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back to article Microsoft offers free keyboard covers for Surface RT

The TV ads for Microsoft's Surface tablets look like music videos, with happy Surface users snapping and unsnapping their fondleslabs from their keyboard-covers. There's just one problem: Surface doesn't come with a cover – until now, that is. Previously, the Surface Touch Cover was available in five colors as a $120 add-on. The …

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Windows

No chrome

Thought about this, and no Chrome equals why I wouldn't touch one. Which suddenly makes Chromebooks look like a lot of sense.

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Anonymous Coward

Sooooooon

They will be free with a full tank of petrol..........

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Anonymous Coward

Apparently

They were looking for 500 members of the public to trial the RT and write reviews on it. The tablets would be free and theirs to keep so long as a comprehensive review was written.

103 people took up the offer, 70 tablets were returned.

If you still want to take part go check out the Microsoft website, offer is open until the 6 June.

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Re: Apparently

Do you have any more info on that? I'd take them up on it.

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Facepalm

Re: No chrome

HTC will be pleased then.

Oh, wait...

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More lipstick...

...on a non-selling pig.

How do I load Linux on it?

Call it a "dance card" and be done with it.

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Re: More lipstick...

Have you loaded Linux onto your iPad?

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iPad Linux

I don't have an iPad, but it one fell out of a packet of corn flakes then installing Linux would make it a useful device for me.

The bundled MS Office license is the killer app for RT. Without that license, the cost of an RT tablet could get low enough that I would bother to do a web search for installing Linux on it.

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Cornflake packtets

Funny you should mention cornflake packets because i was going to comment that the Surface RT keyboard reminds me of a cardboard cornflake packet cut out with scissors that someone has coloured in with a felt pen. Charging significant extra money for something like that was having a laugh in my opinion - maybe they can give it away for free, maybe not.

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Big Brother

Re: More lipstick...

"Have you loaded Linux onto your iPad?"

Genuine question - since that device is only designed for the primitive one-thing-at-a-time kind of operation seen in legacy systems from years ago, is its hardware even capable of the kind of multitasking a modern OS like Linux offers?

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Re: iPad Linux

> The bundled MS Office license is the killer app for RT

Certainly _something_ killed RT ;-)

On RT Office is not the full x86 Office, it lacks some features. It is for personal use only, any business or commercial use requires a licence to be purchased. It will also require a keyboard for effective use.

> Without that license, the cost of an RT tablet could get low enough ...

You are mistaken if you think that you could subtract the shop price of Office from the price of a Surface RT to make it 'low enough'. The actual proportion of the OEM cost for RT to cover the supplied Office would be a small number of dollars, 30 perhaps.

> for installing Linux on it.

Surface RT (and all ARM RT tablets AFAIK) have 'Secure Boot' without the option to turn it off - deliberately so that Linux _cannot_ be loaded.

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Don't really understand hardware or software, do we?

Genuine question deserves a genuine answer.

While the ipad might only be showing you one thing at a time, there are in fact many chunks of software running on this at the same time.

For example, the podcast app is just a front-end to a back-end that actually downloads and plays the podcasts. You can, for instance, switch to the safari wed browser while the podcast continues in the background.

The ipads are certainly capable of running Linux - you don't need much to run Linux at all.

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Re: iPad Linux

Someone will crack or work around it eventually.

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I'll have one ....

In a shade of "Invisible" please. To match the machine.

Oh, and don't even try paying ME to take one.

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Erm

It's an offer, it ends on the 30th June, it happens on a wide variety of products once they've been out for a while.

Nice try Reg.

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Meh

Re: Erm

> It's an offer

At least one can refuse it.

But the non-offer is 120 USD? That's the kind of pricing for Apple vanity gear. No, Microsoft. Bad! BAD!

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This is old news

http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msuk/en_GB/pdp/productID.277940500?tduid=a4ee1b7de724b853f09af5496ae208c0 2 weeks and 2 days already.

http://www.hotukdeals.com/deals/microsoft-surface-rt-32gb-free-touch-type-cover-399-microsoft-store-uk-1553287 shows when the deal was spotted.

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Re: This is old news

The Reg has been very poor recently at seeking out news, apart from the endless desperate attempts to find dubious support for the editors non-IT related crusades.

Still, confirms that Microsoft didn't want this pushed through normal PR channels and the attention that would bring. With so many bargain reporting sites and a growing trend of companies spamming into them it's become easy to reach the public without the normal PR grind or the press even noticing.

Even the press that don't just sit on their arses waiting for stories to be handed to them...

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It still costs more...

Than a 10 inch android tablet, bluetooth keyboard and mouse, and an OS that actually has an app ecosystem...

(Desperation? Is that what that smell is? I thought it was just that their product stinks...)

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Re: It still costs more...

Thing is about Android tablets is due to developer incompetence Google won't let you use the full screen anymore.

If you are in a place where you can use Microsoft VDI it works much better on Windows RT. (RemoteFX for a start). Or published applications.

If you want to mod stuff then with a hack you can build standard Windows apps for Windows RT.

The everything full screen stuff is a disadvantage to both.

The only thing Android has is cost.

I don't think tablets are that much use but if a company was paying then I would go ipad if they are willing to spend the £3000 to get it so stuff can be done without Apples consent or Windows RT (If there is a good Windows infrastructure at the company).

Microsoft at least compared to most companies plays the long game or they would have never bothered with Xbox in the first place.

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Raz

Hey Microsoft

Forget the keyboard, sell me the tablet only for less than $250 and you'll have a customer.

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FAIL

Re: Hey Microsoft

Agreed, but MSFT has enjoyed a desktop monopoly for so long that they still have the mindset that they're price-makers, not price-takers.

If anything the Surface fiasco is the clearest message to MSFT that the world has changed.

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Anonymous Coward

In Europe they're going to give you a free Surface RT if you buy a keyboard. Any keyboard. Even a piano is eligible.

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Devil

Well, you can immediately get a discount of EUR 200 by picking up the "only used once" gear on amazon.

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FAIL

RT vs Pro

If I was in the market for a new laptop / new tablet then I would defo consider Microsoft's offering. However, what would make the choice REALLY difficult is the RT vs Pro conundrum?!

They should have made ONE tablet to rule them all, not two tablets that are half baked.

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Re: RT vs Pro

Samsungs Galaxy Tab 3 (It is x86) running Windows 8 pro might be a better option depending on how it is locked down. (Not sure Samsung really cares what happens once you have bought the thing.)

Microsoft are going to have to drop the price of this if they want to sell any.

Once the ivy bridge based atoms come out (Dunno when that is) one of those 2 cores + hyperthreading + 4GB ram - proper windows 8 is going to make this totally redundant.

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Re: RT vs Pro

An x86 processor doesn't mean that a device will run Windows. The rest of the hardware needs to be PC as well. Samsung Tablet PCs are a lot more expensive - I know, I just bought one (arrives tomorrow). Their Ativ Pro is comparable to Surface Pro and about the same price, but you can store the pen inside the tablet. For some reason the 3G model was slightly cheaper than the non-3G one, so I got the 3G, I hope I didn't make a horrible mistake. I'm pretty sure that it isn't the non-Pro model, which would be a lot less satisfactory.

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Great, but

I'll take one for the missus. Will it work with android? Oh, never mind.

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Anonymous Coward

This is a good deal

The Surface RT is destined to become a rare and puzzling collectors item.

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Coat

Ultrabook branding

Intel will allow them to call it an Ultrabook if it sells with the detachable keyboard.

Mines the one with the Haswell label.

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The better solution would have been

...to finally include x86 emulation so you can run normal win16 and win32 software on it. Even if it's really slow and hardly usable, it will allow you to run certain pieces of essential software like VPN clients and such.

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Re: The better solution would have been

Still better solution would be to do hardware-assisted emulation of x86 on ARM-based device, like MS did with Z80 SoftCard. They could design simple x86 coprocessor to share the same die with ARM cores and turn x86 coprocessor when it's not actively used.

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Re: The better solution would have been

Maybe they should just include a z80 emulator, a shitload of z80 games, and sell it to the retro audience

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The better solution would have been

Why not just stick an atom + full win 8 on it? Better battery life and full win 8(.1) = win.

I'm guessing that's what's coming on July 1....

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Re: The better solution would have been

> Still better solution would be to do hardware-assisted emulation of x86 on ARM-based device, like MS did with Z80 SoftCard.

The Z80 Softcard was not an emulation, it was a full real Z80 with its own RAM running CP/M, it just happened to use the Apple II case, keyboard and disks.

> They could design simple x86 coprocessor to share the same die with ARM cores and turn x86 coprocessor when it's not actively used.

Who is the 'they' ? I doubt that Intel would care to do this. AMD might, VIA perhaps. But I think that you are entirely optimistic because the OS would also need to run full x86 API on the x86 and RT has had much of this removed. It would probably have to run a complete Windows 8 _and_ Windows RT and the x86 would need to be as powerful (and costly) as the Surface Pro.

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Re: The better solution would have been

Except for those crappy ones that uses special drivers.

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MS is playing Follow the Leader

...and taking a huge hit at being behind and trying to be what the critics say they want them to be. Trying to emerge now as a tablet and smart phone power after Apple and Google is remarkably daft given the mistakes made. Do what you do well, and don't assume you can trump the competition like you could in the past through brute force. It just doesn't play well any more. MS isn't hip, so don't try to be! Focus on business. You've lost the other fronts so admit that and adapt and move on. There are classic signs here of old upper management failures here and maybe it's time to change the guard.

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Re: MS is playing Follow the Leader

I certainly don't think they've lost yet (phones / tablets). They certainly dropped the ball, but 3rd place isn't a bad position to be in and things can change, look at Nokia's resurgence after almost bailing out (running Win phone no less).

And I disagree that focussing on business is the way forward. Look at what the competition is doing: EVERYTHING. Google most noticeably is trying for a piece of every pie (& succeeding to a large extent).

I haven't seen anything wrong with Surface, except that you are faced with an unnecessary choice.

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Re: MS is playing Follow the Leader

To me Microsoft's current efforts feel rather like Apple suddenly deciding to license the Mac operating system after Windows 95 had come out.

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Third place was the target

Installed base at end of Q1 2013:

1 Android _______ 823M _ 57%

2 iOS __________ 277M _ 19%

3 Symbian ______ 165M _ 11%

4 Blackberry _____ 97M __ 8%

5 Windows Phone _ 28M __ 2%

6 bada __________ 27M __ 2 %

Oops - they missed. Windows is not the 'third ecosystem'. It is 5th. Elop set fire to the Symbian platform so Windows Phone might gain one position. Blackberry could mess up their come-back and drop out of the running. Windows might get into fourth place for a short time, but then will be overtaken by Tizen and at least one out of Sailfish, Ubuntu and Firefox.

Have you got any evidence for 'Nokia's resurgence'? I know they sold the most expensive smart phone in the world - their head office. They cannot bump their smart phone revenue the same way again.

I agree that focussing on the business market is a one way trip to legacy land. The thing is, they do not have many choices. Microsoft depend on manufacturers installing Windows on everything, but they are burning their relationships with manufacturers. Patent extortion, copying manufacturers unique selling points into surface and crowing about 100M licenses shipped (to manufacturers who cannot sell them on) are not the best ways to keep essential business partners happy. In a year or two, Windows on a new computer will be an expensive add-on feature - not bundled whether you want it or not.

I have known for years that Microsoft Linux was inevitable. I did not expect to see it so soon:

http://www.linuxjournal.com/content/linux-azure—-strange-place-find-penguin

The next big milestone to look out for is Microsoft Office for Android.

You may not see anything wrong with Surface, but millions of other people do. We know this because they bought ABM.

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Your Shill-O-Mat is due for service or repair

> 3rd place isn't a bad position to be in

Sure isn't. Shame Microsoft aren't in it.

> look at Nokia's resurgence

Your microscope's broken.

> I haven't seen anything wrong with Surface

You're probably too busy looking at Nokia's resurgence.

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Re: MS is playing Follow the Leader

Funny thing is I see Microsoft trying desperately to show how much superior their products are to the competition. I saw an advertisement today showing how much better Bing is than Google. The next commercial after that, I saw an Expedia commercial using a Windows phone to book a trip. Expedia is owned by Microsoft. Yesterday I saw a Surface and an iPad side-by-side with Siri saying "sorry I can't do that". And last week I saw an ad showing how "easy" Windows 8 is.

It is my opinion that those who do everything do nothing well. Microsoft is proving that to be true.

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Anonymous Coward

"Microsoft offers free keyboard covers for Surface RT"

Should be made of stone and have R.I.P carved on them

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Coat

Do the same for the Pro and upgrade the screen to ultra high res as an option and I can see with some further revisions of Windows 8 they would start selling.

I know this wont be popular

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Alert

Does anyone else find it funny....

That this "free keyboard offer" expires right at the end of the second quarter? Does that sound to anyone else like Microsoft trying to pad sales numbers for the quarter by offering an expensive add-on for free to try to stimulate a few sales to make those numbers not seem so utterly terrible?

BTW, I am working with a person that actually bought a Surface RT and he actually likes it for what he needs. All I have actually seen him use it for is for watching movies and checking personal email on the rig at work. We work on drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico and he doesn't want to use his Co laptop computer to check personal email accounts, as well as watch naughty movies. His main reason for picking it over an iPad or Android tablet was the inclusion of Office. He knows he took a high hard one on the pricing but he figured he might need to use Office for something. But since he got it, I haven't seen him use his surface for anything besides casual surfing on the internet and watching movies. He could have saved quite a bit of money and bought an iPad or Android tabl;et.

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Facepalm

Of cause by the time we get either Surface in South Africa the world will have ended.

@MS thank you for taking your sweet time, I wanted one of these devices for some odd reason. However as you have taken so long I have come to remember just how much I dislike Win8. I'll stick with my iPad

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Trollface

Oh screwn jeyboard

Tabvlet owner s do hot need to tupe. No need 4 productivitys, need products, many. Give deals!

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WTF?

$120? Seriously?

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Anonymous Coward

annual upgrade cycle

Its a bad time of year to buy an iPad, Nexus, or Surface. Its unknown when Surface RT will move from the aging Tegra 3 or Surface pro will contain Haswell but Apple and Google refreshes aren't far away.

Price reduction sounds sensible better late than never. Why Microsoft chose to go through all the negative press by not including a keyboard at the launch price remains a mystery.

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JDX
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Hmm

El REg said MS should and probably would do deals on free covers to boost sales. Now they follow your advice and you criticise them for it :)

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