back to article Surface RT: Freedom luvin' app-huggers beware

“It’s the ultimate expression of a Windows PC,” says Windows chief Steven Sinofsky... or “a compromised, confusing product”, according to Apple’s Tim Cook, who has not used one. This is Surface RT, Microsoft’s first own-brand tablet, which went on sale today. Along with the fact that it runs Windows 8, there are two notable …


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  1. AZComicGeek

    Cool & Clunky?

    Sounds like the coolness factor of an iPad with the clunkiness of Microsoft all combined in a walled garden. The worst of all worlds, what could go wrong? Are there Winheads clamoring for this like the iClones drool over the latest gadget from cuppertino?

  2. lauri_hoefs

    What's the problem?

    I get it that people who generally dislike closed systems are going to dislike this one too. And the people who want to sideload, or bring their own code (or like to pretend that they use their devices for anything else than surfing the web and watching YouTube) won't be getting these slabs either.

    I won't be getting a tablet anytime soon, I consider them too much of a compromise between mobile devices and laptops, etc, the usual complaints.. But I still see the appeal. Most users don't give a f**k about compiling their own code, or installing third party apps. C'mon, most use their tablets for what? Surfing the web, listening to music and watching an occasional video. What part of that is prevented by a walled garden?

    I'm interested to know, what are the apps that you absolutely would need, and that are not already provided with the OS or available through Store? It would be interesting to hear from iOS users too.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: What's the problem?

    I agree. How is this approach any different to iOS? You can't run anything apple don't approve. Or can you? I got fed up with iOS after the iPhone 3G.

    Annon, because I don't want people knowing I hate iOS, in case they think that I'm odd!

  4. Tim Almond

    Re: What's the problem?

    C'mon, most use their tablets for what? Surfing the web, listening to music and watching an occasional video. What part of that is prevented by a walled garden?

    In which case, why spend out the £480 for a Microsoft WinRT tablet when a £160 Nexus will do the same job and has more apps?

    My feeling is that there just isn't a place for Microsoft on touch. They arrived too late to the party and Android is already well-established in the place they should be. People with deep pockets are going to buy iPads and people seeking value will buy Android.

    I know a lot of .net people, and one of them has ordered a Surface, and he happens to be writing a WinRT book. If you can't get .net devs interested in a Microsoft product, then frankly, it's doomed.

  5. Jess

    Not going to temp me away from my Pi - Lapdock

    And interestingly RISC OS was officially released for the Pi the same day as Windows 8.

    Ironically, as Windows 8 looks like a throwback to the early 90s, RISC OS now looks nice and modern. (Previously without a theme it looked a bit dated, though the GUI is still far better thought out than Windows or Mac)

  6. ROC

    A Step Up from Chromebook?

    Interestingly, on my wanderings yesterday, I tried out both the new Samsung 11.6 " Chromebook (tethered it on my phone with WifiRouter quite easily since it would not connect to BestBuy's store network), then the RT at a MS pop-up store at a nearby mall. I have read a lot of criticisms of the Chromebook concept for its dependency on network connectivity to be of any use, and I have to concur. If I could not tether it, the CrB would be useless on the go.

    The RT is almost in that situation, however it does have enough built-in apps to offset that restriction quite well, and, if it can be tethered (need to see if I can grab one long enough at the mall, and not have a crowd looking over my shoulder...), then it does what the CrB can do, plus a lot more (provided the RT version if IE plays nicely with Google's cloud apps).

    And I did like the Surface hardware better, especially the clicky keyboard vs the fuzzy keyboard (neither of which will stay closed over the screen on their own per my test and confirmed by the MS "attendant" - Fail!).

    Now if I could figure out a way to put an ARM Linux distro on the Surface....


  7. hazydave

    Re: A Step Up from Chromebook?

    Now if I could figure out a way to put an ARM Linux distro on the Surface....

    Sounds like you really want an Android tablet. Linux is included :-)

    I never quite got the Chromebook idea myself. I mean, put a fully functional HTML5 browser (Chrome, for example) on any normal application-hosting computer (an Android device, let's say) and you ought to have pretty much the same functionality. Plus, all this other stuff that's NOT tethered to the net. At the same performance levels, too... the cheaper Chromebooks are using the same ARM SOCs used in ARM tablets. There's perhaps a call for this among people who want the simplest, hand-holding-ist computer possible, in one location (eg, no network issues).

    I upgraded my tablet to an Asus Transformer Infinity this year, with keyboard. Together, you have the same basic functionality you'll find in any netbook, only, with applications actually designed for that performance level, or maybe a bit lower. Things go fast, rather than struggling in full Windows on a netbook, or as they will on the cheaper x86 tablets on the way. Plus, you get the full day's runtime... that's 7-9 hours stand-alone, around 14 with the keyboard attached (there's a spare battery there). The display is great, 1920x1200, same as my desktop. Plenty of storage, 64GB inside, 64GB on a flash card... Microsoft gets this, but the Google devices don't have expansion, they believe "the Cloud" should be where you keep your stuff. That is in character for Google.

  8. Richard Plinston Silver badge

    Re: A Step Up from Chromebook?

    > (neither of which will stay closed over the screen on their own per my test and confirmed by the MS "attendant" - Fail!).

    That, apparently, is 'by design'. An MS apologist claimed that the keyboard is 'easy to open' (ie it won't stay closed) so that the device is more like a book and gives the user the impression that it is always ready to use.

    Sounds like post hoc rationalization to me.

  9. JeffyPooh Silver badge

    I asked the nice MS lady...

    At Best Buy, the nice lady offered to demonstrate Win 8.

    I challenged her to show me the pick list of all installed programs a la Start menu. She replied "Programs? You mean Apps?" My reply was that until last week they were called "Programs", even by MS.

    She swiped the screen to show me a couple dozen apps. I told her my PC at home had approximately 150 programs installed. The Start menu fills four columns, even with subfolders.

    She explained that Win 8 wouldn't have that problem...

    "64 apps should be enough for anyone."


  10. Ramazan

    Re: The presence of USB is a significant advantage

    Really? What can you do except attachinng kbd/mouse and loading photos/videos from camera when s/w is locked? BTW there's official Apple camera adapter for iPad, it's cheap and it works just fine.

  11. RICHTO Silver badge

    Re: The presence of USB is a significant advantage

    You can also connect to printers, scanners, GPS dongles, 3G and LTE dongles, etc, etc.....


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