Surface Convergence
Bill Quick

Surface 2 prices slashed, hinting at discontinuation or replacement | Ars Technica

Microsoft has cut $100 off the price of its Surface 2 Windows RT tablets. This puts the cheapest 32GB unit at $349, the 64GB unit at $449, and the 64GB model with LTE version at $579. With the price cut, the 32GB 1920×1080 Microsoft tablet is priced below all but the 16GB non-Retina iPad mini.

The discounts are available through Microsoft’s physical and online stores, as well as through some other retailers such as Amazon. The price cuts are described as being for a limited time only, expiring on September 27 or “while stocks last.” Microsoft is also limiting buyers, rather optimistically, to a maximum of five discounted units per purchase.

My guess is that they’ll release a Surface 3 that will run the same Windows 9 that all the rest of the Microsoft platforms eventually will.

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Bill Quick

About Bill Quick

I am a small-l libertarian. My primary concern is to increase individual liberty as much as possible in the face of statist efforts to restrict it from both the right and the left. If I had to sum up my beliefs as concisely as possible, I would say, "Stay out of my wallet and my bedroom," "your liberty stops at my nose," and "don't tread on me." I will believe that things are taking a turn for the better in America when married gays are able to, and do, maintain large arsenals of automatic weapons, and tax collectors are, and do, not.

Comments

Surface Convergence — 10 Comments

  1. Until I see some solid, long-term feedback on the reliability and usability of these Surface machines, I’m hanging back. I have a bad taste left over from my original Surface Pro. It was not ready for prime time, at least not as a supplementary tablet.

    The main problem is its tendency to not go to sleep when it should. About every fifth time I go to use it, it has stayed active and drained all of its power.

    Which means I have to take the damn power cord every. where. I. go.

    The latest time was today in a coffee shop. Charged it yesterday, shut it, and opened it today once my coffee came. Battery too low to use. I nearly broke it on the table from frustration, since this is about the third time this month it’s happened.

    There is also the constant updating, and restarting from updates. And not being able to organize my applications and apps for easy access (which is supposed to be fixed in Win9). Plus, sometimes the Surface gets confused about whether the detachable keyboard is there, so it refuses to bring up the touch keyboard when it should.

    I’ve made most of money in my adult life in the Microsoft computing ecosystem, and I’ve never been as negative about any Microsoft product as my Surface Pro with Windows 8. Vista was a shining success next to it.

    • I’ve been down on Microsoft since Windows386 in the late 1980s. It never did work right, and I never got my money back. (MS accepted no responsibility because I bought it from a vendor. The vendor wouldn’t take it back because I’d opened the package. The state consumer protection board said that MS’s license (on the inside of the box) asserted that they weren’t responsible if anything went wrong.)

      This distaste was hardened over the years from having to deal with MS while working for a Value Added Reseller. Long story short, MS claimed there were no bugs in their products because they don’t ship products with bugs.

      As a consequence, I don’t use any MS software by choice. Up yours, Microsoft managers, developers, and investors.

  2. ” And not being able to organize my applications and apps for easy access (which is supposed to be fixed in Win9).”

    How so? Can’t you just drag down on the start screen to rearrange the tiles?

  3. First, the start screen has no folderization, so it gets messy with the large number of applications and apps I have. Second, I don’t get recently used and frequently used apps automatically bubbling to the top so that they are easy for me to find and use. Third, those Power Ranger color rectangles on the main start screen are garish and have meaningless colors, making location of a particular app more difficult.

    Fourth, the constant switching from the Start Screen and the normal desktop (where the majority of my apps must run) is annoying. It means extra steps to be on the desktop, then press the key to get to the start screen, then find the app I want, and then have it switch back to the desktop to run that app. I can pin apps to the taskbar to avoid that, but I have so many that I run out of space to show running apps.

    As I said, Win9 is addressing a lot of this. Win8 was optimized for consumers who don’t do real work, so they simply left out a lot of stuff power users need. The resulting thumbs down from the installed base got Steven Sinofsky fired, and the people who replaced him are now paying attention to the people who actually use Windows instead of chasing iPad owners.

    Windows 8 was a noble experiment, and I completely understand why Microsoft felt they had to be bold with it. The tablet market took them by surprise and they felt like Apple was going to do to them what they did to IBM circa 1990. But Microsoft is not deep on the UX design talent needed to bring off something that bold. Plus, it seems to just be part of their culture – they take about three times to get something right.

    • Fair enough, and probably the best/most thoughtful criticism I’ve seen to date. Most people just say stuff that boils down to “waaah, I don’t like change!”

      Me, I agree with a couple of the complaints you mention (although, for example, as a desktop user, I’m not bothered by the screen-switching because the Windows key generally takes you to Start from anywhere) but overall I prefer the screen. My main reason is that it’s more adjustable than the Start Menu, which, ever since XP, isn’t user-sortable, and is a tiny little thing. The tiles are easier to hit, and the theoretical part about them being live I like.

      • I still don’t understand why you guys aren’t using one of the two or three good start menu apps that eliminate all that stuff you worry about. I run Win 8.1 on both a tablet and a full blown notebook computer with a touch screen. On the notebook, I never look at the Win8 start screen unless I want to. I automatically boot to the desktop, which inclued a full start menu, task bars, and everything else that Win 7 offers.

        If I’m running Win8 apps, I run them in windows on the desktop. They show up in my Win7-style start menu, and they bubble to the top if I use them a lot. Otherwise, I’m using Office, all the Windows legacy apps I need, plus the new Win8 apps interchangeably, from the desktop.

        All of these “issues” were things I solved months ago, for free. I didn’t feel like waiting for MSOft to reinvent the wheel. I just started rolling.

        • “I still don’t understand why you guys aren’t using one of the two or three good start menu apps that eliminate all that stuff you worry about.”

          Because my complaints are minor, and on net, I prefer the screen to the menu. To me, a 3rd-party app that brought back the menu would be a step backwards. (Plus, tbh, I don’t actually need to get into the screen often; I have a double-handful of desktop icons and a small number of pinned-to-taskbar things that takes care of 95% of my needs.

        • Bill, my philosophy is to try and get by with what the normal user is going to have. The OS isn’t just for my personal work. It is also going to be the platform for the solutions I build for clients, and I need to understand what that means for them. Using the base OS also let’s be give better feedback to Microsoft as a proxy for my clients – not that the people there listen nearly as well as I’d like, especially in the last few years.

          Plus, I have a lot of machines for various development and testing purposes (five currently), and reinstalls of the OS are common. Every utility I grow to depend on is one more thing I have to install when I repave a machine. It’s also one more thing that, in combination with other (sometimes beta) software, can lead to some difficult-to-diagnose problem.

          My situation isn’t typical, and a lot of the people I know use programs like yours to make Win8 easier. My own interim solution for my daily workload is to keep using Windows 7. I only switch to Windows 8 when I’m developing software for it, or when that damn Surface tablet deigns to let me browse the Internet at a coffee shop.

          Speaking of re-installs, the Windows 9 tech preview will apparently be along soon.

          • “Every utility I grow to depend on is one more thing I have to install when I repave a machine. ”

            Oh, geez, this. Participate in an OS beta or two–at least, the older-style ones that lasted a long time, like XP or Me–and you discover that when you have to wipe your computer every week, it just takes too long to set everything up again just the way you like it, and by the time the final release happens, you’re out of the habit.