As if you didn’t know, Microsoft has a series of tablets called “Surface.” Some other companies have developed tablets running RT. I bought the Surface RT (the older generation) during my Black Thursday/Friday frenzy. I’ve looked it over during the last day or so.
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If this is any indication of how it’s going to go, I hope there’s an Android version of the software needed to run the hardware, because it may not end well. It’s not because Surface is horrible. There just aren’t enough apps for it. No apps worth having, that is. As you know, apps like Firefox are locked out of Surface–just like they are for iPad and Android–but neither of those are pretending to be an entry into a desktop operating system, either. Some of the Metro apps, like one for Lowe’s (not written or commissioned by Lowe’s, but a cheap ripoff that basically does a Bing search), are just awful. Microsoft’s desperation in adding them to its store is evident. The Surface platform is suffering from a lack of quality apps. The honest to goodness truth is, very few people like Bing, and the worst part of all, Microsoft wants to force you to use your “Microsoft account”. Yeah, I know, you have to use your iTunes account to download apps onto your iPad, and the GooglePlay requires a password. But the Microsoft account just has the feel of being so much more intrusive. I don’t know why that is, because iTunes IS way more intrusive. Ergonomics, I guess. The device I purchased did not have the cover keyboard. That item alone is costly, over $100. And the “war” that other providers seem to be at with Microsoft is a problem affecting consumers.
Google wants to force you onto the Android platform, which in my opinion isn’t very good. It’s the Windows ME of tablets. Too bad to stay, too good to leave. There are plenty of Android apps, but they malfunction a lot or just suck. Plus numerous malicious apps sneak into the multitude of Android app stores out there. By the way, have I mentioned I own a Samsung Galaxy S3 phone? I absolutely hate that device and I can’t wait to ditch it once the contract runs out. It’s got a big screen and that’s it.
Back to Surface. It’s a nice device but I haven’t really stressed it yet. It has the ability to add storage without having to purchase a new tablet. The USB port is a GREAT feature. It updates like a Windows system. It’s got a pair of cameras that are easy to operate. It also has the Office series of apps, which in my opinion is huge. With the USB port, you can add a USB keyboard, OR use a multiport USB port and add additional devices–like printers, scanners and the like. The big point is, you can charge another device with it, for example your dead iPhone. That’s huge. It’s closer to having an actual computer than just a tablet. It’s a real replacement for a desktop system if you want it to do that.
Which is likely what Microsoft intends to do. I suspect in less than a decade, we will find the tablet–all tablets–have taken over much of the heavy duty tasks of a desktop. The tablet will be the thing you connect to your large monitor and wireless printing will become ubiquitous. And you will be working your ass off from home…and at work. You can take your tablet with you, why not take it to lunch? As a matter of fact, you’ll have an voice-enabled, Internet-enabled vehicle so you can work in your car on your way to/from work. That’s part of the reason why Surface might have a long-term future. It’s a business oriented platform, and it seems to offer a link with the past. Most businesses don’t want to ditch their entire infrastructure and that’s a key point.
If you are willing to wait on apps, or accept using a browser, Surface isn’t a bad choice. Especially if you can get it at Black Friday prices. It allows you to OWN YOUR OWN DATA. Your system does not become obsolete once you fill the on-board memory. Consider how big a feature that is. Memory is cheap. Install your own memory. You own it. Cloud-based storage? Someone else owns your data. It’s why I keep a land-line, so I can have my own message storage. If the storage company fails, takes a power hit, has a foreign intelligence service break into it, or just doesn’t want you to have the data intended for you, you don’t get to have your own data. That’s way more of a threat than something going wrong at home.