The phantom compromise

Matt Alexander:

In its attempts to wedge the Surface between the iPad and the laptop, Microsoft seems to have created a robust piece of hardware that cannot quite solve a non-existent problem. The iPad, for some, is a fantastic work platform. For others, like myself, that cannot subscribe to this, laptops are becoming increasingly thin and light with each passing month. The “compromise” Microsoft sought to build upon was, in other words, a figment of the company’s imagination.

Or one they were trying to invent and get people to believe.

The reviews of the Surface are mixed but leaning toward positive. Most seem to think that the platform is rough around the edges but promising. That was my impression of Windows 8 as well. If Windows ever goes full Metro (let’s just call it that, the hell with them) it’ll be a lot more compelling to me.

The Metro/desktop dichotomy is too confusing. The fact that Windows 8 forces you to do some things in the desktop when in touch mode and forces a touch-friendly interface on you in desktop mode is disastrous. If you believe people want just one device, I think the way to do it is have a device that fully switches modes — touch when mobile, mouse and keyboard when not — and allows you to do everything you need in either mode. The way it is, though, it’s half-assed.

It’s possible Microsoft will move in the fully bi-modal direction, but for $600 for a Surface with a keyboard — which is what you really need to make the device fully usable — I’d rather pay a little more and get two iPad minis.