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back to article Slash A THIRD off Surface RT price or it's toast, Microsoft told

Microsoft needs to hack a third off Surface RT prices and widen distribution to give the fondleslab a fighting chance to compete, said equities analyst Detwiler Fenton Group (DFG). The ARM-powered device isn't winning many friends apart from the software giant's rank and file. Only last week the firm was reported to have halved …

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FAIL

Said it before and I'll say it again

People don't want a tablet, they want an iPad. Unless it's a cheap tablet.

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Re: Said it before and I'll say it again

but people generally discover they don't really want an iPad either after the newness and marketing spiel wares off.

Personally, I think if tablets survive in the future, it will be the cheap tablets that lead the way. The keyboard and mouse works for a reason.

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Re: Said it before and I'll say it again

Actually, if you don't own a laptop, or you use your laptop as a desktop that can be folded away, then the tablet works well as a portable computer.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Said it before and I'll say it again

Nexus 10 sales say hi...

Android now has 45% of the market (or closer I suspect to 55% if you count non-Google devices like the KIndle Fire and chinese knockoffs)..

Just like smartphone OS is a two horse race, so now is the tablet... iOS or Android, that's all you need to develop for, and that's all consumers want.

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Re: Said it before and I'll say it again

I use my transformer pad infinity quite regularly. But that's mostly because of how useful the touchscreen is for certain apps, and I can develop straight onto the netbook... yes I conisder it a netbook.

I've got my main PC for games, my laptop for playing with linux, and my netbook for portability.

Now if I could just find a good remote connection software for android... Teamviewer doesn't let me use the transformers keyboard / mouse, and splashtop doesn't let me use it outside my own wireless network without paying up....

any suggestions? :P

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Windows

Re: Said it before and I'll say it again

any suggestions?

Maybe pay for the full version of the software you mentioned?

I've never used either of the apps you mention, and I don't know how much the full version(s?) costs, but surely if it's that useful to you it's worth paying for? If you can afford the transformer prime, I'm sure you can afford another $20-$40 (or whatever it costs) for software that you know you want... (but seems to be too cheap to pay for).

OK I don't mean that last comment to sound nasty, but seriously, if you're an Android fan and you want it to succeed, you could at least support the developers of the platform by buying the app. I know it's easy to have the mindset of wanting all your software to be free, especially if you've got a background in Linux or one other other free "Unices", but from what I've seen most of the Android software is pretty reasonably priced.

If you're still dead set against paying for something, you can always write it yourself. I think you'll find it'll cost a lot more than just paying for an app that someone's already developed, though.

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Re: Said it before and I'll say it again

You got voted down, and I don't know why. I don't like Apple's business practices much, and own no Apple products myself, but I would basically agree.

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Re: Said it before and I'll say it again

Funny, i'd say it's more like people would like to try and play with a device before blowing $599 on it. If it were at best buy and I could walk up and play with one, I might be more interested in trying it.

If I wanted a tablet with a keyboard, I'd buy an Asus Transformer (which is cheaper and has a proven record). I wouldn't waste my time on Microsoft's unproven device even if it can run Office.

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Re: Said it before and I'll say it again

VNC server + Cloud Viewer (fancy name for a VNC client) work great on my transformer. Keyboard AND mouse supported quite nicely by Cloud Viewer.

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Re: Said it before and I'll say it again

I bought a Nexus 7. Now I'm selling a Nexus 7. I gave it a good try. After a month of this thing, I'm stunned anyone thinks its a serious alternative.

The inlaws are snagging me an iPad. "hey beat free" and maybe it will be actually useful.

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Re: Said it before and I'll say it again

He got voted down because all you have to do is say you like ANYTHING Apple does and the Fandroids vote you down. They are no better, than the "iSheep" and generally meaner.

But its true. a lot people don't want a tablet, they want an iPad. It's a phenomena that comes with a very successful product. When the original VW Beetle was big in the US there were people saying "I don't want an import car I want a VW" its what happens when people identify a type of product with a brand name, and not with a classification.

I have to constantly explain my my Nexus 7 isn't an iPad. Since to a lot of non-tech people tablet=iPad.

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Re: Said it before and I'll say it again

But 80% of those are low end Android2.3 used as web browsers so the kids don't take your laptop.

Android tablets have really taken netbook customers

For 'real' work a tablet with a keyboard replaces a laptop and Windows8 is quite nice on a surface - bloody terrible on a desktop - but very nice on a surface

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Re: Said it before and I'll say it again

Actually quite a lot of us want a device which is a tablet and a laptop style device.

Surface Pro is a good option (cause it runs the real stuff I do my real work on) - RT could work but price point is wrong, and then there are devices like the Lenovo Ideapad Yoga, which is where my money is going, just as soon as they let me buy it.

I don't want an iPad, and I know plenty more who don't, but we do want something different to a laptop and better than a tablet where tablet is defined as an "ipad".

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Re: Said it before and I'll say it again

Wow...that's a lot of downvoting for a simple fact: it's been proven, time and time again, that if you go head-to-head with Apple and the iPad on price you will fail. Cut the price and look what happens. And it really doesn't matter if you come up with a killer alternative.

I agree with dotslash (and here come the downvotes again I guess) - most people buy a tablet and give up on it within a fairly short term.

My kids love mind though - they read, play games, browse the web, watch Doctor Who etc but personally after I was bought a Kindle, it stopped being used by me for anything much.

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Re: Said it before and I'll say it again

"after I was bought a Kindle,"

I think that's why I've not bought a tablet yet. I keep wanting one, then I stop and wonder just what I would use it for.

  • 1. Super duper powerful Desktop PC*. Check.
  • 2. A "good enough" laptop. Check.
  • 3. Asus Netbook. Check.
  • 4. Kindle ebook reader. Check.

Tablet? Can't justify one yet.

*Actually using three + a server, but hey, doesn't everyone?

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Happy

Re: Now I'm selling a Nexus 7

Depends on what you use it for, Dana. Mine is a for email, web browsing & watching films. Oh, I have a DooM port which runs beautifully with an XBox 360 controller. I bought a leather case for £20 that doubles as a stand so I often sit on the sofa with feet up, Nexus balanced on lap, watching random HD content streamed wirelessly from my server. The N7 WiFi coupled with DicePlayer handles most HD content nicely, regardless of format.

During the day I take it onsite, as there's an ace app I bought that handles invoicing, billing, stock levels and cloud printing for me. Works a treat with google's contact list, which in turn syncs automatically and wirelessly with Outlook 2010 on my desktop PC. Basically as soon as it gets in range of the house WiFi, it syncs all email, contacts, appointments and Chrome bookmarks. I actually don't know how I ever managed my customers without it.

Of course, the same goes for any decent tablet. But the N7 is a *very* decent tablet! I'm not sure what you found so bad about it; perhaps the apps you wanted to use are iOS only? Or is it the size? Tilted horizontally it's actually clearer than an iPad Mini. But you didn't say precisely what it failed at, so I can only hazard a guess...

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Pirate

Re: Said it before and I'll say it again

"If I wanted a tablet with a keyboard, I'd buy an Asus Transformer (which is cheaper and has a proven record)"

Frankly to say they're not even in the same league is a massive understatement. Even the iPads aren't really. Totally agree with the sentiment that they need to be cheaper to penetrate though, no clue what's going on at Microsoft but it isn't happy times in the management department.

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Re: Now I'm selling a Nexus 7

"Mine is a for email, web browsing & watching films." That is exactly what I do with it as well

"Disclaimer, I am getting a FREE iPad mini" I'd never buy one for that price.

The Nexus 7 is not bad, its just not that great. I'm not saying its a bad device, I was at Microcenter today and I talked a guy INTO buying one.

I'm annoyed at how its gotten since 4.2. A lot of games, pretty basic ones in fact just stop and become unresponsive for up to 30 seconds at a time. I've got four book reader apps, most of them are terrible, and I really don't like Chrome, yet Since 4.2 Firefox just repeatedly crashes.

Despite winning the pixel war, the screen has weaker color, and poorer contrast. The speakers are just awful, and I have to run a volume booster to even hear it half the time. I'm not as fond if its shape as well.

I also find it difficult to type on. I'm on the fence about selling it, I may just keep it too. If I wasn't getting an iPad mini given to me I'd stay with it. Despite having three Macs and an iPhone 4s I'm really not invested too much in apps. But in the end I really had no gripes with iOS and I'd like the battery life.

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Mushroom

Re: Said it before and I'll say it again

They already did cut the price to some channels. They are going for £430 new on eBay instead of £560 (64GB + keyboard). Certainly that route will likely provide better customer service than the Microsoft Store - which is truely awful.

And you cant really compare this to the iPad which is a very limited toy. The Surface RT has a whole load more functionality. For instance you can have an app onpen on the tablet, and a different app open on an external monitor. It has a proper version of Office. It has proper USB support, etc, etc. Not to mention a higher contrast, brighter screen, and high quality case materials.

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Happy

Re: Said it before and I'll say it again

If you write for the Window 8 tablet, you're also writing for the Window 8 desktop. Guess which market is set to become bigger than iPad and Android combined?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Said it before and I'll say it again

What sort of degenerate lowlife becomes a fan of a company? Normal well adjusted people shouldn't care one way or the other for anything other than the best for the price point. Being a 'FAN' suggests that you're happy to take second best because your inane loyalty trumps all else.

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Re: I'm annoyed at how its gotten since 4.2

Yeah, 4.2 busted some stuff, including apps that I use. The authors, to their credit, have by-and-large patched the problems. To be fair this is an Android-wide issue, and the benefits of 4.2 (and 4.1 of course!) are imo worth the few problems. I hate the default Android keyboard so forked up for Swiftkey just for the cleaner look. It's *very* responsive. I really haven't seen any of the touchscreen lag reported elsewhere, though I'm not saying it doesn't exist.

Funnily I'm thinking of getting a mini too. I like it, plus there are some iApps I like that aren't on Play. And I have to be able to offer tech support on iOS, so that's a motivator - having an iPhone isn't enough.

TBH I'd possibly want to persevere with the N7, but then it's a large chunk of wedge if you're not 100% delighted with it. Incidentally, the downvote(s) on my prev. comment were interesting, seeing as I was careful *not* to slag any given platform / device, aside from pointing out that the N7 screen *is* better than the Mini's - simple fact, pretty universally acknowledged, no biggie.

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Happy

Re: Now I'm selling a Nexus 7

Fair point about the contrast btw, but the clarity (to me) overall is still better due to the higher pixel density. Speaker - not wonderful, but I'm a headphone type so not an issue for real content enjoyment.

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Re: Said it before and I'll say it again

Jump. Perfect for all your right clicking needs.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Said it before and I'll say it again

'Nexus 10 sales say hi...'

Those would be the Nexus sales that Google won't actually tell anybody about right? Now, I don't know, the Nexus 10 may have sold lots, or it may not. The bare fact is nobody outside Google knows either. So it's not really a great example to use in the 'Android tablets outselling iPad' argument. Because we have no way of knowing if it's actually making a big contribution to that or not.

(Note : I'm making no judgement as to the relative quality of either device. Just that using an unavailable metric to back up an argument is, well, stupid).

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kb
Windows

Re: Said it before and I'll say it again

Actually as a retailer I haven't seen the tablets take much away from the netbooks either, in fact its the OEMs taking AMD's netbook chips and slapping them in 15 inch laptops that is hurting the netbook sales because they are becoming harder to find, at least here in the states.

No what I'm seeing with the tablets is TWO uses, and two uses alone. 1.- Giving them to the kids as a low cost net consumption device that keep the kiddies off mommy or daddy's PCs, and 2.- A "look stuff up from the couch" device so mommy or daddy can find out who that actor is while the commercial is on or do a quick check of their email.

But I haven't met a single customer that is giving up their desktop or laptop for a tablet, keyboard attachment or no. Any retailer will tell you the reason X86 sales are down is because the core wars has caused machines for the past several years to be MASSIVELY overpowered compared to the work the people have for them, hell the netbooks I'm selling are all dual cores with plenty of RAM and HDD space, and the low end desktops I've been selling for nearly 5 years are all triple cores with tons of space and the ability to do 1080p...so what do they need a new one for, when they have the equivalent of a jet fuel burning funny car just to go to the store?

So I predict tablets will continue to race to the bottom so that by this time next year we'll have dual core 7 inchers for $50 USD and then a year after that sales will drop just as they have for X86 because everybody that wants one will have one. And I predict win 8 in ALL flavors will flop, I'm not even gonna carry it because of all the hate and backlash I've seen from customers, they just don't like metro and that is that.

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Re: I'm annoyed at how its gotten since 4.2

You are onto something, Maybe I'll keep both.

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Terminator

Re: Said it before and I'll say it again @TonyJ

Let me fix your original post for you.

People don't want a tablet, they *THINK* they need an iPad.

This is now a small(ish) snowball where people talk about the tablets they have and when more and more realise that they can have the functionality of an iPad for half the price (sometimes more than 1/2) that snowball will get bigger and bigger and very rapidly.

My guess is that Apple will have less than 30% tablet share by June 2014

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jai
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Waiting for the pro

Not me, but the people I talk to who like M$ things, they've tried out Surface, kinda liked it, but are waiting for the Pro to see if it can handle all the apps they currently run on their laptops.

I'm not totally sure that was what Microsoft were hoping for when they launched Surface. Just got to hope that poor RT sales doesn't cause them to shelve, or delay further, the Pro.

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Re: Waiting for the pro

No need to wait, Dell have the Latitude 10 out now which is basically the same thing but with better accessories (nice docking station for a start).

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Re: Waiting for the pro

Pro looks to have the same problem as the RT only more so - $1,000+ USD for the 64GB with the detachable keyboard? Were it not for that price point I'd be seriously considering it but unless I can get the boss to pony up, it just ain't gonna happen.

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Meh

Re: Waiting for the pro

"Not me, but the people I talk to who like M$ things, they've tried out Surface, kinda liked it, but are waiting for the Pro to see if it can handle all the apps they currently run on their laptops.I'm not totally sure that was what Microsoft were hoping for when they launched Surface. Just got to hope that poor RT sales doesn't cause them to shelve, or delay further, the Pro."

Strange that no-one buying an iPad is concerned that it won't run their Mac software though. Perhaps Microsoft figured that the same customers would make the same logic but seemingly not.

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Go

come on, pull the other one...

"Channel partners have been "clamouring" to get hold of a Surface device, James Akrigg, Microsoft's head of technology for partners, told us."

Rubbish, no one wants it...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: come on, pull the other one...

Yes but he can hardly say "Its a pile of crap that no-one wants" ... well not if he wants to stay working for the company.

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"Channel partners have been "clamouring" to get hold of a Surface device

It's true, he just left out the part about "that they can sell for $299"

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Joke

Market Research

Before slashing a third of off it's price they might want to revise their Market Research documentation. They might actually find that not many people were ever really interested. ( Techies don't count as they are only a minority).

Even cutting the price would be meaningless when the "majority" don't even understand what your product is/does and why it would be better purchase than a similiar Apple Product. You don't get brownie points for owning MS Products and the public knows this....

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Anonymous Coward

No body wants it now, why would then with a 3rd off/

Given that a 64gb rimjob playbook can be had for £199, the market for "other" tablets is limited.

Googles got the low end sewn up with the Nexus 7. Apple and Samsung the higher end.

The old adage if you're releasing into a crowded market, it better be twice as good, or half the price applies.

Surface isn't either...

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Linux

Re: No body wants it now, why would then with a 3rd off/

True. Most people who want a tablet have one already - they are expensive for what they are and what you end up using them for. An MS operating system is not a USP.

Just like the PC, I suspect tablet sales are about to flatten. The low end will go for a bit longer but when increased screen resolution is a major feature you know the innovation has slowed. MS' best bet it to do what they've done for a long time: bundle. Bundle the RT license with OEM windows and get the OEMs to do x86 laptops with RT detachable screens. It's a lot slower but probably more successful in the long run than selling them stand-alone.

For MS, this is about locking out Android rather than being a money-spinner in itself. MS doesn't want any sort of Linux host in your hands or on the desktop even if it isn't currently competing with MS products. IOS isn't a threat in itself to MS, but it does bring heterogeneous computing to the fore, which is a problem for them.

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Re: No body wants it now, why would then with a 3rd off/

> Most people who want a tablet have one already

Not in this reality, wherein sales of tablets are accelerating and will continue to do so for some time, according to any projections you might find.

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Mushroom

Re: No body wants it now, why would then with a 3rd off/

I got my 64GB Playbook for £119 from Currys. However, it's a 7 Inch tablet with a pretty crappy OS. Does great duty for the kids to watch films, but its not quite in the same ballpark as the Surface.

Personally i think that if Microsoft cut the price by £100 they would probably double sales. As it stands, it seems expensive for what it is. Which makes the new iPad a real rip off...

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Facepalm

Re: No body wants it now, why would then with a 3rd off/

No one wants a Playbook for the simple reasons:

1) For 90% of the public who want a tablet, It's not an iPad

2) It's got rubbish app support (and more expensive than their iOS or Android counterparts in my experience)

3) It doesn't have one of the 'funky' names from Google that people recognise like "Ice Cream Sandwich"

Even at the £129 price point (which that 64GB version seems to be at today in Pissy World) it's 28/30 in popularity of the non-Apple devices.

There will be a market for Surface. If nothing else the Office users will make sure of that.

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Anonymous Coward

Nobody wants it now, why would they with a 3rd off? It's still too much...

Given that a 64gb rimjob playbook can be had for £199, the market for "other" tablets is limited.

Googles got the low end sewn up with the Nexus 7. Apple and Samsung the higher end.

The old adage if you're releasing into a crowded market, it better be twice as good, or half the price applies.

Surface isn't either...

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Anonymous Coward

Surface is...

the new Zune (in brown)

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Thumb Down

Low end?

"Googles got the low end sewn up with the Nexus 7. Apple and Samsung the higher end."

Something sporting a Tegra 3 and running JB4.2 ain't "low end".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Low end?

Who was talking about specifications? The conversation is about price. Google has the "low end" of the tablet price range.

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Mushroom

Re: Low end?

Maybe so, but a poxy 7" screen is.

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Re: Low end?

a 1280x800 IPS screen is not poxy. The size, in your opinion, and in my opinion, 7" is too small - but that does not make it poxy

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FAIL

Re: Low end?

Low end is <£100 Chinese jobbies, not the Nexus 7.

The cheapo tablets are generally compromised in some way today, but they have their place and in time will become competent and valid choices. But to me the Nexus 7, helped by the Kindle Fire, has defined the sweet spot for tablet pricing.

It's certainly shaken the market up a bit, a market which had been labouring under the misapprehension that it could release mediocre 7" devices for about 60-70% of the price of an iPad.

Surface needs to be in this price range or it will die an embarrassing death. When I can by a 32GB Nexus 7 and a Samsung Chromebook for the price of a single entry-level Surface you know there's something wrong in Redmond.

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Thumb Down

Re: Low end?

"The cheapo tablets are generally compromised in some way..."

Usually, in my experience, that way is basic function -- as in "they don't work". But what did you expect from Chinese white box tablets for under $100?

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Re: Low end?

7" screen means I can put it in a pocket. 10" would be too big for me....

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