Microsoft Surface : Part 2
In all other respects, the two products are geared towards the same kind of niche appeal they take on the lessons learned from Apple with their successful iPad, and create something quite distinct, not unique, but a relatively interesting meeting of a number of technologies. The thing that should pop up when viewing the tablets/ultrabooks is the very narrow depth that it has.
There are no other competitors in the same small form factor starting at 9.3 mm; it is really something worth mentioning. Also, the lines are all in tune with the design of the OS in a sense. The new Metro interface has gotten rid of embossed ridges, of volumetric interface elements and presents information in a very specific and user-friendly manner.
That way, the effect achieved (also mentioned at the presentation Microsoft made) is that the devices are meant to go in the background and allow for entertainment and productivity to take the center stage. It still remains to be seen how much of it is hype and marketing and whether they will actually achieve this goal, but, what is certain is that the design departure from simple tablets is very well received and an innovation that pushes the design limits away.
It is still unclear how fast the two Surface products will actually work, how well they will perform in everyday tasks. When Microsoft revealed their products, they had a few issues with one of the slates that simply stopped working in the middle of the presentation. Maybe bad luck or bad timing, or maybe an inherent issue regarding the small size of the products, who knows, it will be a mystery to be further evaluated and discerned.
Now let's take a look at the specifics of the accessories presented :
The touch cover : The touch cover is, as the name suggests a cover but also a touch sensitive keyboard. It attaches to the body of the slate through magnets and can be folded on top of the screen or on the back of the slate. When it is folded back, it no longer is registered as a keyboard; instead, it fades into the background.
The built in footrest : This retractable foot allows you to position of the Surface as a desktop or laptop. The angle that it forms is a 22-degree angle that is also featured in the extremities of the product. Once you have finished, the foot can be enclosed back and it will create a very satisfying click when connecting with the body of the Slate.
These 2 accessories are the most notable physical things that affect the design and that keep the product at arm length from the competition. Whether they will create the massive appeal that Microsoft expects is a question that will be answered after they are released.
Another physical innovation comes in the form of the body it is made out of cast magnesium, a very strong and rigid material. On top of it, a so-called VaporMG finish is applied that gives the Surface a scratchproof body that feels great to the touch.
Overall, there are some interesting innovations and the challenge is not to find the perfect audience for the product. It does indeed further the constructive details of a typical tablet PC and if the product will prove reliable, it may garner a very large following. For now however, I personally am very glad that it has been brought on the market. Maybe the OS Win 8 will be redefined through ulterior service packs and brought into a shape that will answer many of the issues that people have noticed about it - thus making the tablet/portable pc into a trendsetter for years to come.
Microsoft Surface : Part 1