Persistence. The company has lost untold billions on Xbox, Zune, Bing, Windows Phone, and now the Surface tablet-cum-notebook, yet it keeps coming back for more humiliation. The latest is the third try at the Surface tablet notebook portable device.
Well, What Is It?
That’s a better question than you think. Microsoft seems to be parking the new Surface 3 squarely as a tablet device but aimed at the MacBook Air, which clearly is a notebook.
At this point in the life cycle of the Surface device I’m not sure if Microsoft is one-upping Apple and truly thinking different or flailing around like a grasshopper in a big spider’s web.
For example, Surface Pro 3 is a tablet notebook hybrid device with a 12-inch display. Compare that to the iPad, which has a diminutive 9.7-inch display. Also different is the Surface Pro 3’s display aspect ratio– gone is the traditional 16:9, in is 3:2, but now with 4k display support.
The new device is also 30-percent thinner and much lighter than a MacBook Air (typical Microsoft; they weighed the two together, but without the Surface Pro 3’s keyboard; must have been an oversight).
All the basic notebook accoutrements are there, too. USB, microSD card reader, MiniDisplayPort, Windows 8.1, Dolby Audio, 9 hours of battery life, and a choice of Intel i3, i5, and i7 CPUs (which move the price tag higher).
Sticking To Stubborn
Again, kudos and props to Microsoft for sticking with what the company does best. Lose money hand over fist on misguided efforts to diversify the company beyond the Windows and Office cash cow.
This is the perfect device for anyone who must have Windows, but must have both a tablet and a notebook mashed up in one sleek new device. Equipped with keyboard and similar CPU, Surface Pro 3 will be priced higher than a MacBook Air– larger, heavier, more expensive, with similar battery life, but an easy $500 more than the going rate for a Windows notebook these days, and more expensive than a fully tricked out 11-inch MacBook Air.
However, the keyboard can be discarded making the Surface Pro a very, very big and heavy tablet that runs Windows.
As the herd of mobile devices runs down the price ladder Microsoft is busy climbing to the top. Personally, I see another Surface disaster in the making, so waiting a few months might save you a few hundred dollars as Microsoft marks down the already too high price.
So far, tablet notebook hybrids haven’t made much of a dent in the mobile device universe. Maybe Microsoft knows something the rest of the world does not. Or, maybe Microsoft just has plenty of money to burn and this is a new way to burn it.