MSFT is trying to pretend they are Apple by slapping a high sticker on their units but NOBODY looks at MSFT as an upscale brand. It would be like slapping a $100k USD price on a Mustang and expecting it to compete with the exotic sports cars, all you'd end up with is a warehouse full of Mustangs.

Mark my words the Win 7 machines that meet this price point? Will be cleaned out by Xmas, the Win 8 machines that meet this price point? Will be less popular but people will take them if they have no choice. The Win 8 systems over that price point? Well I hope the retailers that pick up a pile of those don't mind having a ton of systems gathering dust because that is EXACTLY what will happen. And remember tech has an expiration date, when the new chips come out people won't pay premium for the old chips unless its Apple, so if they don't move 'em quick they will never move at all. yeah great job MSFT, I can see why Forbes labeled your CEO as the worst.

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kb
Facepalm

Re: (Insert El Reg tombstone)

I'm sorry Mrs Coward but you are wrong, and here is why: It has been QUITE obvious for SEVERAL months that MSFT is paying a rather large marketing team to shill their behinds off on every tech forum in a hope to stop the popular opinion on Win 8 (that its a disaster, Frankenstein OS, not great for any task, etc) from forming by derailing the conversation whenever possible and filling the channel with glowing market speak about "upward synergy" and "mobile strategy" and the like. In fact several that were posting to tech sites were traced to advertising corps when they were foolish enough to make up accounts hence why nearly ALL of the glowing market speak is now posted AC.

Ironically MSFT doesn't seem to pay well enough to hire original writers because often you can post a line from one of these AC posts into Google and find the same post WORD FOR WORD posted at dozens of websites across the web, from OSNews to /. to El Reg...who does that? Not normal people, which is why ALL AC posts should be looked upon as untrustworthy, because if you can't spend even 3 minutes to make an account...why should we care about what you say again? Especially in the midst of a very targeted shilling campaign by a major corp?

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Vic
Silver badge

Re: (Insert El Reg tombstone)

> if you can't spend even 3 minutes to make an account

AC posters have already made an account - that they choose not to disclose.

Vic.

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IJC

Re: (Insert El Reg tombstone)

Coming from Eadon this is just so rich as to be unreal. Could it be he is afraid of losing the argument?

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IJC
FAIL

Re: (Insert El Reg tombstone)

And yes there a number of RT devices from OEMs like ASUS, Acer, Lenovu and Samsung.

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Holmes

What Intel giveth, Microsoft taketh away

As true as it always has been.

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Running Windows software

If running windows (x86) software on a tablet was such a big thing, why didn't windows 7 tablets do better?

If ultrabooks aren't selling nearly as well as expected, how well will ultrabook-priced tablets sell>

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Gold badge

Re: Running Windows software

They didn't have a touch optimised UI. Windows 8 adds the touch UI that will fully work well with Windows store apps.

Obviously legacy apps are different matter, I guess in future computers will be split into two categories. General use and creative workstations, the simple touch screen interfaces won't cut it for Photoshop, video editing, CAD and sound engineering purposes.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Running Windows software

I hate the term 'legacy apps'. Some applications work well in 'Metro style'. Many don't. Aside from your examples Photoshop etc. there are many activities where multiple distinct apps, data views etc. need to be used together. Its not only about workstations. School work can involve researching multiple references to create a report. You can plug a Windows 8 notebook/tablet/whatever into a full size monitor so its as valid a point for small devices as it is for desktop PCs.

It would be good to see some fresh thinking for windowed/multi-app environments accross the board Linux, OS/X, Windows the lot. Including better ways of using touch with mouse and keyboard. Hopefully we'll start to see developments next year.

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Poor sales?

I've been thinking seriously about buying a surface RT (I have a Lumia 920 and like it and also W8 on desktop), but I refuse to buy one unless I can actually have a ply with one before purchase. So far in the UK I have been unable to find anywhere that I can do so. I suppose I could buy one and return it under distance selling if it doesn't do what I want but that would be a PITA.

It's all well advertising the things, but if retail stores haven't got them on sale to demo then there's no point in spending all of the money on advertising.

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Silver badge

Re: Poor sales?

Seems like a 100% repeat of the WP7 sales fiasco. A year on I've still not seen a WP7 phone in the flesh and couldn't find one to test . If any shops had them they were kept in the backroom well out of sight.

So who will get the blame this time? Will it be poor sales staff - the favoured MS fanbois scapegoat last time. Will it be the lukewarm to damning comments from the few that have used one be the problem. MS kept Surface out of reviewer hands before launch for a reason...

One thing's sure - the reality that channel buyers don't want to stock them and the general public have no desire to buy the Microsoft brand will be denied vigorously.

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Re: Poor sales?

Pete - what is it that you want it to do that you think it might not do? It works just like Windows 8 on an x86 PC, just in miniature (and without being able to run Windows 7 programs). If a Windows Store app compatibility description says it will run on ARM then it will run on the Surface.

If you're in the North Hampshire area, I have a Surface RT that you're welcome to come and try out.

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@AcrylicNumber

I didn't word my reasons for being hesitant to buy very well: I know on paper it does exactly what I want; the apps are there to meet my requirements. BUT what I can't tell without physically holding one are the more subtle nuances of build quality, screen response etc. I would think quite a few people will follow the: got to PCW/wherever, try everything they've got to see what you like then go home and order it online - if they haven't seen one then it won't be on the list. (iPad obviously aside since it seems a lot of people do make the decision based purely on it being an Apple product)

TBH if Surface were stocked in the likes of PCW I'd probably buy one this weekend, assuming that quality/feel etc is OK. I'm quite a way away from Hampshire, sadly otherwise I'd take you up on your offer.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Poor sales?

Go to Phones4U or EE. They have the Nokia 920 on display.

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kb
FAIL

Re: Poor sales?

Talking to a friend in the mobile phone biz I can tell you why that is, its because the carriers HATE Skype and by buying Skype MSFT has sealed their fate when it comes to the carriers. Unless they intend to buy their own mobile networks (seriously doubtful) all those WinPhones will end up on some website for 90% off because the carriers have made it clear that MSFT is not welcome there.

When Ballmer is finally kicked out of the big chair the writers of history will point to the 8 billion Ballmer wasted on Skype as the torpedo that killed any chance MSFT had in the mobile space, it was about the dumbest move they could have possibly made.

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@kb Re: Poor sales?

I really don't see why the carriers should hate Skype - the contract I have my 920 on has unlimited calls/texts and is only limited on data - at that they should *love* me using Skype since they're likely to get additional revenue when I exceed my data allowance.

If you mean the carriers that haven't woken up to the fact that text/voice isn't going to pay their bills for much longer hate it then maybe...

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Anonymous Coward

beer o'clock early today??

The article is a bit incoherent, is that the product of a liquid lunch?

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"What makes Microsoft think people will buy its Surfaces?"

Senility.

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Try "desparation"

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Senility

So is Microsoft getting senile if it thinks that people will buy it's tablets?

Or will only senile people by a Windows fondleslab?

So is it one or the other or both? Enquiring minds would like to know.

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The problem that Intel has

Is that they got into the data centre by being powerful enough (not anywhere near as powerful mind you) and cheaper than RISC/Mini systems. This reduced demand for said systems made them more expensive again (lower volume plus same fixed development costs).

The same is starting to happen to Intel with ARM. ARM CPUs are becoming fast enough for a lot of desktop work. They are MUCH cheaper than Intel's offerings (even ATOM chips are more expensive by the time you work out the cost of all the support components).

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All very bizarre

Massive compute power needed in the CPU to handles the graphics? Which should be done by a GPU anyway? And GPU costs are bugger all for the performance needed in Surface, it doesn't add up.

Sounds like a bit of a rip off to me.

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Headmaster

Re: All very bizarre

"Compute" is a verb.

You're welcome.

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Headmaster

Re: All very bizarre

These days it's a noun as well.

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Re: All very bizarre

No it's not.

"A compute" is malformed. Making it a noun wouldn't helped in any case, as what you needed it to be in "{compute} power" is an adjective.

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Re: All very bizarre

""Compute" is a verb."

Certainly I've been using compute servers for years

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Anonymous Coward

Re: All very bizarre

Just because you have been using "compute" incorrectly for several years doesn't make it right!!

It falls into the same bucket as all those people that keep saying things are "on/off premise", please go and look up the definition for "premise" its not the same as "premises"!

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Re: All very bizarre

"Just because you have been using "compute" incorrectly for several years doesn't make it right!!"

17million hits on Google for compute server

Compute Server - Encyclopedia - The Free Dictionary

encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/compute+server

(computer, parallel), compute server - A kind of parallel processor where the parallel processors have no I/O except via a bus or other connection to a front-end ...

Linux Compute Servers | School of Natural Sciences

www.sns.ias.edu/computing/servers

Linux Compute Servers. The following linux servers are available for general and/or computational use. These servers are available for public use via ssh, and ...

Compute server | Define Compute server at Dictionary.com

dictionary.reference.com/browse/compute+server

compute server definition. computer, parallel. A kind of parallel processor where the parallel processors have no I/O except via a bus or other connection to a ...

If it's being used frequently by a range of people then it's right - even the OED accepts that

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IJC
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El Reg just doesn't get it.

You can't use an iPad for real work. It simply won't run the apps that get used in the business world. Therefore comparing any Windows 8 tablet to iPad is a false comparison. Windows RT competes with iPad. That is where any comparison should stop. At best a mail and calendar client from a business point of view.

I have a Samsung Ativ Smart PC Pro and a Nokia Lumia 920. I have Office 2013 on the tablet and mobile OneNote on both. All my mail, contacts, calendars and files are synced across all my devices. I'm wondering if I even need my desktop anymore as I can hook up the tablet to a usb docking hub and have multiple screens and a full size keyboard if I want.

The biggest problem I've seen is actually trying to get hands on with these new devices. There just aren't any in the channel. I resorted to phoning local retailers on a daily basis to find out when they had stock because it didn't last for more than a day. That's how I managed to get both the tablet and phone. Other people I know are still searching.

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Holmes

Re: El Reg just doesn't get it.

The very same tech geeks that were loudly predicting the failure of the ipad based on its inability to run "proper" applications (read: Windows applications) are now predicting the spectacular success of the Surface Pro on the very same basis despite all evidence to the contrary that suggests that the majority of punters have no interest in running Windows desktop programs on a tablet.

Fascinating.

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Re: El Reg just doesn't get it.

I love how "real work" TM always means the ability to run MS Office. I have done real work on computers for thirty years and rarely need to use office since I'm a scientist. Oddly enough, I have an iPad and find it plenty useful. The problem with Windows is it doesn't support the majority of software I run without having to install suboptimal solutions such as Cygwin which means I can't use it for my real work.

Office documents are only a single category of work computers are used for and those of us who actually program and do science have always found windows to be a suboptimal and retarded environment. Windows Pot8o has done nothing to improve the situation.

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@Shane Cygwin.

"Real software" is more than Office. It's Adobe's Creative Suite. And games. (I use Libre Office, BTW. But the competition to Creative Suite isn't up to scratch.) That tends to make Windows the best compromise, as Apple's desktop hardware is overpriced when measured against performance. (The hulking tower under my desk may not look as sexy as my Mac Mini, but it cost less, and performs better.)

FWIW MinGW/Msys is getting ever better. (Great work lads.) I'm not a pro scientist but most of the high level unix tools I need work fine on windows. And if software finds Windows hostile, then it'll find iOS hostile too. (iOS might share a microkernel with OSX, but it doesn't have the same BSD underpinnings that OSX does). Hopefully Android is a bit more friendly, but I don't know.

So, yes, a "portable computer" (smartphone or tablet) is plenty usable. It just needs to be used in conjunction with a PC. And for the time being, that's a windows PC. With Steam on Linux, it's only Adobe that are holding me back.

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Re: @Shane Cygwin.

How about deep directory trees? I use those a lot and Windows still can't handle working with paths that are deeper than 256 bytes despite NTFS supporting over 32KB path/filenames. That means many tools have real problems in deep directories because running the command line environment doesn't work and the tools will report files as missing. Try copying directories this deep with Windows Explorer and you'll lose data too. Cygwin is a shim on top of a bad OS so I choose (along with around 90% of my contemporaries in the field) to use a Mac because it isn't that much more expensive than a decent Windows laptop (in fact, many times it is cheaper) and runs UNIX tools natively. I previously ran Linux only from 1995-2003 when I switched to Mac OS X because I needed UNIX on the road.

There are tools I use my iPad for but the use is different to a laptop so I have both and neither is compromised by trying to be the other.

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Re: El Reg just doesn't get it.

"You can't use an iPad for real work."

Here's the thing. The definition of using a computing device for real work has changed (or rather the appreciation if what it entails has). The reality has always been desktop machines and even laptops have always been used primarily by office workers. The office computing paradigm has been imposed as the blueprint for all working, as though a corporate IT infrastructure defines an environment where "true working" takes place and everything else is only "play working." The reg readership has a heavy sys admin bias, so the readership is smack bang in the middle of the traditional definition of the work environment. But there have always been a huge user base outside the office environment. Additionally, cloud computing is negating the need, economy and Wisdom of retaining corporate IT infrastructure for many business types. The corporate IT model is working for a smaller and smaller constituency which is becoming ever less the focus of computer sales. Additionally, the need for the corporate LAN is eroding. Today in security terms, there is simply no need for an "inside the network" model when the principles of best security practice have evolved to recognise every service should treat every user as though they are potentially from outside the network. A whole raft of corporate device management needs are now outmoded and needed only for legacy reasons. In other words the trend in corporate device management needs is towards building services with a security model such that you don't need to trust only trusted devices will access them (the trusted device has always been a dangerous chimera in any case) but that you can trust trusted users are accessing them (most usually with tablets that are in any case less troubled by Trojans and other security compromising malware). Tablet computers and the app model with app store distribution is actually far *more* efficient in this new world than the traditional IT model. So device manageability as defined by corporate IT systems, where corporate ITs job is to manage the "inside" of the network, is increasingly unimportant. The App Store model becomes a federated surrogate IT service distribution and authentication service and is far far easier for the majority of business users (who are non corporate). 8 years ago I installed an MS small business server for my girlfriends business, where she has 3 employees. It was a margin call even then. No way would I do the same now. Now it's Dropbox for file sharing, Google mail for email, and I've written an app for DB access because it is actually easier and more efficient for her to enter data on the move and in the spot using an iPhone or iPad than open a laptop or wait until she is back at the office. That, as a pattern, has become a far more relevant model for more business users than the corporate IT model and is why the shift to mobile (including tablets) is such a significant trend. Is she somehow not doing "real" work because she uses an iPad and prints to a printer visible to anyone who can join her wireless network with no regard for domain membership?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: El Reg just doesn't get it.

The iPad has only been successful because once people have bought and discovered how limited in functionality they are ... after boring all their non-ipad owning friends of course ... they have passed them down to their kids, thus enabling them to feel that they're 'happening' people that haven't just thrown their money away on a pile of DS.

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