Microsoft Surface Reactions

Ten days after the Microsoft Surface announcement, it’s time for a roundup of further details and reactions in the media.

  • The Next Web claims prices will be $599 for ARM (Windows RT) and $999 for x86 (Windows 8 Pro). That’s roughly what was expected, although the RT price seems a bit high. Bloomberg says both models will ship with WiFi only, which shouldn’t be a problem for largely self-contained devices.

  • TechRadar describes the Surface’s development in an “underground bunker.” A ClearType-optimized LCD panel might approximate “Retina” resolution, presumably for text. And Microsoft devotes an Apple-like attention to external details:

    One of the things Microsoft kept working on was the sound of the hinged kickstand snapping shut. For something as thin as a credit card, it makes a surprisingly firm and satisfying clunk as it snaps into place.

  • Mary-Jo Foley also notes this “pride in craftsmanship,” and welcomes a solidly made, beautiful-looking, distinctive PC and/or tablet. Apple users aren’t the only ones willing to pay a fair price for something drool-worthy. Ed Bott agrees (twice) and lambasts the inability of Microsoft OEMs to come up with attractive hardware:

    Every OEM I’ve ever talked to brags about how they innovate with their hardware designs. But that “innovation” usually manifests itself as yet another vaguely differentiated generic notebook with too many software utilities and a crappy trackpad.

As Tim Anderson notes, the Surface has changed the Windows 8 conversation. The device solves two problems at once: unlike existing PCs it’s a perfect match for Windows 8, and it brings Apple-like quality to a market whose OEM offerings are so notoriously terrible that Microsoft actually had to institute a crapware removal program for them. Now let’s see if that is enough to persuade a critical mass of early adopters.

2012-10-22: Microsoft has officially announced its Surface RT prices.

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