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The New Microsoft Surface, A Tablet for People Who Don’t Like Tablets

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Okay, Microsoft, I admit it: I am impressed. As of right now, I expect to make the new Surface my next Windows tablet. I just wish it didn’t look like it was designed for people who don’t like tablets.

Surface with Type Cover

After reading the news tonight, I looked through the teasers on the new Surface website with great zeal. Concrete details are lacking at this point, but the designs and usage ideas look incredible. Built-in kickstand. Angled camera for hands-free recording while it sits on a table. The prime feature is the super-slim keyboard Touch Cover and Type Cover. There’s not one image in the gallery without them. Hmm… starting to see a pattern here.

Look, I get it. The concept of Windows on a tablet is a new and frightening prospect for most people. Push them too hard with a form factor that’s too tablet-y and they’ll get scared off. To help bring them around, you need to give them something familiar. But does it really need to look like a notebook in every image in the gallery? Must it stand on a flat surface in nearly every part of the “About” page? From what’s shown, you’d almost never know the new Surface was a tablet.

Surface, still sitting on a table

On top of that, it’s sporting the 16:9 aspect ratio for the express purpose of showing widescreen video. In landscape mode. Nothing wrong with using tablets in landscape mode. That’s what I use most of the time. I’m just not a fan of making the screen so wide that it’s the only orientation that works.

That said, while they’re doing their best to hide it, the new Surface is a true slate that doesn’t need a keyboard and, in the Windows 8 Pro model, supports active pen input. Perhaps if I wasn’t so excited for that, I would not be disappointed that they’ve chosen not to promote it.

Alleged Apple fanboi, accused Android apologist, and confirmed Microsoft MVP for touch and tablet Mark Sumimoto a.k.a. Sumocat dabbles in all areas of mobile computing with a focus on Windows-based Tablet PCs and pen input. A mobile computing enthusiast since 2004, he pioneered the field of ink blogging via his personal blog, Sumocat's Scribbles. His current tools include a Fujitsu Lifebook T900, TEGA v2, and iPhone 4. Email: sumocat [at] notebooks.com

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