The release of the Microsoft Surface is a much bigger deal that the average consumer might perceive it to be. You see, Surface marks Microsoft's entry into the PC market. That might sound odd, but it's true--Microsoft may be the maker of Windows, but it's always been Microsoft partners who build the PCs. I'm talking about companies like Samsung, Toshiba, Dell, Lenovo, and others. Now, Microsoft is competing directly with its partners, hoping that consumers will flock to its Surface in a major way.
Similar to Apple's approach, Surface is the marriage of first-party software with first-party hardware. Microsoft controls the whole platform. If devices like the Mac, iPhone, iPad, and even Microsoft's own Xbox 360 have shown us anything, it's that when you have the ability to control the whole device as it pertains to software and hardware functionality, you can generally make a better product than you could using third-party ingredients. It's never a guarantee, but we think it puts you in a better spot to shine. That is the hope that Surface brings. Does Surface succeed in carving out its own niche, and filling a need that consumers are willing to pay to remedy? That's what we are here to discuss, so following along with us for our Microsoft Surface RT review.
Microsoft's Windows 8 has arrived, and alongside it, the Microsoft Surface tablet with Windows RT has been released! Surface is Microsoft's first first-party tablet PC device that it has ever released, and we were able to get our hands on it a little early to give you a look at what you'll find in the box. While we prepare our full Surface review, check out our unboxing video above where we give you a look at the tablet, the Touch Cover, and the setup process!
When Microsoft announced Surface pre-orders, many consumers were puzzled by the lack of a 16GB option for the tablet. We got a lot of emails from readers wondering what was up, and it looks like we've got our answer. The Surface starts at 32GB of storage, and as it turns out, the user is left with 20GB of usable storage space on that model. That means that Windows RT and the pre-installed Office RT apps use up 12GB of space. In other words, if there were a 16GB model, the user would be left with just 4GB of space for their own documents, apps, and anything else. That would just make for a bad user experience, so Microsoft decided to start with 32GB of storage so that Surface users would still have a substantial amount of free space to use as they see fit. By comparison, a 32GB iPad leaves the user with about 31GB of free space, since iOS and built-in apps take up just 1GB of storage.
Have you pre-ordered a Surface tablet? Let us know in the comments!
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Microsoft's Surface RT tablet is set to go on sale in just 10 days, and the company is finally ready to reveal price details and tech specs. It's official: Surface RT will sell for $499 for the 32 GB model, $599 for 32 GB with black Touch Cover, and $699 for 64 GB with black touch cover. Pre-orders begin today at 9:00am PT.
What about all those colorful Touch Covers that the company showed off at the Surface unveiling? Those will be sold separately for $120 each. If you prefer the Type Cover, which features mechanical keys, you're looking at $130. Many were speculating that Microsoft would bring Surface to market at an incredibly low $199, but obviously, that extremem measure of cost-cutting just isn't possible. Wanna pre-order one now? Head on over to the Surface page to do so.
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Microsoft has just announced that, starting today, you can now pre-order Windows 8 Pro. The normal price for the disc is $199.99, but during the upgrade promotion period, the package will cost $69.99, a $120 savings. Upgrade pricing will be in effect through January 31, 2013. It's nice, but it's still a far cry from the $20 OS X Mountain Lion. If you want to get in on the upgrade pricing, head over to Amazon--you'll receive it on October 26th, the same day it is released publicly. If you'd rather to go a brick-and-mortar location, you'll also find similar offers at the Microsoft Store, Best Buy, Office Depot, and more.
In addition, you can now pre-order Windows 8 PCs from companies like Acer, HP, Sony, Samsung, and others.
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Xbox Music has hit the Xbox 360 consoles of beta users, and now we are hearing that the fill service rollout is set for October 26th, just three weeks from now, and the same day that Windows 8 is released. Reportedly, the rollout will begin with the Xbox 360, Windows 8, and Windows Phone, with iOS and Android Xbox Music apps coming soon after. Smart. The service will have a paid subscription, as well as a free, ad-supported option as well.
Read More | The Verge
With the move to cloud and digital content that's taken the world by storm, older technologies have fallen by the wayside. The problem, though, is that there are still plenty of great pieces of content that are relegated to VHS, film reels, cassette tapes, and records. Today in my Ask Andru column, we have a question from Janine, a kindergarten teacher who wants to know how to convert her books on cassette over to a digital format. Let's jump into it.
Q: I listen to your show and really enjoy all your tips. I teach Kindergarten and have many books on cassettes that my students love listening to. Some of the cassettes are getting a bit worn. So I thought I could convert them over to CDs instead of buying new books with CDs. Do you have any suggestions on what would be the best way to do this that is affordable?
When Microsoft revealed Surface to the world, we were pretty impressed. It looked like a highly-capable platform that, if it lived up to its promises, would be a major player in the tablet space. However, we also know that the iPad rules the roost. In fact, most consumers don't want tablets so much as they want iPads. What would Microsoft do with Surface to gain attention as a solid differentiator? It looks like it's gonna compete on price.
Read More | Engadget
If you though that Apple had the exclusive on announcing a major smartphone in September, think again. Word is coming out that Nokia is also looking to announce its next-generation Windows Phone 8 smartphones in September at Nokia World. Bloomberg reports that someone "with knowledge of the matter" has said that the unveiling of the new line of Windows 8 Nokia Lumia smartphones will happen on September 5, one week before Apple is scheduled to show off the new iPhone 5. Pretty smart, if you ask us.
Read More | Bloomberg
Mary Jo Foley over at ZDnet is reporting that she's heard that Windows Phone 8 devices will be launching in November. We've previously heard that it would be "this fall," but that's pretty vague. Foley is trustworthy though. According to her sources, the finished product will be sent to Windows Phone manufacturers in September, with the devices hitting retail the following month. Remember, none of the current Windows Phone 7 devices will be upgradeable to Windows Phone 8, so in order to get in on the action, you'll have to buy a new device.
Read More | ZDNet