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Podcast Episode 21 – Microsoft Surface | That iPad Guy


Bily Foster: Web Designer, Developer and Producer.  Bily has been around the internet since the BBS days.  When he first got his hands on an iPod touch he knew that the iPad wouldn’t be far behind.  One of the first to order the original, and first in line for the last two releases of the iPad.  Bily covers all kinds of tech news all brought to him by his iPad.

Theme Song: “Oddio Overplay” by The Bran Flakes

Podcast Episode 21 – Microsoft Surface

I’m Bily Foster and I’m that iPad guy
Called that because I’ve almost always got iPad with me, and in some cases two!
Today we’re talking Windows Surface Tablet!

Okay obviously I don’t have a Windows Surface Tablet in my hand to show you. I went to get one. And I honestly was going to buy one. I figured I’d start with the entry level $499 Microsoft Surface until I learned it has Windows RT.

What’s Windows RT? Well that’s what I said and the sales person (bless her heart for trying) proceeded to explain to me that it’s Windows but it doesn’t run any windows programs. Only the apps sold in the Windows Store.

So I’ve come to the conclusion that RT stands for Retread:

The old tread is buffed away, and a new rubber tread is applied to the bare “casing” using specialized machinery.

Windows RT:
The old code is stripped away, and new code is applied to the bare “casing” removing all legacy support.

Basically it means while it looks like Windows, and even in some cases it says that it’s Windows 8 (Internet Explorer specifically) it is NOT Windows 8. If you want to run your ‘legacy’ software, you are going to need to wait a few months for Windows Surface Pro.

The Windows Surface Pro is going to be heavier, bulkier and more expensive tablet released at some point in the future but no price or date given.

So I asked, “Okay if I wanted to pick up a tablet that I can run my Steam Games, Photoshop and my Web Tools, what would it cost me?”
She then proceeded to lead me to a Sony Touch Screen Laptop for $1800.
I asked, “Does it fold into a tablet?”
“Well, no we don’t have one that does that.” she replied
“Ah okay, well thank you for your time.” I said as I quickly and quietly jetted out of the store.

The only reason I went to a Microsoft Store was for the Microsoft Surface and what I ended walking away with was a high creep factor.

Look I know the Apple store can be “Cult-y” but the Microsoft Store is “Corporate Cult-y”, it’s very creepy. I understand using the same things that work at Apple but the Microsoft Store is like a bad 100th generation copy of a copy of an Apple store. I’ve actually avoided the Microsoft Store on purpose because I knew it would be bad but I didn’t realize how bad it is.

And I’m sure the people that work there are nice enough people and at least they have work, but the problem is when I’m at an Apple Store I genuinely feel that the people there KNOW and USE the devices that they are talking about. And when they don’t know an answer the go find someone that does.

I could tell by my conversation with the sales person that she did NOT use the Surface beyond the corporate training and anything that went outside of those FAQ points she memorized just didn’t compute.

It takes more than just a person who can spit out canned answers to convince me to purchase a product, it takes someone who actually uses and experiences the product to answer my questions. To be fair the device DID just come out Friday, however I got the feeling as my questions went beyond what she knew her face had this look like: “Dude this is just my job, I’ve got an iPad at home that I use.”

While I did see quite a few people at the Microsoft Store I didn’t see a whole lot of people walking out with bags. I assume they too were disappointed to learn that the $499 tablet that’s been all the buzz has only a handful of apps available. And the most mentioned one was Netflix.

I do think and see Windows RT as being the future of Microsoft but I thought the same for WebOS. I figured HP has the clout to make it happen but then it killed it. I’m concerned Windows RT it’s going to go the way of Web OS and Black Berry, oh Black Berry is still around, okay well you still get my point.

If it doesn’t get it’s apps catalog ramped up quickly (and I’m sorry the sales person’s pitch that 1,000s of apps are released each day was just too far fetched for even a novice to believe) it could die a fiery death. I’m hoping I’m wrong, the Microsoft Surface was the first real exciting thing I’ve seen from them since they killed the Courier tablet (a dual screen tablet project Microsoft was working on pre-iPad).

But launching a closed system like this when both Android and iOS are years ahead of the game seems likes like a risky investment that I wasn’t willing to take right now. Maybe I’m wrong and a flood of apps will come rushing to Windows RT, but to me it’s a really telling sign that the only ‘enticing’ thing Microsoft has been able offer users to pick up Windows RT is a Free* copy of there other flag ship product Office, minus Outlook.

And I say Free* because it’s the ‘Student and Teacher Edition’ which in theory means you can’t use it for business without paying more. The exclusion of Outlook also makes this feel like a product not quite ready for prime time.

I feel that Microsoft should have held off and released the Surface and the Surface Pro at that same time because then someone like me would have gone ah okay I see well let me take the Pro, but now if I’m really interested (which at this point I’m starting not to be) I have to make another trip back. It would have also given people the time to develop these ‘RT’ Apps. My understanding is that these apps are available on Windows 8 as well via the Microsoft’s App Store and that’s the only saving grace to Windows RT.

I see the vision of what Microsoft is trying to achieve, they are just stumbling along the way to get there. If they stumble too much it’ll be interesting to see how they correct or change corse at this point. They seem really heavily invested in these live tiles.

And I keep getting the feeling that the more non-Apple products I touch the more I end up wanting to get an iPad mini 😛 which I personally hate. I don’t like to put all my egg’s into one basket. Which is why I’ve got a foot in both iOS and Android, but I’m not ready to hop into Windows RT.

That Wraps up another this episode of that iPad guy. Again thanks for watching and be sure to like me on Facebook, follow me on twitter, or Circle me on Google Plus and visit “That iPad Guy . Com ” to subscribe!

See ya next time!

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