Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Surface Marketing and Technology

I have been interested in the Surface, Microsoft's newish tablet, both because the new version of Windows has some interesting features but also because the company seems to be trying to recapture the cool.  (Actually, I am not sure whether MSFT ever had cool.   A good deal of their rationale in software has been everyone is has it. And even that justification has been devalued as Word and Excel continue to beef up.

From my perspective the Surface commercials are daffy.  They revolve around a series of break dancers acting in almost robot like precision.  In one sense that reinforces a common criticism of Microsoft's corporateness.   Were I Microsoft I would not want to present the image of a robot.   I am not the only one who thinks this earlier in the week there was a long post which described the marketing campaign as "bafflingly bad."   Ken Segall who writes about technology and marketing compared the ads for Apple, Google, Amazon, Samsung and Microsoft - and concluded that Microsoft that the company failed on the basic spirit of the ads.

Microsoft has introduced two models thus far - an RT and a Pro.  The reviews have been lukewarm at best.  The RT seems to have adequate, but not exceptional, battery life.   On all of my iPad models, I have rarely, if ever, run out of battery life in a day.    But the RT seems to get about 8 hours and the Pro only about 4.   That is tiny for a device that you are expected to have with you all the time.   The Surface Pro is also a bit of a heavyweight.  The full sized iPad weighs 1.44 pounds; the M
ini less than .7 pounds.   The Google tablet (which is in the size of a mini) weighs .75 pounds.   The Kindle Fire is the heftiest of the small form tablets at a bit less than a pound. (.9)   But the Surface Pro weighs in at a bit more than 2 pounds.

Obviously, this space is evolving.   Apple is expected to bring out new models in Q2; the other brands have either had a refresh recently or are in the process of updating.  But Microsoft continues to look like a left behind both in design, engineering and ads.   That is not a great place to be.

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