How the Surface was engineered

By , Oct 16, 2012

Following up on today’s Surface price list, pre-orders and a pretty nice commercial, Microsoft has also posted another interesting thingie which I think highlights how the engineering team went about designing  Microsoft’s iPad contender. Make no mistake about it: with the Surface, the Windows maker has raised the water line on its platform’s functionality. This tablet’s here to stay. It is at any rate refreshing to have a fresh approach to the tablet other than the boring iOS-Android duopoly. Microsoft also has a few other promo clips for the Surface, all included past the fold…

The promotional video follows Apple’s established concept of spotlighting engineers who actually build gadgets (where’s Microsoft’s Jony Ive, I wonder).

It goes on to describe how the team was seeking a material that was thin, light and strong before coming across magnesium. Its density and lightness served as “a great starting point” to build a the Surface’s vapor-deposited magnesium chassis.

To fit a user experience of the traditional desktop into something as light, portable and thin as the Surface tablet, which is 9.3mm thick, Microsoft tapped its 30 year hardware experience building keyboards, mice, web cameras, consoles and other peripherals and accessories.

One of the engineers says in the video:

I remember when we had our conversations with the engineering teams, saying no way that you can make a keyboard that thin. And it’s really interesting that the final product is one millimeter thinner.

Here’s a timelapse video of some interesting Surface street art, part of Microsoft’s guerrilla marketing set to culminate with a massive $1 billion advertising blitz.

Three months ago, Microsoft released this Surface teaser.

Love the magnesium references and the satisfying click sound of the keyboard attachment. And right below is, of course, the first commercial that set the tongues wagging on the Interwebs. That is, until Apple sent out invites for its October 23 thing.

If you love these, why not favorite the Surface team’s YouTube channel?

I’m loving this comment by Jim Dalrymple of The Loop:

So what I get from this ad is that the Surface will make a clicking sound when you connect the keyboard; I will be able to dance; other people will join me dancing; I will kiss someone; and if I throw the Surface in the air someone will catch it.

It is amusing, I’ll give him that, though I wholeheartedly disagree.

This is just a teaser ad and I’m fairly certain the Windows maker will follow up with more clips highlighting what the Surface is capable of, once the gizmo lands on store shelves next Friday, October 25.

Other than that, the commercial ticks exactly the right boxes: it’s intriguing, memorable, unusual and certainly piques one’s interest. Besides, nobody complained about “dancing” in Apple’s ad for the new iPod touch.

What’s your comment on the Surface videos?

Is Microsoft finally getting it right?

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  • http://www.youtube.com/Tr1pTr0p Tr1pTr0p

    I really like how Microsoft’s products keep getting better and how well they work together. The ecosystem is growing and it’s great! I’m honestly hoping this device will take off.

    • http://twitter.com/MCaudebec Maxim∑

      yeah I agree Microsoft has come a long way, this seems like a great tablet for android though, but we need to remember 2GB of RAM and 32GB of memory on windows 8 is a bit low. I am running chrome (on windows 8 pro from MSDN) with 7 tabs open and I am at 2.8GB of RAM used. With 32GB of space the user will only have around 10-20GB of memory left (after install,drivers,updates,security stuff etc…), this sounds way over enough for iOS and Android but windows 8… just feels a bit low. And I wasn’t to happy about the 2x cooling fans on the tablet. The Surface Pro seems great but its really expensive, RT just doesn’t seem to be enough in my opinion (hardware wise)

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=568052448 Raven Woods

        Dude the ram usage scales depending on how much you have available!

      • http://twitter.com/MCaudebec Maxim∑

        Exactly, so if I have chrome open and that’s already taking 2.8GB of RAM out of 8GB the. How is a tablet with 2GB of RAM going to be able to run windows 8?

      • a smit

        app tweaks and RAM paging (with flash storage, not a huge hit on perf)

  • http://twitter.com/franklylife Frank Anthony

    Just 2 words “Amazingly Stunning”.

  • wonderboydave

    Because Droid Does.

  • Ron McLaughlin

    These videos were made with FCP on a Mac!

  • imot65

    The title is not complete, it shall be: “How the Surface was engineered highly inspired by the iPad”
    Wow, down to imitating Apple’s videos on how they conceived their products. Really? I’m SO sick and tired of all these companies bringing up “innovation” where its in fact a mere dressed-up copy of what Apple makes. Yeah yeah yeah… dislike this comment all you like all you M$/crapdroid fanboys… (I still wonder what the heck you do on a website dedicated to Apple stuff, GTF out of here!)

    • coejam

      Are you apple lawyer?

      • imot65

        Yes I am.. and I’m after you… so RUUUN!

    • http://twitter.com/x_rus_x Vitaliy Anonymous

      Is it because it is shaped like a rectange? Darn you Microsoft.

    • abdul

      That’s rubbish Microsoft started developing surface 3 years ago before the ipad was even released so u shut up

      • http://www.facebook.com/xxLIUZHENYUxx Liu Zhenyu

        Complete fabrication by Microsoft or made up by you. They may only have a plan to make a tablet then. Btw, the iPad was released 2008 or 2009, more than 3 years before Surface, making your point obsolete.

      • http://twitter.com/jomphp jomphp.com

        noob, iPad was released in 2010 not 2008 or 2009

    • Bieberkinz

      Are you stupid? The inovative thing about iPad was THE SOFTWARE! Not the design! That has been a basic Tablet design since the thing was invented! The innovative thing about Surface is this is NOT 100% of the hardware (the Keyboard Cover is something Apple could use in the future) its trying to advertise that this has all the features of a Netbook all in one, you can argue the iPad had this, but when it first came out, no Smart Cover, just “a big ol iPod touch with a data contract”. You shouldn’t be a fanboy bro, I love Apple cause Apple has a great history of Hardware, portable software, and design, but I love and think Microsoft wins in the Computer Software, why do you think there’s more games made for the PC? If you wanna bitch about a rectangle, you cry about it on Notes cause no one cares about that thought you just had.

      • http://www.facebook.com/xxLIUZHENYUxx Liu Zhenyu

        Windows and Microsoft are two verry different companies mate, windows created PC software, microsoft created word, excel, powerpoint etc. Btw, there are more games for the PC as it was out longer, made by many companies other than apple. Besides, mac has an app store, purchasing safe applications and software. Furthermore, parallels for mac allows even more experience on the same computer running multiple computer OS including windows at once.

      • http://twitter.com/jomphp jomphp.com

        Windows is an operating system created by Microsoft, not two different companies than Microsoft…PC has more games because of the flexibility and performance of Windows OS not because it was out longer

        stop posting stupid facts, kiddo

      • a smit

        how old are you?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alborz-Heydaryan/100001666434300 Alborz Heydaryan

    we just have to wait and see how it performs… so far there’s little information about the device available. is it going to have the 720p display? or maybe 1280×800? is the 1080p coming to the smaller one? does anybody know?

  • 1337lolzorz

    Wow they even had a British guy narrate it.. Reminds me of a video I saw about a month ago from a certain fruit company

    • http://www.facebook.com/xxLIUZHENYUxx Liu Zhenyu

      You mean Blackberry? Jk

  • http://www.facebook.com/dietermarkus Markus Hudobnik

    I love Microsoft and Apple. I HATE android. Sorry not sorry.

  • http://twitter.com/arskka ArthurT

    Using magnets and a kind of smart cover it reminds me something like… Yes an iPad.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=568052448 Raven Woods

      Except it is functional now!

      • http://twitter.com/geekinit geekinit

        I can type just fine on the iPad without adding a keyboard. It just takes practice and then the nice thing is you aren’t lugging that keyboard with you. I’m sure the surface requires a keyboard because Microsoft is still pushing PC apps to the x86 based tablet. Don’t leave the keyboard at home. I’ll just be surprised if this thing doesn’t flop. Too many features compounded into one device can break the experience.

      • http://twitter.com/geekinit geekinit

        And I forgot to mention the Smart Cover cover cleans your iPads screen. But with this keyboard I suppose no one will be touching the surface, eh? ;)

  • Yujin

    thought i was in technobuffalo, but after looking at the URL i noticed..im back where im supposed to be….anyway…surface is a good idea and a great concept…hope the keyboard is soon available for the iPad (zagg, logitech……one big problem with RT tablets is that they have very few apps…so anyone buying will be very lonely waiting for developers to create great apps like the ones found on android and ipad.

    Microsoft marketing may get a few million people buying it, but i think the biggest succes is the Windows 8 machine and not windows RT surface tablet.

    • Dan

      ever notice how technobuffalo rips off articles off this site? They always post the same stories a few minutes after they are posted on here.

  • http://twitter.com/int3nsive Int3nsive

    But it’s still Windows… but well.. I have to admit… it’s still better than Android.

  • http://www.andrewcassone.tk/ NY Andrew

    Lmao the 25 is not a Friday, it’s a Thursday. My bday :P