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G4Games » Gadgets » Can Microsoft Surface Pro Boost Sales After Surface RT’s Strke Two ?

Can Microsoft Surface Pro Boost Sales After Surface RT’s Strke Two ?

by Mihai Matei on January 6, 2013

As you all know by now, the Microsoft Surface RT has been the company’s first tablet to hit the market, and it did so back in October, packing the Windows RT operating system. This last “Windows RT” bit is something that raised a lot of questions, as far as the success of the tablet goes, as the OS comes with a few limitations that have apparently turned a lot of potential customers away from the device.

We’ve already mentioned that the Microsoft Surface RT had a modest start, according to analysts, and we’ve also hoped (and still do) that the Surface Pro will save Microsoft’s tablet efforts and will establish a foothold on the tablet market. Will this be the case?

Can Microsoft Surface Pro Boost Sales After Surface RT's Strke Two ?

Can Microsoft Surface Pro Boost Sales After Surface RT's Strke Two ?

Microsoft Surface Pro – Will it be enough?

Back in Q3 2012 Microsoft has made it pretty clear that its intentions are to retail the device in its own pop-up stores, without relying on 3rd party retailers such as Best Buy etc. Needless to say, the software giant had high hopes for its product but because Microsoft’s expectations have not been met, before the holidays, the company decided to start offering its Surface RT tablet in other stores as well, such as Staples and Best Buy.

The problem is that according to analysts who got in touch with these retailers, the Surface RT hasn’t actually sold that great and sales figures have been “modest” at best. There are a few reasons for that, one of them being simply because the Surface RT is a fresh product and not only are the customers reluctant to join this new ecosystem, but the staff at certain stores is also reluctant to promote this rather unfamiliar product and it’s directing potential customers towards more popular tablets.

Judging by this piece of info alone, the question at this point is whether or not the Surface Pro will make a difference once it’s going to hit the shelves. For Microsoft’s sake and also because I’m personally fond of the idea of a Windows 8 tablet, I hope that the majority of gadget enthusiasts that have turned down the Surface RT haven’t necessarily done so because they’re reluctant to give this new concept of a Microsoft tablet a try, without actually knowing what it’s all about. If they did then the Surface Pro might also be in big trouble. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see how the next chapter of this story will develop, but perhaps it would be in everyone’s interest if Microsoft would try and raise awareness regarding its upcoming Windows 8 Pro slate.

Stay tuned and feel free to share your thoughts with us.

Thanks Pocket Now for the heads-up regarding Surface RT’s end-of-year status.

  • Mel Snyder

    I haven’t seen a Surface Pro, but did have a chance to play with the RT at Roosevelt Field Mall (Long Island, NY). I was a Windows guy, absolutely resistant to all Apple products until the iPad. Even though I now have a MacBook Pro, I still have my Thinkpad loaded with Windows 7 Ultimate next to the MacBook (no OSX program comes close to Publisher for simple, professional desktop publishing).

    I found Windows 8 baffling. Nothing was intuitive. The “real” keyboard was very good, but the touchpad was quite sluggish. I also found the screen proportions too letterboxed for my taste – probably OK for watching videos, but if the objective was to make a business tablet with easy content creation capabilities, it really didn’t “work” for Word documents…probably would be OK for many spreadsheets, though.

    What is not appreciated about the form factor is the amount of real estate required to use the Surface with the kickstand and keyboard cover. It is huge, and it must be perfectly flat. The kickstand would be tough to use on one’s lap, and the keyboard would be wholly unusable on a coach airplane tray table.

    I think Microsoft made a big mistake in combining Windows 8 with the Surface. If they’d instead used some simple OS like the one on an iPad – which didn’t require this Windows veteran to learn a Mac operating system (my first fear) – they might well have had a winner, even with the first RT version. Imposing Windows 8 on a new device was, in my opinion, a huge mistake.

    I think they’d be well advised to look at the Zaggfolio keyboard/case design for the Surface. It would provide a good viewing angle for he Surface without the floppy kickstand, it would enable it to be used on a lap, it would make for a smaller footprint – and with its wider keyboard, might be a serious machine. Finally, hiding Windows 8 behind a simpler, more instinctive GUI more appropriate for tablet use.

    That leaves only the battery life issue reputed on the Microsoft blog to be about half that of the RT.

    • Paul

      Sorry Mel, you’re quite wrong about the ergonomics of the Surface. I have been using mine for several months with the type keyboard. It works fine on your lap when travelling, and it doesn’t need a perfectly level workplace either. At meetings it’s a great perfomer – I can go an entire day without having to scout out power points in meeting rooms, customer premises, hotels, etc. I suggest the reason you focus on the letterbox aspect is because you’ve become too comfortable with the iPad’s 4:3. There aren’t many laptops (up until the Surface the only real, content creation devices) that feature 4:3 screens, because it’s simply not as good as 16:9. In my opinion, the naysayers to the Surface simply don’t get what a game changer it is. They’re too busy comparing it with a tablet or a laptop. The thing is, the Surface is both, and it’s not until you have worked with one for a while that it hits you like a ton of bricks: OMG, you think, this is so liberating! The mobility is the thing that really gets you. I bought my RT as an experiment, and frankly something of a bet against my initial scepticism. As a freelance software developer I could not of course ditch my main work machine for the RT. Several months down the track from that purchase, I’m looking forward to dumping my laptop and migrating fully and completely to the Surface Pro when it arrives, whereupon my RT will prove a great test-bed for the web apps I’m developing or maybe my kids will inherit it. Am I anxious? No way. Bring it on!

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