The Future

The future is looking better every day with new ways we can use technology to interact, share and work with data. These articles look into what the future could well have in store….

Please Note – Microsoft have now confirmed that there will not be 3G/4G in the Surface through the complete specs which can be seen here.

As the momentum builds for a midnight release of the Microsoft Surface (thanks to the Reg) Microsoft are still keeping very quiet about a lot of key things – most notably will it have a 3G/4G connectivity.

Even in its RT version Surface has a lot of things going for it over other tablets like full USB, HDMI, TPM encryption (Bitlocker managed in the Pro version), integrated kick stand, Microsoft Office, a design and build quality that IMO rivals the iPad and its touch covers which build in a cover and keyboard into one item.

We do know that the Asus Vivo RT comes with 4G (in at least the US) but still no mention of the Surface getting it.

Personally this is the biggest feature that the Surface needs to succeed – without it the Surface would become a tablet that you can only use at home/at work (assuming you have Wi-Fi). Yes you may say you could hook up to a coffee shop Wi-Fi network or your phones tethering ability while out and about but nothing beats the seamless nature of 3G built right in.

So I say to Microsoft-

Unless you have had your head buried in the sand for the past few days you will know that Microsoft has showcased their take on Windows 8 tablet PCs.

Dubbed Microsoft Surface (the big table surface has been renamed PixelSense) this new family of tablets comes in a ARM processor based version (aimed at the day to day consumer) and a x86 Intel processor based version (aimed at the business professional).

Microsoft are saying that the ARM based version (Windows RT) will be available at ‘competitive prices’ when Windows 8 goes on general sale (I’m thinking that could be around October) and that the Intel version will come 90 days after.

The specifications sheet of both tablets can be found on the Microsoft website here.
Furthermore you can watch the 45min long keynote/demo from Microsoft here.

Anywhos that’s enough of the facts that we know so far time for some impressions……


It makes sense that Microsoft would go for the larger end of the tablet PC screen sizes, for Windows 8 to be able to multi task (i.e. have two applications side by side with one snapped) you need to have a screen resolution of at least 1366 pixels wide to get that kind of pixel density on a 7″ tablet isn’t easy and if you want to be multi task class productive on a tablet PC a 7″ screen just dosn’t make sense.

One thing I like a lot is the inclusion of Gorilla Glass in the screen which makes the screen ultra strong, the magnesium case gives a very professional look to the whole device as well – it certainly is heads and shoulders above some of the plasticity cheap looking Android tablets out there.

The only thing which I don’t get about the case design is the start button in the middle of the tablets bezel – the way I see it if the button were on the far left hand side (as it is on the Acer W500) then if you were holding the tablet with two hands it would be more than easy for you to reach out with your thumb and get right back to start. Continue reading

Last year just before Christmas I was very close to getting a Motorola Xoom Android Tablet PC but after much thought I changed my mind and decided that I would wait for Windows 8. Looking at the reasons below most of these relate to my nature as a IT professional and how I would use the tablet at both home, out and about and also at work.

Windows 8 is the match for my choice in phone and online services

I use Windows Live quite extensively covering Mail, SkyDrive (Photo storage/Documents), Contacts and Calendar – all of which integrate natively with my Windows Phone.

Microsoft has also demonstrated (video to the right) as to how these web services are built right into the OS in a way that is already familiar to me. This kind of continuity between devices can’t be matched and Android tablets (although Apple does very well with the iPhone and iPad offering a very similar user experience). Continue reading

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series What I take from the Vision 2011 video

Voice recognition is already here so why am I making so much of a fuss about it? Well at least for now we are still very limited as to how we can use voice technology with our phones – most of the time we are limited to issuing simple commands to open applications or run searches. Even Apples Siri technology is limited to a few commands leaving us a long way away from truly ‘talking to our phones’.

So lets take a look at what the Vision 2011 video has in store for us…


Transcribing text is probably the most familiar form of voice recognition at this moment where you say some words or a full sentence and your phone/PC translates that into text. For the time being in phones this is done with the help of a ‘cloud web service’ whereby your words are recorded and transmitted to a server for final translation into text. Continue reading

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series What I take from the Vision 2011 video

Looking at the Vision 2011 video Microsoft obviously has some pretty nice ideas to where phones are going, lets take a look at what those could be.


Thinner, lighter, longer battery lives and smaller bezels – sounds like the latest fruit flavoured device but future phones won’t just end there.

In the vision 2011 video we can clearly see in some scenes the phone is actually semi transparent and as well as having a front touch screen the entire of the back of the phone is touch sensitive as well. The benefit in this is that you no longer cover 40% of the screen with your hand and so its easier to pick out content from the screen. Continue reading

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series What I take from the Vision 2011 video

Every now and again Microsoft gives us a glimpse into what they see as the future of computing/productivity. The latest one is out (replacing the 2009 video) and over this series of posts I am going to take a look at different parts of the videos and try to make sense of what Microsoft is telling us about the future.

The latest video can be seen below on YouTube and the Microsoft micro site about the video can be seen at this link.

So keep an eye out for my first real post in this series which will be about how we use mobile devices to interact with each other.