The Times West Virginian

Community News Network

September 23, 2013

Poor Microsoft doesn't understand what tablets are for

NEW YORK — In New York on Monday, Microsoft unveiled two new tablets aimed at solidifying the company's hold on a key niche market: people who hate fun.

The Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 are jam-packed with productivity features guaranteed to make you feel guilty for using the devices for anything other than work. The big upgrades over the last Surface tablets that no one enjoyed lie in the technical specifications: faster processor, faster bus, better battery life, more cores on the GPU, etc. The new ones also both come with the full Microsoft Office suite, including Outlook, ensuring that your calendar alerts are the first thing you'll see when you sit back on the couch and pick up your tablet. Oh, and about that sitting back on the couch thing: Microsoft has fixed that too, tweaking the kickstand to make it easier to type away at that Excel spreadsheet while holding the tablet on your lap or sitting at a desk. Who needs to lean back and relax when you can use your tablet just like a PC?

Did I mention that the new Surface 2 is made from two pieces of magnesium instead of three? Because Panos Panay, the Surface product manager who introduced the device, sure did. With the new design, he enthused, "You can see the true magnesium of the product coming out." Whoo-ee! Are we having a good time yet?

And get this: Not only can you run Microsoft Office apps on the Surface 2 - this is the one aimed at the consumer market, mind you - but you can run all four Microsoft Office apps at the same time. In fact, as Panay demonstrated, you can even run those Microsoft Office apps on one half of your screen while playing Xbox games on the other! Can't do that with an iPad, can you?

OK, so perhaps doubling the bus speed and reducing the number of pieces of magnesium by one-third won't sway many of the consumers who have been choosing Android and Apple tablets over the Surface in droves since it first launched a year ago. In fact, with the new Surfaces, Microsoft seems to have given up on competing with other tablets. It now sees itself as competing with PCs.

Panay's big pitch for the Surface Pro 2 - the even-more-business-y of the two - is that it's actually a full-power PC in a tablet package. It's faster, he asserted, than most laptops on the market. The downside is that it also comes with a full-power PC price tag, starting at a hefty $899. The $449 Surface 2 is cheaper and less powerful, but hey, you can still get lots of work done on it, provided you can find your way around the clunky operating system.

Oh, and provided that your Internet connection is working. Microsoft couldn't seem to get the Wi-Fi going at its launch event, rendering helpless all three of the new devices that I tried to use following the demonstration. "Please wait . . . ", each told me endlessly.)

               

  

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • Victimized by the 'marriage penalty'

    In a few short months, I'll pass the milestone that every little girl dreams of: the day she swears - before family and God, in sickness and in health, all in the name of love - that she's willing to pay a much higher tax rate.

    April 15, 2014

  • Allergies are the real midlife crisis

    One of the biggest mysteries is why the disease comes and goes, and then comes and goes again. People tend to experience intense allergies between the ages of 5 and 16, then get a couple of decades off before the symptoms return in the 30s, only to diminish around retirement age.

    April 15, 2014

  • treadmill-very-fast.jpg Tax deduction for a gym membership?

    April marks another tax season when millions of Americans will deduct expenses related to home ownership, children and education from their annual tax bill. These deductions exist because of their perceived value to society; they encourage behaviors that keep the wheels of the economy turning. So why shouldn't the tax code be revised to reward preventive health?

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • bomb1 VIDEO: A year after marathon bombing, Boston remains strong

    The City of Boston came together Tuesday to honor those who were injured and lost their lives at the Boston Marathon on the one-year anniversary of the bombing. While the day was sure to be emotional, those affected by last year's race are showing they won't let the tragedy keep them down.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Google acquires drone maker Titan Aerospace to spread Internet

    Google is adding drones to its fleets of robots and driverless cars.
    The Internet search company said it acquired Titan Aerospace, the maker of high-altitude, solar-powered satellites that provides customer access to data services around the world. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

    April 14, 2014

  • E-Cigarettes target youth with festivals, lawmakers say

    The findings, in a survey released Monday by members of Congress, should prod U.S. regulators to curb the industry, the lawmakers said. While e-cigarettes currently are unregulated, the Food and Drug Administration is working on a plan that would extend its tobacco oversight to the products.

    April 14, 2014

  • Search teams will send unmanned sub to look for missing Malaysian airliner

    Teams searching for a missing Malaysian airliner are planning for the first time to send an unmanned submarine into the depths of the Indian Ocean to look for wreckage, an Australian official leading the multi-nation search said Monday.

    April 14, 2014

  • Why Facebook is getting into the banking game

    Who would want to use Facebook as a bank? That's the question that immediately arises from news that the social network intends to get into the electronic money business.

    April 14, 2014

  • Screen shot 2014-04-11 at 4.49.09 PM.png Train, entertain your pets with these 3 smartphone apps

    While they may not have thumbs to use the phone, pets can benefit from smartphone apps designed specifically for them.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Stepping forward: The real Colbert

    Letterman changed the late-night TV game between his run on NBC's "Late Night" and starting the "Late Show" franchise in 1993. And while it's tough to replace a pop-culture icon, Colbert, in terms of pedigree and sense of humor, makes the most sense.

    April 11, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads