Microsoft videos: Surface RT is for fun but Surface Pro is for work

When Microsoft started its marketing campaign for the Windows RT version of the Surface tablet in October, it released a video that showed the device being used by a variety of people. With the exception of someone using the included version of Office RT for a few seconds, the video shows the tablet as a consumer device for fun: playing games, watching movies and webcam chats with friends.

With today's announcement that the Windows 8 Pro version of the Surface is coming on February 9th, Microsoft has released a similar video on YouTube. The tone of this film, however, is quite different. The Surface Pro is shown being used exclusively as a tablet made for work, specifically in a fictional eye glasses design company (55mm, to be exact)

The clip shows the workers at this design company looking at spreadsheets and designing new glasses with the help of the Surface Pro's stylus pen; it's also shown as a way to display presentations via its DisplayPort.

So what's the story? It seems like Microsoft is pushing for the Surface RT version to be a "fun" consumer product, something like an iPad, Kindle Fire or a Nexus 7 tablet. The Surface Pro, however, seems to be marketed at the business customer, perhaps as a replacement for the normal laptop; the price for the Surface Pro starts at $899.

So, will this strategy work? That remains to be seen. The price of the Surface RT tablet is certainly cheaper than the Surface Pro but there are major drawbacks, most notably with Windows RT itself, which can't run legacy Windows programs.

On the other hand, consumers who might be interested in the Surface Pro might be put off by its higher price. Businesses might also question why they should buy a Surface Pro tablet when they can get a touch-screen Windows 8 laptop for a price that's cheaper than the Surface Pro.

While it's still too early to pass judgement on the Surface Pro, Microsoft is looking like it is targeting the enterprise market for the tablet. Depending on its reception, that could be a brilliant move or one that could spell disaster for Microsoft's new tablet lineup.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Verizon Wireless reveals Q4 2012 figures, but no specifics on Windows Phone

Next Story

Microsoft releases Windows Phone 7.8 SDK

38 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

"Surface RT version to be a "fun" "
with currently available LAME apps/games on RT, how can you having fun with it?

Sorry but there's a reason why people who use Photoshop for a living tend to have monitors as big as a TV with color calibration capabilities and such. I wonder what color profiles the Surface display even supports? Also what in the world will you be able to see on that small screen to do work on Photoshop. Some simplified, photo re-touching app would be great but I honestly don't see anyone doing serious work with Photoshop on it.

Also, me being a software/web developer, what work am I going to be able to get done. I need at least 2 large monitors to be really productive. On this tiny screen, I'll need to either scroll like crazy to read my codes or put on glasses to be able to read the tiny little text.

I guess I need to spend more time with one but to me the 10" screen and doing serious work don't go together. I would really want to see someone doing magic in Photoshop on this or a programmer be really productive. Of course there's a million other professions and stuff that it might work well for but I can't think of many.

I can't believe someone is working with Photoshop on the surface pro ad. (I clearly recognize the interface of CS6) I'm a bit skeptical that it would be convenient. Otherwise Microsoft hit the nail on the head regarding these lasts ads : it's all about convincing that these tablets can be more useful compared than competition.

Working with Photoshop and a Wacom pen isn't convenient? I have a Samsung Series 7 slate loaded with Windows 8 Pro. It's essentially the precursor to the Surface Pro. The ability for the pen to turn off the touch so that you can rest your wrist on the screen while you draw is great. Of course it has many levels of pressure sensitivity like all Wacom pens.

It will change how you use Photoshop.

bigmehdi said,
The wacom tablet doesn't replace the screen. Maybe a 23 inch touch device could be ok.

You're crazy. I could easily draw on a sticky note if I wanted to. This is significantly bigger than that.

Btw the screen is much more impressive than you think. In their keynote, they highlighted that touch/pen input is actually taken in 6x more accurate than the screen itself displays. So while the screen may not be like an easel, it allows you to create images as large as 4703x2645, which is like a 12 MP image.

Pluto is a Planet said,

You're crazy. I could easily draw on a sticky note if I wanted to. This is significantly bigger than that.

Well, for me Photoshop is more about retouching than drawing (although both are possible). And for retouching, the better is the screen , the more efficient is the work.
I imagine that you could do draft drawing with a tablet, but then if you want to ensure that color are the most accurate (i.e calibrated screen, with good color reproduction),
or if you want to do even corrections at the pixel level, working with a tablet is as convenient as working with a missing hand.

As for Pro's utility for "work," it depends on how one wants to define "work." I hardly see Surface Pro being any kind of serious contender in any situation where intensive data entry is required and/or almost any existing application needs to be used. [Good luck typing up a multiple page report/research paper with that tacky keyboard. If one buys the "better one," you really have just a very expensive two-piece laptop. Why not use your money and buy a laptop or desktop with much better specifications? Or, is lightweight portability such a compelling requirement?]

I just registered to say this:

Microsoft,
Now that's an advert!
Just pay the money and screen "Learn more about Surface" and your sales will soar!

Yours, a hopeful but usually disappointed long time customer.

I want one...waiting.....my birthday is 02/22...so I expect this to be my present....you listening Honey? lol. Oh and I want both covers. I want TypeCover in Black and TouchCover in Red

These videos should be cut and made shorter so they can be broadcasted on T.V
(If they already are, haven't seen em)

The Surface RT Nvidia Tegra 3 SOC begs to differ. Surface RT is more than capable of playing games.

Nice to hear a sensible comment from someone who has so obviously hasn't used one /s

neo158 said
Nice to hear a sensible comment from someone who has so obviously hasn't used one /s
Well last I checked it didn't take an Einstein genius to figure out that Windows RT can run Windows 8 apps, duh.. And did you know that some of those apps in the Windows store are games. Isn't that just mind blowing /s

Definitely considering the Pro, I would use it mainly for coding and some browsing. But I'll wait since it's a bit too pricey for me.

Somewhere along the line, "Pro" came to mean something other than "Professional". This can probably be attributed to all the software companies affixing "Pro" to almost all software to make it seem high grade and subsequently targeting it toward consumers.

However, the Surface Pro is a professional device targeted toward businesses, and it comes with a professional-grade price tag. I see people constantly balking at the price claiming it is too high, but for $899 there is no other comparable system on the market. And no, before you show me a laptop for less but does not have a digitizer and touch screen it is NOT comparable.

$899 might be too much for you, but for someone who is looking for a device with this confluence of features (like many businesses), it's a great price, because the device will allow me to get work done which will pay for itself.

ModernMech said
However, the Surface Pro is a professional device targeted toward businesses, and it comes with a professional-grade price tag. I see people constantly balking at the price claiming it is too high, but for $899 there is no other comparable system on the market. And no, before you show me a laptop for less but does not have a digitizer and touch screen it is NOT comparable.
Agreed. I hate it when people compare it to laptops.

ModernMech said,
"Pro"

'Pro' can also means "Problem"

dtourond said,
Agreed. I hate it when people compare it to laptops.

but you know, it was Ballmer who keep insisting:
Tablet = PC, PC = Tablet

as Laptops also somekind of PC,
its obvious with Ballmer way of reasoning,
people will compare it to laptops.

Edited by Torolol, Jan 23 2013, 3:56am :

i have used my surface RT for almost a month now, and i dont regret anything, its so useful and i think for normal universitary use its perfect, i guess the Surface pro is more for a corporate enviroment.

Since Windows RT has quite a full office suite as it is I don't think that should be the focus of Surface Pro adverts. They should demo powerful 3rd party programs like Photoshop.

thealexweb said,
Since Windows RT has quite a full office suite as it is I don't think that should be the focus of Surface Pro adverts. They should demo powerful 3rd party programs like Photoshop.

They do in the 2nd video

Sas Center said
So we call them "Surface with Windows RT" and "Surface Windows 8 Pro"? Easy to remember for Average Joe, I guess. /s
Yeah, I would of left it at "Surface with Windows 8 Pro".

In what rock do you live in? Ever heard of cars like Toyota Prius lines, like Iphone 3g, 4, 4s? Heard of Software names like standard and Pro? what makes you think people don't understand?

Nas said,
Surface RT
Surface Pro (aka Surface Windows 8 Pro)

Pretty simple distinctions.

Yeah, well that sounds nice and simple. But "Surface Windows 8 Pro"?

Don't get your arms up, I love the Surface. I'm just talking from past experience.. Most people can't even get the difference between RT, Windows 8, Pro, Metro, Windows 8 Phone (!), etc. But I really hope I'm wrong.

Sas Center said
Yeah, well that sounds nice and simple. But "Surface Windows 8 Pro"?
I agree, that name sounds like it's missing something in the name.

Sas Center said
Most people can't even get the difference between RT, Windows 8, Pro, Metro, Windows 8 Phone (!), etc. But I really hope I'm wrong.
You're definitely right about that.

I personally think that Microsoft should of scrapped the Desktop in Windows RT and focus 100% on the apps and the Modern UI instead of dragging the Desktop UI into an OS that can't even run traditional Desktop programs. That part I can see people getting confused about because they see the desktop as the place where they run their programs.