Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The new rebel

Yesterday, Microsoft unveiled their new tablet product line – Surface. It’s another attempt of Microsoft trying to be also “Microhard,” and obviously an attempt to catch up with the iPad. I can’t tell how competitive it would be. But I have to say, Microsoft did manage to surprise us with some cool new things that Apple didn’t think of.

Overall, Surface looks a bit boring just like any other PC or Google hardware. The kickstand seems redundant and so retro-looking, but the magnesium casing looks pretty sweet. It's also going for a 16:9 aspect ratio, with built-in USB connection.

What’s truly ingenious is the keyboard on the Touch Cover. You can buy a Smart Cover for your iPad, but it’s not smart enough now. Microsoft takes a step forward to include a keyboard using pressure-sensitive technology. When connected, Surface would even change the screen background color according to the color of the Touch Cover! I can’t wait to try hand-on and see how well the typing works.

Another cool thing is that the higher version runs full Windows 8 Pro (although it gets to 1.35cm thick). This means you can install any other programs built on Windows, like Office and Photoshop, not just mobile apps. It is full PC power, merging the notions of tablet and desktop.

The press event was nothing compared to the Apple ones. The demos seemed very clumsy and Steve Ballmer didn’t even smile when he introduced the products. But at the end the coolest thing happened – an amazing video featuring the awesome dubstep “SRFC in C Minor” by Keith Rivers Films. It feels fresh and exciting compared to the recent Apple ads. There is no running or hammering, but I sense a kind of the Apple “1984” ad aura. I guess when the underdog becomes mainstream, the old leader will act as the new rebel.


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