Updates from QA Training

Scratching the Surface

Microsoft is back and they have a plan… Unless you live under a stone you probably heard about the Windows Surface somewhere today and wow does it look amazing!

David Walker | 20 June 2012

Microsoft is back and they have a plan… Unless you live under a stone you probably heard about the Windows Surface somewhere today and wow does it look amazing!

Welcome to Tomorrow! The PostPC revolution has begun!

I got an iPad when they first came out. From the moment I saw Steve Jobs keynote I knew this changed everything. Oh I was told you don't need one, netbooks they are the future (hey anyone still remember those!) I smiled and knew without a shred of doubt they were wrong.

Today they are even more wrong because Microsoft is back and they have a plan…  The Microsoft Surface

It fills me with tech envy and a desperate desire to try one. I am filled with techcitment looking at Windows 8 and the Metro UI siting there front and centre. It fills me with joy to see something that raises the game, in fact it changes the rules!

For the first time since Steve Jobs stood on that San Diego stage and showed me the future with the iPad, Apple have a competitor and let me explain why...

I do not just own an iPad, I own an iPhone, MacBook and an Apple TV. As a result iCan (that's a joke not a product) have a seamlessly and wonderfully crisp experience in Apple land where everything works, everything synchs and it looks good.
Yes that does matter; when was the last time you heard someone saying they were excited about a Blackberry?

The Surface looks and by reports feels groundbreaking. A stand built in, a pressure sensitive keyboard in the case! Somewhere in Cupertino people are getting shot out of cannons for not thinking of this I assure you! It provides a hyper modern crisp UI that fills the screen giving me a feeling of progress and a promise of a Star Trek future. Plus it deals with two most serious niggles of non-tablet users, no USB no Keyboard.

Oh yeah it also had Microsoft Office and Exchange… 

The thing about the Surface is not just that its beautiful and serene but just below its surface a resurgent Microsoft, like Godzila from the depths, is about to emerge. In its partnership with Nokia the Lumia Windows 7.5 phone have opened the door to the smartphone world for both of them. When I played with one for the first time I was astounded by how fresh and intuitive it felt. It pushed the boundaries of what we knew and gave us a new paradigm of deep social integration and human driven content.

Oh yeah it also had Microsoft Office and Exchange…

So lets but the Surface front and centre in Enterprise and consider its worth. At the moment more than 90% of tablets in the Enterprise environment are iPads. Of those users most will be using Office and Exchange. Microsoft just came to the table with a device that does that and fits into your network infrastructure. As a .NET developer the idea that I have a new UI API to learn but that the decade of .NET skills I own will not go to waste is amazing and it probably is to the hundreds of developers I have trained over the years.

Did I mention it had Microsoft Office and Exchange?

Lets think about the home where you may have a little thing called the Xbox. We know there will be a new version soon possibly as early as next year and we know as well as games entertainment we will have Skype, a browser and Kinect and a dozen of already on board media providers including Sky and the BBC. I use my Xbox as much for video calling and watching catchup TV as gaming these days while my poor old PS3 gathers dust.

In case you missed it Microsoft also announced SmartGlass at E3 an App that means you can throw your tablet screen and control your Xbox, not just a Surface tablet by the way an iPad or Android tablet can be used as well.

Have you realised what this means folks? Microsoft are in a position where they will soon have a tablet, smartphone, games console and desktop OS that all speak together, that all have the same design ethic and through Azure Services give us the seamless future that only the Apple model supports today.

The Surface has the ability to kill Ultrabooks stone dead. It makes the new Airbook look dated and obsolete and the iPad seem parochial. All of these are good things because it means Apple now have to think again and evolve to maintain its market advantage. It means Apple need to think about their design aesthetic and how their comfortable experience needs to evolve (and ditch the faux leather edging in the damned calendar).

Oh and did I mention it will run Microsoft Office and Exchange?


David Walker

Portfolio Director - Digital Transformation and Emerging Technology

David is a change-driven technologist who works closely with organisations and industry experts to understand the opportunities and threats posed by new technology. David has designed multiple learning solutions that have helped organisations redefine their business strategy and culture – creating new business models that view IT as a strategic competency rather than a support function.
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