Reddit hosted an “ask me almost anything” (AMAA) session with the Microsoft Surface development team last Tuesday (Oct. 16th), the same day the Surface tablet was available for pre-order. Mashable did a great job of summarizing the Q&A and posted a few details about the tablet that were heard from the developers for the first time. Some of their comments are summarized below.
Why would someone using an iPad want to change to the Surface tablet. What makes the Surface so amazing?
The Surface team said they have a vision for Surface. On it you can get “a ton of stuff done.” It has a full Windows operating system and can run the Office suite. The “seamless transitioning” from one user state to another with the touch cover, the ability to use it all day, and a USB port that creates endless connectivity possibilities all add up to a fully functional pc in a tablet form.
With Windows RT installed, how much many GBs of free space will be left?
After the OS, OfficeRT and a few apps are installed, they claimed that more than 20GB remains. Adding an SD card would also add space for music, movies and photos (though not apps.)
No 3G/4G option for the Surface
Even without 3G/4G, the team’s position is that the tablet design is still “world-class Wi-Fi connectivity.” They looked at specific elements of 3G/4G that they needed to include. Since the Surface would probably be used most often at home, their tablet sales data showed connectivity there would be one-third Wi-Fi and one-third mobile broadband. They also considered frequent usage at hotspots as part of the decision.
Using USB 2.0 instead of USB 3.0
The full size USB 2.0 port on Surface supports hundreds of millions of devices that are already being used so the network is already in place. Timing was factor, too. They chose USB 2.0 based on capability of the ARM SoCs during their development time frame.
Surface resolution that’s significantly less than new iPad’s
With the ClearType Display technology they’ve taken what they call a three-pronged approach to maximizing resolution while optimizing the device for battery life, weight, and thickness.
- First, they believe Microsoft’s Cleartype 1.0 and 2.0 is the best pixel rendering technology in the industry because it smoothes text regardless of pixel count. The technology is exclusive and unique to Windows. Unofficially, the amount of light reflected off the display screen allowed by Cleartype is approximately 5.5% - 6.2%. The iPad's is a more glaring 9.9%
- Second, the custom design of the 10.6” high-contrast wide-angle screen LCD screen enhances resolution.
- Third, the optically-bonded screen that has “the thinnest optical stack anywhere on the market - something which is more commonly done on phones but not on a tablet.
Surface RT pricing
The 10.6-inch Microsoft Surface Tablet will cost $499 for the 32GB model, up to $699 for the 64GB tablet. The Touch Cover keypad is an extra $119. If you want the Type Cover with real keys, add $129 to your budget.
Apple may have something to worry about. The Surface tablet has sold out of pre-orders in the U.S.