03-20-2014 12:56 PM
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  1. bilzkh's Avatar
    So I tried selling a bunch of people on the Surface Pro. If you didn't know already, Microsoft is having an incredible sale on the original 128GB model. Anyways, being the good person that I am, I gave a heads up to a few people about the deal.

    Turns out, those who saw me or someone else use a Surface Pro at work or school were immediately sold. However, those who didn't have that exposure weren't sold, at all! One person said, "if I wanted a tablet, I'd get an Android."

    Okay, I get people have their preferences when it comes to ecosystems, but we're talking about the *Surface Pro* here. This isn't just a tablet, it's a PC loaded with a Core i5 CPU, 4GB of RAM, 128GB SSD storage *and* Wacom's active digitizer technology. Any human being with real life exposure to this thing would jump on this deal.

    However, word of mouth and real life exposure isn't on the Surface Pro's side (yet), Microsoft needs to deliver on the key messaging, i.e. "What is a Surface Pro?" So I wrote a piece on my blog outlining a possible strategy (link below). The TLDR part of it is this: Microsoft should define a new product category, it shouldn't market the Surface Pro as a tablet or PC, but rather, as a "slate" (or something else).

    Defining a new category gives Microsoft the room to define new expectations for consumers, it doesn't need to deal with pre-existing notions of what a tablet or PC is....Yes, even the PC part is problematic.

    When I first brought in the Surface Pro to work, people thought I was nuts, they didn't know this was a full Windows computer! People have expectations of what a PC is, i.e. a conventional clamshell laptop.Microsoft can use the term "slate" to define it as "a device with the power of your PC in the form-factor of your tablet."

    By calling it a 'slate' (or X or Y), Microsoft can avoid having to explain the Surface Pro in the context of a normal tablet or PC. Consumers want simple and concise messaging, having to explain to someone that a Surface Pro is a tablet but it isn't (in contrast to Android or iOS) is just a pain, and it will fail 99% of the time. However, if one can say, "no, the Surface Pro isn't a tablet, it's a slate, which is basically a full PC with the mobility and portability of a tablet."

    It's a risky move, but it may prove to be easier than the current effort. Moreover, by defining a new product category, Microsoft will be giving more room to the OEMs. The OEMs can be given the choice of developing similarly spec'd and equipped slates (i.e. active digitizers), and in turn, Microsoft can advertise by telling people why slates are better for work than tablets, or why slates are great for students, etc.

    My full piece is here: https://risertech.wordpress.com/2014...a-surface-pro/
    sd173 likes this.
    03-11-2014 09:28 PM
  2. Jas00555's Avatar
    Don't they already call it a 2-in-1?
    03-11-2014 09:31 PM
  3. bilzkh's Avatar
    Don't they already call it a 2-in-1?
    Yeah I've heard that a few times, but the term 'tablet' is much more pervasive.
    03-11-2014 09:33 PM
  4. Laura Knotek's Avatar
    I think the main problem is that most consumers don't know the difference between the Surface RT and Surface Pro, due to Microsoft's lousy marketing strategy.
    sd173, Reflexx, N_LaRUE and 2 others like this.
    03-11-2014 09:36 PM
  5. bilzkh's Avatar
    I think the main problem is that most consumers don't know the difference between the Surface RT and Surface Pro, due to Microsoft's lousy marketing strategy.
    Possibly, but I'm talking about those who do understand this but don't have an appreciation for what the Surface Pro truly is... By defining a new product category Microsoft may have a chance to set expectations for what a "slate" ought to be, a PC in a tablet. Opening a new category and getting people to feel as though they need a slate may help in overcoming current tablet saturation. An iPad user may want a slate in order to have a committed machine for note taking and work applications.
    03-11-2014 09:44 PM
  6. sd173's Avatar
    Turns out, those who saw me or someone else use a Surface Pro at work or school were immediately sold. However, those who didn't have that exposure weren't sold, at all! One person said, "if I wanted a tablet, I'd get an Android."
    Any human being with real life exposure to this thing would jump on this deal.
    This same thing happens with me all the time. The problem with some people who see it being used and realize how good it is is that there will always be the trolls who won't swallow their pride and don't want to admit that the Surface Pro (1 & 2) could be useful to them or just that it's a good product.
    03-11-2014 09:56 PM
  7. tgp's Avatar
    We sell the Surface Pro at work. It doesn't fly off the shelves, but we move a few of them. Most buyers choose to purchase a touch cover, which moves it somewhat closer to a laptop. We are a PC retailer, so we don't stock any other tablet. In our store, the Surface Pro doesn't compete with any other tablet.

    I think the Surface Pro is in somewhat of an awkward situation. It's full Windows, but its form factor makes it more difficult to use as a full Windows machine. And because its full Windows, it's not as easy to use as a tablet, at least if you're going to use it for what most iPads & Android tablets are used for. And because it's Windows rather than iOS or Android, a lot of the common apps, such as games, are not available. The RT is easy to use, but it's not as capable as its Apple & Google counterparts.

    In short, I believe that either the Surface/Surface Pro need more evolution as a tablet, or consumers' mindset over what a tablet is to be used for needs to change.
    sd173 likes this.
    03-11-2014 09:57 PM
  8. Jan Tomsic's Avatar
    I see a nice simple way of selling it: install 'Titanfall' on it, hook it to Xbox controller for windows, and dare people to do that on their samsung tablet. They'll all buy it in a jiffy. :D
    03-12-2014 03:17 AM
  9. Reflexx's Avatar
    A slate isn't a new category though. A slate is pretty much what MS called Windows 7 tablets.
    03-12-2014 03:48 AM
  10. Jan Tomsic's Avatar
    A slate isn't a new category though. A slate is pretty much what MS called Windows 7 tablets.
    A slate is a terrible word. I'd never buy something called a 'slate'. It sounds stupid. A bit of dyslexia and you have 'stale'.
    Surface is a very fine word, it describes itself, it just needs more advertising. If people can keep up with 'iPad, iPad 2, the new iPad, iPad with retina display, iPad mini, iPad mini with retina display, iPad air', then 'Surface' and 'Surface pro' isn't too hard either. 'Surface lite' or something would be more appealing then RT though. But pro is pro, targeted audience knows what pro means.
    Better yet, just drop the ARM and RT and make Surface with intel atom and surface pro with core i5, both running x64 versions of Windows 8 (pro).
    03-12-2014 04:19 AM
  11. stmav's Avatar
    We sell the Surface Pro at work. It doesn't fly off the shelves, but we move a few of them. Most buyers choose to purchase a touch cover, which moves it somewhat closer to a laptop. We are a PC retailer, so we don't stock any other tablet. In our store, the Surface Pro doesn't compete with any other tablet.

    I think the Surface Pro is in somewhat of an awkward situation. It's full Windows, but its form factor makes it more difficult to use as a full Windows machine. And because its full Windows, it's not as easy to use as a tablet, at least if you're going to use it for what most iPads & Android tablets are used for. And because it's Windows rather than iOS or Android, a lot of the common apps, such as games, are not available. The RT is easy to use, but it's not as capable as its Apple & Google counterparts.

    In short, I believe that either the Surface/Surface Pro need more evolution as a tablet, or consumers' mindset over what a tablet is to be used for needs to change.
    I don't see where the form factor makes a bit of difference. You have the option to use it as a tablet or with a keyboard and mouse like a laptop. Whatever is more comfortable for you. If you have or had a desktop or laptop then being a full windows machine you are already familiar with the desktop so it should be just as easy. Perhaps even easier because you can just tap the screen to surf the net. Yes they don't have the apps, but do you really need to keep beating that dead horse, or is it just a go to move when discussing anything Windows. I have both the RT and Surface 2 and as an IT professional I use them for personal and business. They run circles around my daughter-in-laws Ipad. So much that she wants to get one. My wife was amazed that the RT could do everything she used a laptop for and has switched to it full time around the house. Seems very capable to me.
    N_LaRUE and Laura Knotek like this.
    03-12-2014 08:59 AM
  12. tgp's Avatar
    I don't see where the form factor makes a bit of difference. You have the option to use it as a tablet or with a keyboard and mouse like a laptop. Whatever is more comfortable for you. If you have or had a desktop or laptop then being a full windows machine you are already familiar with the desktop so it should be just as easy. Perhaps even easier because you can just tap the screen to surf the net. Yes they don't have the apps, but do you really need to keep beating that dead horse, or is it just a go to move when discussing anything Windows. I have both the RT and Surface 2 and as an IT professional I use them for personal and business. They run circles around my daughter-in-laws Ipad. So much that she wants to get one. My wife was amazed that the RT could do everything she used a laptop for and has switched to it full time around the house. Seems very capable to me.
    In your case the Surface Pro is probably the best fit. It does a good job at filling the roles of both PC & tablet, but at the same time it doesn't excel at either. When I mention the form factor as a minus, I'm talking about a combination of 10" screen and no built in mouse or keyboard. This makes it somewhat less friendly to use as a PC. Sure, it'll do it, but a regular laptop is better. My opinion is based more on the average consumer (like our customers) than my personal experience.

    Due to our preferences and personal needs, we'll all have different devices that work the best for us. For example, I bought my wife a Black Friday special Chromebook. I always wanted to try one out but I had my doubts. To my surprise, she now almost never touches her 17.3" laptop, or the desktop right beside it with a 22" LCD. Yes, they're 10x more capable, but the Chromebook does what she needs, and it's more convenient for her. But me, if the Chromebook is sitting there beside the PC, I'll still grab the PC.

    At the end of the day, there's nothing like the Surface Pro if you need a combo business machine and personal/consumption. Microsoft certainly has the edge there in the Surface Pro!
    03-12-2014 10:33 AM
  13. stmav's Avatar
    I have a RT and Surface 2, not the Pro. But seeing as how I can do everything with them, there is no doubt the Pro could handle it as well. I think the RT and 2 are vastly underestimated. And while they can't do everything that the Pro can, I think they are more than capable of personal and business use. I can take my Surface 2 or RT and go on vacation, do the relaxing bit and still VPN to the network, remote to the servers to check logs and tasks. I'd have to carry a laptop along with a apple or google tablet to achieve the same thing. Also, get a type cover and rock the kickstand back and it's not far off from a laptop. Easy to sit on a sofa and compose letter, write documents, etc. Again it's a matter of preference, but it's still better than being portrayed.
    tgp and Laura Knotek like this.
    03-12-2014 10:45 AM
  14. tgp's Avatar
    I have a RT and Surface 2, not the Pro.
    Ah yes, my mistake! For business, the Surface definitely has an advantage over the iPad or Android tablet. But how many tablets are used for business? At this point it's more consumer use. That is changing though...
    03-12-2014 11:05 AM
  15. stmav's Avatar
    Well, I think people were interested in the RT when it came out, but the price point put off a lot of people. In turn I believe that hurt the perception and adoption of it. But lately the refurbs have been going like hotcakes on ebay. I know one auction sold over 6000 at the $179 price. And a few other sold a bunch at $199 and a little over $200. It will be interesting to see if more of them out in the wild will change anything now that they are in people's hands and the early reviews show they like them. Or if it's too late or just another case of "it's Microsoft, meh".
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    03-12-2014 11:10 AM
  16. Alain_A's Avatar
    yes too pricy for a tablet.....I would go with the Dell window 8 cause of the removable battery..
    03-12-2014 11:32 AM
  17. tgp's Avatar
    Well, I think people were interested in the RT when it came out, but the price point put off a lot of people. In turn I believe that hurt the perception and adoption of it. But lately the refurbs have been going like hotcakes on ebay. I know one auction sold over 6000 at the $179 price. And a few other sold a bunch at $199 and a little over $200. It will be interesting to see if more of them out in the wild will change anything now that they are in people's hands and the early reviews show they like them. Or if it's too late or just another case of "it's Microsoft, meh".
    I agree that the price is a killer. That's why the refurbs sell so well. They're priced more like the new devices should be.
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    03-12-2014 11:57 AM
  18. radmanvr's Avatar
    I am pretty sure they call it Tabtop or Laplet
    03-12-2014 12:05 PM
  19. Reflexx's Avatar
    I thought they were called convertibles.
    03-14-2014 03:05 AM
  20. bilzkh's Avatar
    I agree that the price is a killer. That's why the refurbs sell so well. They're priced more like the new devices should be.
    Not sure how long Microsoft would sell Surface Pros for $499 (current sale price), but it needs a good $399-$499 solution. Wouldn't be a bad idea to offer a Surface model with Core i3 and active digitizer at that price point. Such a unit would be well worth its price, IMO.
    03-15-2014 02:17 AM
  21. squadz's Avatar
    Hybrid tablet!
    03-17-2014 05:43 PM
  22. muneshyne21's Avatar
    Haha! Saw this faux article in the Surface Pro Forums:

    If the Surface Pro had been built by Apple - Los Angeles Gadgets | Examiner.com

    Thought this belonged in here. Maybe we should just call it an Apple Surface Pro so they gush about it. When they are all convinced its awesome, tell them the truth.
    sd173 likes this.
    03-18-2014 02:25 PM
  23. anony_mouse's Avatar
    This same thing happens with me all the time. The problem with some people who see it being used and realize how good it is is that there will always be the trolls who won't swallow their pride and don't want to admit that the Surface Pro (1 & 2) could be useful to them or just that it's a good product.
    To be honest, the thing I like most about my tablet is that it is *not* a PC. It's fast, cheap, light, stable, has very good battery life and everything is designed for touch. I personally prefer to have both a 'proper' tablet and a 'proper' laptop. It's not just about the points I already mentioned, it's also the fact the I find the ideal size for a tablet different to the ideal size for a laptop.
    I'm sure there are people who find a PC/tablet useful, but dismissing those who don't as 'trolls' is blinkered, to say the least.
    03-19-2014 10:18 AM
  24. anony_mouse's Avatar
    I'd never buy something called a 'slate'.
    What if it was really good?

    Also, what if you were making a roof?
    03-19-2014 10:19 AM
  25. Markham Ranja's Avatar
    This same thing happens with me all the time. The problem with some people who see it being used and realize how good it is is that there will always be the trolls who won't swallow their pride and don't want to admit that the Surface Pro (1 & 2) could be useful to them or just that it's a good product.
    What rubbish. Different people use devices in different ways. The Surface Pro, with either Touch or Type covers, will never be even half as good as my Macbook Air for coding. I do not want or need a tablet that can replace my laptop or desktop or whatever. Each of these devices has its utility and I am not willing to compromise on any aspect of that in order to prove that MSFT is the best.
    03-19-2014 10:39 AM
35 12

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