More on Microsoft Surface

I’ve been using the Surface tablet now for a few weeks and I can say that my overall feeling about the device is very positive. I will try to be objective though and mention both the good and the bad things that I’ve found with Surface.

First, the device has been well thought out and it fills a need that iPad could not completely fill. I can actually do real work on my Surface that I found very difficult or impossible to do on my iPad. One example of something I do more easily on Surface is editing an Excel spreadsheet. I found this difficult, if not impossible to really do on my iPad – especially given my existing infrastructure. With Surface, I am able to open, edit and save Excel files to SkyDrive, and view or edit the same file later on my pc with little or no trouble.

Second, I love the screen size, especially when working with 2 apps at the same time. I frequently like to be in email or another app, while docking my calendar on the left side of the screen so I can see what the date is next Wednesday for example, and if I have any appointments or not, without changing apps. This is a very nice feature.

Now, I have noticed that the selection of apps is very immature, but it is growing at a good clip, with new apps showing up daily. Many of the most popular apps are available, but I’ve also noticed that the quality of existing apps is immature. I think apps like Kindle have a way to go to bring them up to the level of the iPad version. The Nook app, though, is very nice. It embraces the real estate and uses Windows 8 features very nicely. Apps for Windows 8 need to work with Windows 8 – for example, apps don’t need to have their own search capabilities, but they do need to hook into the Windows 8 search functionality that all Windows 8 apps share. They also need to be built to handle both full screen and partial screen viewing (since you can dock 2 apps at once on the screen).

I have also experienced one or two freeze-ups of apps. And there have been a couple major OS updates so far that seem to have helped the overall experience.

My conclusion at this point, is that Windows 8 is a very robust platform, and Surface is a polished high quality device. The app store is growing, and at least for me, Surface adds functionality that I didn’t have with my laptop or my iPad, the ability to do real work on a mobile device.