Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Ed Featherston, Elizabeth White

Blog Feed Post

Why I chose Surface RT over Surface Pro

I take my Surface RT everywhere and I do mean everywhere.  Whether, it is lunch, the bar, the airplane, user group presentation, a client demo, if I am out and about, chances are I have my Surface RT with me.  In the past month or so (long before the Surface Pro) came out, I noticed this trend of people asking me if that was a Surface Pro.  After I sighed  I would reply “No, it’s not and nor do I want one.”  The technology just isn’t there yet for us to not have to make a trade-off right now.  Today’s post is to explain why I chose what I did. 

If you look at the Help Me Choose page, most of my reasons are clear.  Let’s break it down.

ARM Processors

While uneducated reviewers out there are complaining about the Surface RT running on an ARM processor, I am praising it.  When I first heard that Windows was going to support ARM, I knew the significance.  This is what gives you a tablet device with no fan speed or heat concerns.  It also gives you ridiculously long battery life and connected standby.  I’ve used a Samsung Series 7 slate and it was heavy and sometimes loud.  I saw the issue back then and I knew this was the answer. I’m a big fan of ARM.

Battery Life

Seriously, the battery life on Surface RT is amazing.  They quote 8 hours, but I have used it all day at client meetings exclusively and then used it a couple of hours later at the bar and still had 20% left.  I am seriously impressed.  The Surface Pro unfortunately has significantly less battery life with reports between 3.5 and 5 hours.  This may be fine if you plan on using it as a laptop and you’re keeping it plugged in but I like the fact that I never have to worry about power on my Surface RT.  I charge it every other day typically and that is fine.

Connected Standby

This is the feature that makes your Windows RT device notify you of mail and other notifications when the device is “sleeping”.  That means I hear every mail that comes in and I get that Skype call (usually) just like an iPad does.  Surface Pro cannot do this because it goes into a true sleep just like your laptop does.

Instant Resume

Who has three seconds to wait for their device to come on every time they hit the button on top of it?  You do, if you bought Surface Pro.  I can turn the screen of my Surface RT on and off rapidly.

Apps

I am amazed at how many reviewers, said “ZOMG, the Surface RT can’t run Photoshop!”.  Really?  You’re dismissing the device because of this?  How many times have you ran Photoshop on your iPad?  And why would you run that on a tablet anyways?  I get it.  The Windows Store is still growing, but you can rest assure it will catch up to Apple and it’s five thousand fart apps.  The install base of Windows PCs, Tablets, and other devices is just to huge to ignore. 

When I think of this, I refer back to my post, “There’s an app for that, but does there need to be?”  No, there is not a Facebook app for Windows 8, but do I need one?  The reason they created one for mobile devices originally was the because the browser sucked.  Well, I don’t need one because I have a fully functional web browser on the device (you can debate whether you like it or not :) ).  When you use your laptop, do you wish there was a Facebook app there?  No, of course not.

For you power users out there, you can actually run some of your favorite desktop apps over remote desktop. I don’t mean inside a full screen window session.  I mean with Remote Apps which puts applications running on a remote server running seamlessly on your desktop.  In fact, right now I am typing this entire post using Windows Live Writer running off of a Windows Azure VM on my Surface RT.  Take a look at the screenshot below and notice how there isn’t any visible RDP window or anything like that.

image

So yes, that’s Visual Studio and Windows Live Writer running on my Surface RT desktop over RDP.  Work quite well (assuming you have an Internet connection).  Special thanks to @chakkaradeep for pointing out the post on this. 

I even have a RemoteApp set up for Outlook.  Yes, I agree the included Mail app is a bit painful.  Really, my main complaint about it is that it’s slow and unresponsive.  I’m hoping that will get better in the future.  However, you have to understand why that app exists.  It all comes back to Connected Standby.  Outlook doesn’t support it, so they built this app that does.  Sure, it could support it one of these days I am guessing, but it’s all a matter of priorities.  Outlook definitely isn’t touch friendly.

Cost

The Surface RT is already a significant investment at it’s price point.  With better hardware comes more cost of course.  In reality, it’s not much more than any previous slate devices based on an i5 processor.  You just have to decide what’s in your price range.

What about Surface Pro’s better hardware?

Like anything there is a trade-off.  Yes, the higher resolution display and pen would be nice, but I could do without for now.  Admittedly, I haven’t seen that display in person yet.  I think the feature gap between the two devices will get closer as time goes on.

Can Surface RT replace your laptop?

Sometimes!  When I am traveling, it’s often all I bring with me.  If I have a SharePoint demo, I try to use SharePoint Online or I will remote into my laptop or another server so it gets the job done.  I don’t write a ton of code any more so it’s ok that I don’t have Visual Studio running locally.  With RemoteApps though, you can see that you can work around it.  Take a look at this photo that I took before traveling a few weeks ago.

WP_000453

There you will see my Surface RT connected to a glowing USB hub (SharePoint branded) with a keyboard, mouse, and headset.  It’s also attached to a second monitor driving it at full resolution as a second screen.  Here I have a remote desktop connected to my laptop.  I’m getting actual work done.  Let’s see your iPad do that.

Can Surface RT replace your iPad?

At the risk of enraging the wrath of Apple fanbois, I’ll give you my opinion.  If you want to get real work done, absolutely.  If you want it to control your Sonos system or Directv receiver, not likely.  For work though, there really is no comparison.  Think back in the past to meeting you have gone to right after someone you know first got their iPad.  They are over there diligently trying to use the iPad in some useful way at work.  Then you see that person a few weeks later at another meeting and one of two things has happened.  Either a) they didn’t bring the iPad or b) you peak on their screen and they are on Facebook or are playing Angry Birds.  iPads are pretty decent for consumer home use, but for most people they aren’t going to help you get your job done.

Let’s face it Apple hasn’t done much since Steve Jobs died.  I am hearing even the most die hard fans question their direction and capability to innovate.  Simply making things thinner and lighter isn’t good enough for people.  I think the Surface RT is superior to other devices in many ways.  Does it have it’s issues?  Sure, but this Microsoft’s market to capture.  Unfortunately, the marketing Microsoft is doing is just not effective so people just don’t know about what these devices do.  When the word gets out, maybe we’ll see something.

What do you all think?  Am I completely off base here?  Does the RT meet your needs?  Did you hold out for the Pro or did you go with something else?  Leave your feedback.

Maybe I should have been a gadget reviewer for a living.  If anyone wants to send me hardware for me to write my opinion about, I’ll take it. :)

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Corey Roth

Corey Roth, a SharePoint Server MVP, is an independent consultant specializing in Cloud technologies such as Azure and Office 365. He also specializes in mobile development. Corey serves as the product manager for two cloud-first mobile app platforms: BrewZap and HappenZap.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
Headquartered in Plainsboro, NJ, Synametrics Technologies has provided IT professionals and computer systems developers since 1997. Based on the success of their initial product offerings (WinSQL and DeltaCopy), the company continues to create and hone innovative products that help its customers get more from their computer applications, databases and infrastructure. To date, over one million users around the world have chosen Synametrics solutions to help power their accelerated business or per...
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
We are seeing a major migration of enterprises applications to the cloud. As cloud and business use of real time applications accelerate, legacy networks are no longer able to architecturally support cloud adoption and deliver the performance and security required by highly distributed enterprises. These outdated solutions have become more costly and complicated to implement, install, manage, and maintain.SD-WAN offers unlimited capabilities for accessing the benefits of the cloud and Internet. ...
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and ...
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
Founded in 2000, Chetu Inc. is a global provider of customized software development solutions and IT staff augmentation services for software technology providers. By providing clients with unparalleled niche technology expertise and industry experience, Chetu has become the premiere long-term, back-end software development partner for start-ups, SMBs, and Fortune 500 companies. Chetu is headquartered in Plantation, Florida, with thirteen offices throughout the U.S. and abroad.
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
From 2013, NTT Communications has been providing cPaaS service, SkyWay. Its customer’s expectations for leveraging WebRTC technology are not only typical real-time communication use cases such as Web conference, remote education, but also IoT use cases such as remote camera monitoring, smart-glass, and robotic. Because of this, NTT Communications has numerous IoT business use-cases that its customers are developing on top of PaaS. WebRTC will lead IoT businesses to be more innovative and address...
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
Michael Maximilien, better known as max or Dr. Max, is a computer scientist with IBM. At IBM Research Triangle Park, he was a principal engineer for the worldwide industry point-of-sale standard: JavaPOS. At IBM Research, some highlights include pioneering research on semantic Web services, mashups, and cloud computing, and platform-as-a-service. He joined the IBM Cloud Labs in 2014 and works closely with Pivotal Inc., to help make the Cloud Found the best PaaS.
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
The Founder of NostaLab and a member of the Google Health Advisory Board, John is a unique combination of strategic thinker, marketer and entrepreneur. His career was built on the "science of advertising" combining strategy, creativity and marketing for industry-leading results. Combined with his ability to communicate complicated scientific concepts in a way that consumers and scientists alike can appreciate, John is a sought-after speaker for conferences on the forefront of healthcare science,...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Archi...
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settl...