More Surface info tidbits from Reddit AMA event

Microsoft held a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) event today where members of the Surface team, including its leader Panos Panay and Microsoft hardware head Julie Larson-Green. We have already reported that the AMA event revealed that a 4G LTE version of the Surface is due out in early 2014, but there are some other tidbits of information about the new tablets that were revealed as well.

Here are just some of the messages posted by Microsoft team members during the Surface Reddit AMA:

  • In terms of trading in older Surface tablets for credit against buying the new versions, Microsoft stated,"... we'll definitely discuss options w/ the MS Store team. we really don't have anything lined up right now though."
  • There were many people who didn't care for how the power connector was designed in the first generation Surface. Microsoft stated in the AMA that has changes for the second generation products, saying " ... We spent a lot of time redesigning the profile of the connector, the part that you hold with your fingers. We designed it so it is much easier to position and insert it. We also redesigned the LED on the connector such that you can see its indicator from every angle."
  • Microsoft indicated that the first generation Touch Covers will remain on the market for $79.
  • When asked why Microsoft was "ignoring" Intel's Atom processor for Surface tablets, Microsoft stated, "We don't ignore. Intel is a great partner to us, and we continue to look at all roadmap options to bring you the best products possible. We are excited about the current products, and we think they meet the needs they were designed for. We will continue to evaluate options for the future.
  • Microsoft dodged questions about whether or not it will release a smaller "Surface mini" tablet, saying only they are only talking about the products that were announced today.
  • The markets that will get the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 on October 22 are  Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. China will get the tablets in early November.

Source: Reddit | Image via Microsoft

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If there is a significant store credit available if we return the surface pro, then it may tempt me.

But the biggest issues with the Surface 2, is it has a HD4400 (not HD5000 via the Reddit AMA) 15w GPU, and the 128gb version only carries 4gb of memory. The HD4400 is barely different from the HD4000 which the Surface Pro currently carries. Take away those two things, and you only have better battery life and a slightly faster processor.

We as Surface Pro owners can just buy the Power Cover for additional battery life. There's no real point in upgrading imho.

well i bought mine at best buy and bought the service plan, they dont repair the surface they just exchange it, instead i plan to take store credit and preorder the 2

RT isn't here at this time for any other purpose than distracting the chip designers/suppliers to slow down or prevent the possibility of Android-exclusive hardware scene.

It's a brilliant move, sort of. Evil, but genius.

Getting Surface Pro2 when it comes out. My only wish was if they would have made it little lighter not too much but ~50-75 grams would have been a nice improvement along with a little slim design.

wrack said,
Getting Surface Pro2 when it comes out. My only wish was if they would have made it little lighter not too much but ~50-75 grams would have been a nice improvement along with a little slim design.

Yeah I was hoping for some trim off the thickness and weight but it looks like they used the benefits from haswell to put in more battery instead. Although to their credit most people were complaining about battery not weight or thickness so can't blame them for addressing the biggest issues first.

Honestly the problem i see is that between the surface and surface pro, there is a wide gap in each of their productivity levels. If they can get the right chip into the RT that will allow it to run desktop applications, then i dont really see a problem. But because they are making such a difference, it remains a confusing buy - especially because they are now removing the "RT" branding even as the gap remains..

Its not only an upgrade in performance to the Pro, but an entirely new OS (you get what i mean).

auziez said,
Honestly the problem i see is that between the surface and surface pro, there is a wide gap in each of their productivity levels. If they can get the right chip into the RT that will allow it to run desktop applications, then i dont really see a problem. But because they are making such a difference, it remains a confusing buy - especially because they are now removing the "RT" branding even as the gap remains..

Its not only an upgrade in performance to the Pro, but an entirely new OS (you get what i mean).

Again, the RT/ARM tablet is not meant to run desktop apps. Microsoft wants those with desktop needs to be using Windows 8/8.1 Pro.

Dot Matrix said,

Again, the RT/ARM tablet is not meant to run desktop apps. Microsoft wants those with desktop needs to be using Windows 8/8.1 Pro.


Which is why Windows 8.1 RT should be called Windows 8.1 Core, because it is the "core" (to the consumer) of windows 8.

(I know it really isn't the "Core" of Windows 8 to the developer)

Yeah but there's alot of people who need more than what RT provides but don't really need all the power of a Pro. I'd pick up an Atom Surface 2 in a heartbeat because I have just one program I need to run to remote to work.

Even barring that, the lack of apps in the Windows store means you have to hit websites but then you run into issues because you can't install plugins.

icwhatudidthere said,
Yeah but there's alot of people who need more than what RT provides but don't really need all the power of a Pro. I'd pick up an Atom Surface 2 in a heartbeat because I have just one program I need to run to remote to work.


Microsoft should open RT to run apps not from the Windows Store (but Modern UI, and approved) as well as those who want to run unapproved apps, have a option to purchase a key that will unlock the device to. Plus the ability to sign a release that will allow the device to run desktop apps.

icwhatudidthere said,
Yeah but there's alot of people who need more than what RT provides but don't really need all the power of a Pro. I'd pick up an Atom Surface 2 in a heartbeat because I have just one program I need to run to remote to work.

Even barring that, the lack of apps in the Windows store means you have to hit websites but then you run into issues because you can't install plugins.

They've left gaps so that the OEMs can fill them. Why do you think they're not doing the Surface Mini yet? It's exactly because we're going to see a number of new Windows 8.1 mini tablets this holiday, for under the price of the Surface 2 etc. They also have bigger tablets that are ATOM (bay trail) that fit the gap between the Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro from $599 to $799 and so on.

MS has to leave things for their OEMs to do, keep them happy.

ians18 said,

Microsoft should open RT to run apps not from the Windows Store (but Modern UI, and approved) as well as those who want to run unapproved apps, have a option to purchase a key that will unlock the device to. Plus the ability to sign a release that will allow the device to run desktop apps.

Microsoft has an idea of how they want their ideal tablet to operate. Running desktop apps and unapproved applications invites security issues. If you want to run those programs thats what the Surface Pro is for with all of it's security measures in tow.

They want a 100% clean user experience on at least one of their tablets. Much like the iPad, RT gives them control over the OS and how it will run on ALL devices it runs on, it's not as complicated as you all are making it.

I'm amazed that on release day, it will be available in so many countries.. Either Microsoft have learnt something, or they know it's not going to sell well enough to be limited to the US.

watchthisspace said,
I'm amazed that on release day, it will be available in so many countries.. Either Microsoft have learnt something, or they know it's not going to sell well enough to be limited to the US.

Well they obviously learned taking pre orders up to a month in advance minus two days.

Im glad pre orders start tomorrow. They cant say 'they didnt see the demand coming"

mrp04 said,
eBay or Craigslist

Nah. I don't do that online selling stuff. Too much nonsense with that anymore. I'm fine with my Surface RT, but should Microsoft offer some sort of incentive for credit, I'll be all over it.

The only way I'm upgrading is if I can credit my current Surface RT to a new one. I'm not one that needs to continually upgrade every year unless the price is low enough, which will only happen with credit. And if they allow it, I hope it's not US centric.

ZipZapRap said,
The only way I'm upgrading is if I can credit my current Surface RT to a new one. I'm not one that needs to continually upgrade every year unless the price is low enough, which will only happen with credit. And if they allow it, I hope it's not US centric.

Sadly, I believe Microsoft's best offerings in terms of services are still US centric. I don't know if its a logistical, political, or legal holdup, but it stinks

I think they're using ARM to keep the lower priced tablet for consumption. A business might buy an Atom based tablet for actual work. This way RT doesn't undercut Pro, and their partners can sell Atoms without directly competing with Microsoft.

Granted, I don't know how well the new Atoms are for actual work and such, or how the new Tegra will perform. The "slowest" computer I have is my A4 laptop (HP Pavilion G6), and it works quite nicely. If either competes with that? I'd be happy

Chikairo said,
I think they're using ARM to keep the lower priced tablet for consumption. A business might buy an Atom based tablet for actual work. This way RT doesn't undercut Pro, and their partners can sell Atoms without directly competing with Microsoft.

Granted, I don't know how well the new Atoms are for actual work and such, or how the new Tegra will perform. The "slowest" computer I have is my A4 laptop (HP Pavilion G6), and it works quite nicely. If either competes with that? I'd be happy

If I had to guess they'll release an atom powered surface in generations to come once they've finally got some traction. Frankly, the RT version is an amazing tablet, if the app catalog catches up the Surface 2's ports, etc. will make it a damn good buy, even though with 200gb of skydrive for 2 years and skype the value is definitely there right now.

When asked why Microsoft was "ignoring" Intel's Atom processor for Surface tablets, Microsoft stated, "We don't ignore. Intel is a great partner to us, and we continue to look at all roadmap options to bring you the best products possible. We are excited about the current products, and we think they meet the needs they were designed for. We will continue to evaluate options for the future.

Seems like they have RT for lower power, lighter, longer endurance roles, and the i5 for higher performance with respective trade-offs. Now that the Haswell-specced models can have ~17 hour lifetimes with the power cover, I'm not sure what an Atom powered model would offer. If you work for more than 17 hours straight, buy a Pro for yourself and get your employer to buy a second for when the first runs dead.

looking at the new Atom chips they actually look like good chips (unlike the previous generations). It might have been wiser for MS to drop the RT version in favor of an Atom version at the same price point

Relativity_17 said,
I'm not sure what an Atom powered model would offer.

Intel's new Bay Trail Atom CPUs would let Microsoft build a tablet in the form factor and price bracket of the Surface 2 while having full x86 compatibility.

Bay Trail offers better performance than the Tegra 4 in Surface 2, and the same or less power consumption. If anything, a Intel Bay Trail Surface would last atleast as long on battery, while being able to fit in exactly the same form factor and run all x86 programs.

For me a Bay Trail Surface 2 with LTE would have been the ultimate device.

Relativity_17 said,

Seems like they have RT for lower power, lighter, longer endurance roles, and the i5 for higher performance with respective trade-offs. Now that the Haswell-specced models can have ~17 hour lifetimes with the power cover, I'm not sure what an Atom powered model would offer. If you work for more than 17 hours straight, buy a Pro for yourself and get your employer to buy a second for when the first runs dead.

ATOM would offer the ability to use the desktop at the same price point and battery life as ARM. There are literally no more downsides to using x86 vs ARM on a tablet. There used to be a LOT when Windows on ARM was first envisioned, but Intel stepped up its game BIG TIME.

Rudy said,
looking at the new Atom chips they actually look like good chips (unlike the previous generations). It might have been wiser for MS to drop the RT version in favor of an Atom version at the same price point

Maybe next year? Although there are mutterings that Windows RT and Windows Phone will merge or something like that...

Microsoft has to push both versions of Windows. If they didn't have a RT version what would that say to the other OEM's? "We as Microsoft don't care about RT, but you should." You see even if there are better viable options for processors, Microsoft has to offer options for both versions of windows, otherwise OEM's would start dropping RT from their catalogs.

NoClipMode said,
Bay Trail offers better performance than the Tegra 4 in Surface 2, and the same or less power consumption. If anything, a Intel Bay Trail Surface would last atleast as long on battery, while being able to fit in exactly the same form factor and run all x86 programs.

For me a Bay Trail Surface 2 with LTE would have been the ultimate device.

They're not doing bay trail surface 2 because, and this should be obvious to everyone, they left that to their OEM partners to do. They don't want to step on any OEMs toes so they're leaving gaps in the Surface lineup so that the OEMs can do it. Also why they're not aggressively pricing these things when they can, again, to keep the OEMs happy and let them price lower. In the end MS has to walk a tight rope here and it shows. Windows RT is also not going anywhere, it's key to their future and it will be what ends up running on 4" phones up to 8 and maybe still 10" tablets. It has to stay on the market, without desktop app support to keep the Windows Store growing.

GP007 said,

They're not doing bay trail surface 2 because, and this should be obvious to everyone, they left that to their OEM partners to do. They don't want to step on any OEMs toes so they're leaving gaps in the Surface lineup so that the OEMs can do it. Also why they're not aggressively pricing these things when they can, again, to keep the OEMs happy and let them price lower. In the end MS has to walk a tight rope here and it shows. Windows RT is also not going anywhere, it's key to their future and it will be what ends up running on 4" phones up to 8 and maybe still 10" tablets. It has to stay on the market, without desktop app support to keep the Windows Store growing.

I don't think youre 100% right with that assesment.
- They want a more secure device not steeped in normal Windows security concerns.
- They don't want RT undercutting the Pro model either.
- RT makes the Surface more accessible to more people than the Pro (yet the RT at $450 remains a tough sell).

- And RT is in no way the reason the Windows Store has expanded so quickly. It's the fact that the Windows Store runs on all versions of Windows 8 running on PCs, tablets and desktops thus giving the appearance of a large user base. This pulls in developers.

Rudy said,
looking at the new Atom chips they actually look like good chips (unlike the previous generations). It might have been wiser for MS to drop the RT version in favor of an Atom version at the same price point

Keep in mind that the Surface products are reference designs. Microsoft is still selling Windows RT to OEMs, thus this is their reference design for a Windows RT-based tablet.