Conclusions From The Microsoft Surface Keynote

I’m watching the Microsoft keynote at the same time as I write this, so if I commit any error just put it in the comments.

List of problems with the Microsoft Surface:

  • 16:9 aspect ratio
  • Confusing products (ARM and Intel)
  • No pricing confirmed

The 16:9 aspect ratio for a 10” tablet is the worst one you could ever use and still Android manufactures and Microsoft thinks it’s a great thing. It’s just impossible to feel comfortable with a 10” 16:9 tablet in your hands while in portrait and the same happens for landscape. Every time I get my ASUS Eee Pad Slider to do something I immediately want to go back to my iPad.

Having the same name for completely different products that look exactly the same is the worst thing Microsoft could ever do. They made a professional tablet, using a Intel chip, running Windows 8 Pro (another terrible name) that “might be capable” of running all those those so called “classic” applications. And another tablet that looks just the same but with a ARM chip and running Windows RT, and won’t be capable of running “classic” applications, which I’ve already discussed how it will be a nightmare on a past article.

The last thing that wasn’t presented and also haven’t talked about is the availability. I’m almost sure it won’t be available on developing nations like Brazil neither countries that don’t have Microsoft Stores.

Anyway I won’t be buying one of these because I seriously don’t care about Windows anymore, it’s boring since Windows Vista and it’s still boring, but now it will be a lot worst with all the fragmentation problems that are going to come with the release of Windows 8 and Windows RT.

Some interesting quotes I selected:

We believe that any intersection between human and machine can be made better when hardware and software are considered together.

Looks a lot like the Apple approach huh?

Take the mouse. Windows needed one, so we built one. Early reviews were not very positive — in fact, it was so new that Canadian customs quarantined it.

I won’t comment on this one.

"I say perfect a lot — it’s part of our team culture."

I still remember Windows Vista.. Also that’s not part of your team, it’s more part of the Apple team.

We took the time to get Surface and Windows 8 right. To do something that was really different and really special. We’re proud of the Surface like we’re proud of Windows 8. Because of Windows 8, the Surface is a PC, it is a tablet… it’s something new.

Looks like a Transformer Prime running Windows 8 for me…

Microsoft Finally Saw Where The Developers are Going

Today I revived my hope on Microsoft as I received the news that they released their brand new “product” for their fellow developers. The release I am talking about is the official Metro theme for jQuery Mobile. The awesome mobile framework finally got some Microsoft love.

In December of last year I got a new device to develop for, a HTC Titan, running the latest Windows Phone 7.5 Mango build. I loved the OS UI and how the applications were information-centric and not just eye-candy, but there was one problem, the same way C# is a incredible language for a lot of things, it’s parsing functions, for JSON specifically, are very difficult to learn and the articles about it were made for senior C# developers, which makes it difficult for beginners like me to understand them, at least I now can develop using the technology I love most for mobile development: Cordova (aka PhoneGap).

I always wanted to use Cordova for my WP7 projects but the Metro interface was way too complex to build from scratch and since the WP7 build of Cordova was on it’s early stages there were some features still to be implemented, for example there was no way to prevent the app from scrolling and some other things. Now there are plenty of plugins to make the app as native as possible and with the latest help from Microsoft, the Cordova development community has another great platform with almost full support of the native web app framework.

It’s great to see that Microsoft finally realized that the future of development has Javascript, HTML and CSS as the main languages. That’s why I have hopes that Boot to Gecko gets some market attraction and becomes a popular platform.

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I’m Not The Only One That Hates Metro For Desktops

I’ve written a month ago I think that Windows 8 fragmentation and how the Metro interface for non-touch devices like desktops and laptops is crap. Now after the consumer preview that was released everyone is confirming my initial thought. Windows 8 won’t be a good product for desktop and laptop users, only for tablets and even on the tabletsphere there will be fragmentation issues.

Microsoft should look at things like this to get inspiration to really innovate on their desktop UI. I would definitely get a Windows 8 desktop if that was the default interface. Until then I’ll stay with my delightful MacBook Pro.

Example of what I’m talking about:

As many of you already played with Windows 8 Developer Preview, and if you didn’t at least you know it well from tech sites, it’s already a fragmented OS and in my opinion it’s more fragmented than Android. Maybe a lot of things will change when the final version comes out, but I don’t think this will happen.

I’m talking about the two OSes that come on the Windows 8 pack. One has a Metro UI with all the new and cool stuff borrowed from Windows Phone and built for a tablet, since it’s very bad to use that interface with a mouse. The second is the good, but old, Aero interface which we all know is perfect for a mouse. If you want to have a complete new interface you should use it across all the apps. On Windows 7 I could run any app built specifically for XP and it would have the same Aero look as any other Windows 7 app.

Now imagine at the user side, someone that is just ok about computers and think that OS = Windows. This person will need to relearn almost everything about Windows all over again and deal with apps that must run on Metro and others that only run on Aero. Having to switch between them over and over will make the user feel uncomfortable about the OS because it doesn’t have the consistency to stay in a single type of interface.

And what about Windows on ARM? Of course apps compiled for x86 won’t run on ARM-based Windows machines, and vice-versa. This will add another layer of fragmentation on Windows, maybe more work for the developer too if it the ARM version of the SDK has limitations.

Microsoft is fragmenting Windows before it even gets released.

Windows Phone developer experience leaves for Amazon

This is a great thing for Amazon, they are needing more developer support for their App Store or maybe some big announcement is coming, but on the other side this is terrible/a complete failure for Microsoft.

I have a Windows Phone sitting on my desk, along side with an iPhone an iPad and some other Android phones/tablet. I love the Metro interface and the experience it gaves, you can easily get to your information without having to do much, but WP7 isn’t going very well on the phone market, mainly because of the lack of apps, which is why I always bring my iPhone with me when I want get out with my HTC Titan.

I tried to develop some apps for Windows Phone on my Mac running Windows inside a VM, which was a terrible experience because Visual Studio was slow as hell, but the first problem I had was the lack of simple tutorials to know how to integrate C# and Silverlight for beginners, things like how to retrieve and parse a RSS feed and then populate a list with the info.

Microsoft needs to get the attention of developers fast. RIM is at least trying and they maybe get a good amount of developers to develop apps for their platform too.

I’ve selected a great comment by Jordz95 at The Verge’s article:

Knowing what Steve Ballmer is like, he’ll probably just blow up and shout “That F****ng Amazon” like that time a certain employee moved to Google and went crazy at them…

Apart from that this is not good for Microsoft since they already lack having a lot of developers to back the WP7 platform (which don’t get me wrong is an amazing OS, but once again lacks having lots of Apps). So therefore Microsoft is going to have to speed up the competition before Amazon ‘snatches’ their small market-share in the Smartphone and Tablet Industry away from them.

Windows Phone #1 Rule

Every time you download an app that you want to try, but you think you’ll never use it anymore, pin to the start screen so you won’t forget about it, and let it rotten in the applications menu.

Just 4 weeks ago the Windows Phone Marketplace reached the 50k applications milestone, but there’s still a very long way that Microsoft should go until they reach a good place in the “App Store wars”. A lot of must-have apps on iOS and Android aren’t available for Windows Phone, simple things like a oficial Read it Later client or a decent free Twitter app (The oficial one doesn’t include notifications). I’ve been using my HTC Ultimate (aka Titan) for 4 weeks and I’m loving the OS, but missing a lot of apps from my Android phones and iPhone, that’s why I constantly take them with me along-side with my Windows Phone.