Bits & Bytes: Surface Pro tablet's price tab madness from Microsoft
BY ROBERT EVATT World Staff Writer
Sunday, December 09, 2012
12/09/12 at 4:31 AM
What on earth is Microsoft thinking?
I have nothing against the company - I think Windows Phone is vastly underrated, and I'm a big fan of the Xbox 360.
But releasing tablets that cost $899 to $999 is just utter madness.
That's how much the Surface Pro will cost when it hits store shelves early next year. The Surface Pro is the version that will actually run everything from the full PC version of Windows 8, including everything from Windows 7.
In concept, that sounds like a great idea. A fully featured yet ultra-portable PC, complete with a touchscreen that makes the Windows 8 setup more palatable. I was intrigued.
However, when you release a product that costs more than the comparable Apple product, something has gone horribly wrong.
Apple is notorious for charging a premium for its gadgets, but if you're willing to get an iPad Mini, you'll just part with $329. The most top-of-the-line model will cost you $829. Yet the basic version of Surface Pro costs more than that.
Sure, the Pro's PC compatibility is a great advantage. But if PC support is what you're looking for in a portable, why not just get a laptop?
Good ones can be had for $600, and the push toward ultrabooks have made them thinner and sleeker.
Microsoft knows the market is shifting from PCs to tablets, and they'd be fools to ignore the trend, but I'm not sure they're taking the right approach.
Names alone don't sell tablets. Android smartphones are incredibly popular, though that success hasn't translated into runaway success for Android tablets.
I'm not sure that additional capabilities are a true market advantage, either. Despite the fact that Android tablets can do more than iPads out of the box, I keep running into companies that incorporate iPads into their day-to-day work.
Businesses have gotten used to using iPads, and a more-featured alternative won't change things if it's vastly more expensive.
The Surface RT, aka the Microsoft tablet that's already available, appears to be off to a shaky start. Stephen Baker of retail analysis firm NPD recently said that "Windows 8 tablet sales have been almost nonexistent, with unit sales representing less than 1 percent of all Windows 8 device sales to date."
The RT may also be suffering at the hands of its price, as it starts at $599.
I'm not rooting for Microsoft to fail. I like how competition keeps everyone on their toes. But Microsoft's current strategy runs the risk of making it an afterthought in the tablet business.
App of the week: StatMilk College Football (iOS)
I'll admit I don't know much about sports, but even I was impressed by the sheer volume of stats and data available for college football teams via StatMilk.
The results of each game are just the beginning of the options offered. StatMilk gives you a detailed and searchable database of each player, a breakdown of each team's touchdowns scored and touchdowns given up, offensive and defensive rankings, attendance for each game, and much more - for the past 10 years.
If you know what all those numbers mean, you've definitely got to pick this up.
StatMilk Sports, free (some options require a $2.99 upgrade)
Suggest an app for App of the Week at firstname.lastname@example.org
Instagram launches web interface, pulls full support for Twitter
Looks like we've got the start of a fight between Twitter and Instagram, as Instagram just pulled its full support for Twitter.
Instagram disabled the use of Twitter Cards, which allow tweets to display images, videos, website previews and other information. Instagram photos can still be posted, but they'll appear off-center and awkwardly cropped.
Why pick this fight? Instagram finally launched its own web interface that will allow you to see Instagram photos online. CEO Kevin Systrom said the decision came from him, not new owners Facebook, because he wants more people to view Instagram photos on, well, Instagram.
It probably doesn't help that Twitter is rolling out various features to become more visual. The rumor is that photo filters are coming to Twitter soon, so Instagram will no longer have the monopoly on ruining great photos with a random yellowish filter anymore.
Original Print Headline: Microsoft Pro tablet's price madness
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A Microsoft store product adviser displays the Surface RT tablet. The RT starts at $599, while the Surface Pro set to be released next year will cost $899 to $999. ELAINE THOMPSON / Associated Press