Scratching the Surface

A few days back the whole tech world ignored Steve Ballmer’s exuberance and stood in awe at the Microsoft Surface launch. In awe, because it something they hadn’t expect, they didn’t know how to react.

To compete with Apple in their own game, Microsoft instead of a spec bump, ramp up their own game – Redefine PC, yes the very PC Apple mocked in their series of ad. So during Surface launch, the spotlight was not on some insanely high resolution screen, processor, RAM or Gorilla glass but instead on a KEYBOARD and a flip KICKSTAND.

So that’s a 3mm TouchCover keyboard and a flip kickstand which flush collapse with the VaporMg casing. And of course, the OS Windows 8 just the bare minimal, a total opposite from the skeuomorphic Apple UI.

Struggling Blackberry might be right, when they say at one point in time, that soft keyboard (or touch keys) are not very good for typing. And accessories makers have already flooded the market with iPad keyboard without much success, just because iPad was never meant to replace THE PC (Personal Computer or Computing). And with Surface, the 3mm TouchCover keyboard is quite an ENABLER, not an accessory.

Microsoft Surface was not the first with keys, Asus Transformer tablet tried the keyboard way but Android just couldn’t lift the morale. Going by great reviews of Windows 8 and it’s user base, this might be Microsoft’s return ticket to lost glory.

In recent times, without the rockstar aurora of Steve Jobs’ reality distortion field, Apple seems to be blurring the thin line between a Mac Air and the Next Gen Mac Pro. Microsoft has taken a leaf from Apple and get both the hardware and software together with Surface.

Yesterday 6/21/2012, when Microsoft announce Windows 8 Phone, many crib that people who’d already bought Windows phone will not be able to upgrade to Windows 8. But what’s noteworthy is, Windows 7 platform was from a bygone era when bellbottoms were in vogue and Bill Gates was not into philanthropy (might be wrong about the philanthropy ;) don’t sue me). And to ramp up the game, Microsoft needed to rethink to survive.

I’m not an Apple hater, actually an admirer and Steve Ballmer didn’t sponsor this blog , thought I would have written longer if they’d sponsored :P But I like to watch someone take on the mighty Goliath (Apple) in their own game, after all racing improves the breed.

My only wish for Microsoft, is not to launch too many variant and kick the very daylight out of the decision making grey matter, from simple consumer like myself.

Now coming back to the Surface, what remains to be seen is – did Surface only scratch the surface or can Microsoft beat Apple with a keyboard? But whoever wins, Design Triumphs!

Windows Phone 7

Windows Phone 7 series, while it might be too early to see how it performs inthe real world the interface actually looks promising.

Catch the official site here
Windows Phone 7 Series

From Gizmodo:

they have created a beautiful user interface in which the data is at the center of user interaction. Not the apps—specific functions—but the information itself.

While the interest is buzz with the bads and goods of Phone 7, me… I just can’t wait.

Rise of Netbooks

Photo: ekosystem

My little family monthly grocery shopping is becoming more of an obsession for me rather than a ritual. I look forward to it every month and we normally do it the first weekend of the month. Considering Bangalore traffic & parking pain, we normally go in the morning off-peak period. And while my wife drags the shopping cart, I’m off to the top floor electronics department.

While DSLR is one in my radar, another piece of technology are the mini-laptop or the newly christened “Netbooks”. Tracking the evolution, first I heard about XO1 OLPC and I’m not sure if it actually benefited the poor & unprivileged children as intended. I’ve never touched one and it never looked serious enough. But I guess the form factor caught the fancy of many.

The first incarnation of Asus Eee PC powered with Celeron M with few Gig of SSD storage, came in later 2007 much later after OLPC, I guess the major brands were scared to test new territories. And till that time, people still couldn’t figure a perfect bracket to categorize this new avatar of laptop. hmm.. mini-laptop, ultra-portable laptop… I tried one of these machine during one of my shopping trips and at 8 inch, 800×640px screen, it was better than surfing the net using a cellphone. The user installed Win XP version was dragging though.

I heard about new player MSi Wind, never touched one, but when I saw the new Acer Aspire One, 9inch (1024×600px screen), Atom powered, 160 Gb HDD, 1 Gb RAM, with pre-installed Win XP OS phew… that’s pushing the limit to reach me, the consumer :)

Smaller than a tabloid, lighter than a hardcover. You can call this the paperback version of the laptop. We can’t call it Netbook, since tech company PSION claiming it owns the trademark of the term.

While Acer One doesn’t have bluetooth, some of the latest entree from Lenovo, DELL, HP comes bundled with bluetooth, while most config remains the same. And yes all devoid of a DVD drive. The latest entrant is the Sony VAIO P, costing an exorbitant estimated street price of Rs 50,000, while most netbook is around Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000.

Did you know: Psion Teklogix, a UK company, on 23 Dec 2008 reportedly claimed trademark rights to their discontinued product name ‘Netbook’.