Following on from our triumphant trip to The Gadget Show Live last week, Xavier and Chris leave Henry in the dark ages for the fifth episode of our podcast. Sticking mostly to topic for the first time ever, we talk about everything from Facebook’s attempt to take control of Android with Home and the HTC First, Nokia’s Verizon-bound Lumia 928, our experiences in the review period of the Microsoft Surface RT, the complimentary content that comes with Sony’s new $699 4K media player and, the biggest news of the year, Sergey Brin’s bright pink Batman Tesla. We also branch out into culture talk with our favourite new media and Chris gets philosophical…somewhere.
Last June, a mysterious event invite came out of Microsoft’s Washington HQ. Unlike pretty much every other tech launch in the last two years, we hadn’t seen any major leaks beforehand, although rumours of the launch being for a tablet with Windows 8 (or, according to Mat Honan, a #MSFTaaaaaablet). What the company ultimately unveiled was the Surface, its first piece of Windows-based hardware, in both RT and Pro flavours, the latter of which still hasn’t made it to the UK. In a brave experiment, I have spent the last couple of months using the RT model as my primary computer, and it’s definitely been turning heads. Has this been for good reasons, though? Read on to find out. Continue reading →
The Surface Pro, the big brother to Microsoft’s Surface RT which was released in October last year, won’t go on sale in January as originally planned, but you will be able to have one in your hands by February 9th. On the bright side, Microsoft do seem to have admitted defeat with their Surface RT retail strategy, which was so bad that it was nominated for our biggest failure award – the Seattle-based company says that the Surface Pro will have wide retail availability beyond just Microsoft.com and Microsoft Stores.
We knew that Microsoft were targeting the high-end market with the Surface Pro, but even so the prices they’ve announced do seem extortionate. The minimum you’ll find yourself paying for one is $899, for the 64GB version with no covers included. The 128GB model will add $100 on to that price. The Surface RT 32GB tablet, the cheapest member of the Surface family you’ll find, would set you back $499, so there is obviously a significant difference between the RT and the Pro. Like with the its little brother, if you want to buy a keyboard cover for your Surface Pro it will cost $119 for the Touch Cover or $129 for the Type one. Microsoft will throw in a free pressure-sensitive pen in the box too.
On the same date as the Surface Pro is released, Microsoft have announced that a standalone 64GB will be made available for $599 – previously you could only buy it as a package with the black Touch Cover for $699.
It’s nice to finally get some genuine information on the Surface Pro, but we really feel that the large price tag will put a lot of potential consumers off buying one. Mind you, Microsoft do seem to be aiming here to make something which will completely replace your laptop or desktop PC, whereas previous tablets have only really been able to be used in conjunction with another device, to do all the ‘serious’ stuff on. The Surface Pro will certainly be an interesting one to watch, but personally we can’t see it taking off.
As Microsoft prepares to unleash Windows 8 upon the world tomorrow, a number of launch events are scheduled around the world, but the largest of them all takes place in New York this afternoon. We’re expecting to hear news of Surface and Windows, while numerous new high-profile applications for the Windows Store are likely to be unveiled. For all the news as it happens, join us right here for all the news as it happens.
All times are in BST
This event is now finished
15:30 Let’s do this.
15:40 While we wait for things to kick off, why not watch our Windows 8 overview?
16:08 Just a few minutes to go now…
16:09 Plenty of time to get some beef Hula Hoops.
16:16 We should be live now. If you want to watch along with us then the kind folks at Microsoft have provided a stream.
16:19 Starting with a video: The World Is Ready.
16:21 Steven Sinofsky is up, talking about building on the success of Windows 7.
16:22 They’ve sold over 670,000,000 licenses.
16:23 2PB of data added to SkyDrive every month.
16:24 Now talking about the advances in technology since Windows 95 came out.
16:25 Windows 8 is reimagined for the next billion users.
16:26 Windows 8 will be available at 12:01am tomorrow in every time zone.
16:27 8 was built on the foundations of 7.
16:28 Cold boots on new PCs in 10 seconds.
16:29 1,240,000 hours of testing in 190 countries.
16:30 Designed for touch and to be alive with the activity that matters most.
16:31 1,000 devices have already been certified for Windows 8.
16:32 There will be new Ultrabooks today, with some sporting touch screens.
16:33 Moving on to the Windows Store, officially opening today.
16:34 Hundreds of new apps every day, with the rate increasing each day.
16:35 231 markets for the store. Largest app selection at opening of any app store.
16:36 Now we have Windows Retweet RT, featuring Office 2013.
16:37 Windows RT currently supports over 420,000,000 peripherals, including mice, keyboards and printers.
16:38 Now there’s an advert featuring Best Coast and guitars.
16:39 Mike Angiulo and Julie Larson-Green on stage to demonstrate.
16:41 They’re just taking a look at the core. I think we did that better, but they’re not doing too badly.
16:44 The desktop is now even better. Run it side by side with Store apps.
16:45 Now talking about SkyDrive and Windows Phone.
16:47 They’re showing off the HTC 8X, a Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 (with stylus!) and an Acer Aspire S7 Ultrabook.
16:49 Touch notebooks start at just $499/£400.
16:51 “So many apps.”
16:52 Showing off Hulu with snapped email. Into the Wikipedia app (via Store) with the video still playing. Search is universal.
16:53 Julie’s using Urbanspoon now. Sharing is easy, and now exploring NY with Bing Travel.
16:55 Jetpack Joyride is available on Windows 8. Goodbye productivity.
16:56 Now they have the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga, Dell XPS tablet and Samsung Ativ Tab.
16:57 Swapping now to the Asus Vivo Tab RT and Microsoft’s own Surface which gets a rapturous applause.
16:59 Ballmer alert.
17:00 He’s looking intense and talking about the benefits of a Microsoft account.
17:01 Biggest Windows ever with ARM and tablets included.
17:05 New Office “works great with a stylus”.
17:06 Great support from media outlets for apps. IE10 sites can be pinned.
17:07 MSN is the first site to be designed for Windows 8 and IE10.
17:08 SkyDrive is great for documents, while Outlook and the new Skype app are great for communication.
17:09 Rich entertainment experience with the Xbox brand, including free streaming music.
17:10 “Windows uniquely gives [businesses] the tools they need.”
17:11 Similarities to Windows Phone are positive – with live tiles, Microsoft Accounts and SkyDrive. More on that on Monday.
17:11 He said developers. Be warned.
17:12 Ballmer on 670,000,000 Windows 7 PCs: “That’s a very large number, even in the world of very large numbers.”
17:13 “Windows 8 PCs really are the best PCs ever.”
17:14 “Windows 8 brings together the best of worlds: PC and tablet; work and play.”
17:15 And that’s a wrap.
17:15 A whole load of uniformed people went on stage, music started playing and the lights dimmed. I can’t be the only one that was scared of a dance there.
17:15 And that’s all folks! We’ll be back on Monday for the Windows Phone and Android events!