NIBIQÜ: a Surface-like keyboard case for your iPad

By Cody Lee on Dec 20, 2012

Despite lackluster sales, Microsoft’s new Surface has been praised for its innovations. Windows 8 RT certainly doesn’t look like anything else on the market right now, and the tablet’s ultra-slim Touch Cover keyboard is an interesting concept.

In fact, a lot of folks are asking if there is something similar available for the iPad. There are, actually several keyboard covers that are compatible with Apple’s tablet, but none of them come closer to the Touch Cover than the NIBIQÜ… Read More


Microsoft’s post-PC trouble: capturing the profits of bygone days

By Ed Sutherland on Dec 18, 2012

Before PC demand dwindled, software giant Microsoft was happy with licensing its Windows software to computer makers. Now that we are taking the first steps into the post-PC era, the Redmond firm still wants its profit. But how do you charge a $50 per-tablet royalty fee when the device itself costs $199?

Enter the $499 Surface, says one independent analyst. While Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire both sell for $199, the Surface carries the much higher price tag because Microsoft stubbornly refuses to give up the 30 percent profit margin it’s accustomed to receiving for Windows and Office software licenses… Read More


Microsoft recaps its ‘milestones’ in 2012

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 17, 2012

Microsoft, once the mighty Apple archival, in ways more than one is now directly or indirectly supporting Apple’s war on Android. With that in mind, let’s check out Microsoft’s recap video highlighting its milestones in 2012, one for each month. I’d call only two Microsoft products milestones: Halo 4, which raked in $220 million in sales in the first 24 hours, and the Xbox console with Kinect, which got Windows support in February.

As much as I like Windows Phone’s originality, it’s failed to make a dent and clings to a single-digit market share. The Surface is a flop (even the CEO agrees) and major software launches like Windows 8 and server products have not met the management’s internal expectations. Besides, Apple’s iPhone biz recently became worth more than all of Microsoft. How’s that for a milestone? Read More


Looks like it’s gonna be a very Merry Apple Christmas indeed

By Ed Sutherland on Dec 13, 2012

Despite a blitz of advertising and promotions, consumers across the globe are choosing Apple products during the run up to Christmas. After interviewing more than seventy shoppers in ten cities, Reuters reports consumers are not swayed either by Wall Street concerns or Madison Avenue come-ons. Instead, in shopping malls in the US, Europe and Asia, the key is Apple’s simplicity.

Samsung – Apple’s chief rival – is gaining no converts in shopping malls. Only in Singapore and Bangalore, India did Reuters find consumers picking Samsung products over the iPhone or iPad. In Mexico, despite having a mall covered with ads and displays promoting the South Korean firm’s products, the iPad mini is selling like hotcakes…

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Microsoft turns to retailers to help flagging Surface sales

By Ed Sutherland on Dec 12, 2012

Microsoft’s Surface tablet just isn’t selling. But the company knows – or thinks it does – the reason. The problem with sales is that the Surface just isn’t available in enough stores, the software giant turned tablet maker says. Currently, the Surface is mainly sold in about three dozen Microsoft’s own retail outlets in the country.

After being stung by reports that its tablet wasn’t even selling in Microsoft-owned stores (are you reading this, Oprah Winfrey?), the company announced it will put the Surface on the shelves of third-party retailers, such as Staples. If ‘build it and they will come’ isn’t working, will ‘stock it and they will buy’ be any better? Read More


Microsoft’s Surface just a blip with 0.13 percent of tablet traffic

By Ed Sutherland on Dec 11, 2012

Apparently, more of Microsoft’s Surface tablets are showing up in commercials and television episode placements than online. Despite an aggressive push, the Windows device accounted for just 0.13 percent of advertising served to tablets during November, according to one mobile advertising network. The dismal numbers are just the latest sign the much-heralded Surface just isn’t selling.

Microsoft’s outspoken boss Steve Ballmer acknowledged as much when he recently called Surface numbers “modest”. By comparison, 0.91 percent of Google’s Nexus tablets displayed ads between November 12 and November 18. The percentages come just a day after a report that the iPad mini saw ad impressions climb 28 percent daily during the November… Read More


Microsoft announces pricing for Intel-powered Surface Pro

By Cody Lee on Nov 30, 2012

When Microsoft unveiled the Surface, its first in-house foray into the tablet market, back in June, it said that it would consist of two versions: a lower-end RT model built on ARM’s architecture, and a Pro model powered by Intel.

The RT version officially launched in October, in 32GB and 64GB flavors priced at $499 and $699 respectively, and has thus far seen modest sales. And last night, Microsoft finally divulged some information about the Surface Pro… Read More


The iPad mini is an iPad 4 cannibal, after all

By Ed Sutherland on Nov 29, 2012

The iPad mini is taking a bite out of sales of its full-sized counterpart. That’s the conclusion of one Wall Street observer, who found fewer seven-inch Apple tablets available than the larger 9.7-inch iPad. But is the finding a sign of cannibalized iPads or something else?

A poll of fifty Apple stores by Citi uncovered the mini available in eighty percent of the locations, but severely limited, except for the 32 gigabyte version. However, all stores checked had the new fourth-gen iPad in stock, just six percent reporting limited availability… Read More


Microsoft amps up Surface advertising with new ad titled ‘Groove’

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 26, 2012

Microsoft’s inaugural ad for the Surface tablet initially captured our attention, with its pro dancers performing all sorts of crazy moves with their tablets certainly helping a great deal with that. The software maker then followed up with the somewhat subdued teaser on the eve of Surface’s launch.

On Cyber Monday, Microsoft has stepped up its game with a new television commercial seen above. It kinda looks familiar. Pretty sure I saw a similar concept involving jumping gadgets somewhere before… Read More


UK bank Barclays buys 8,500 iPads, calls Apple’s tablet ‘the best solution’

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 24, 2012

Another significant win for Apple’s popular tablet brand: British multinational banking and financial services company Barclays has confirmed it’s purchased 8,500 iPads “to assist our branch colleagues to interact with customers, improving the customer experience”.

The announcement couldn’t have come at a worse time for Microsoft, whose Surface tablet hit store shelves on October 26 but so far has generated only “modest sales”, per CEO Steve BallmerRead More


Kids want an iPad for Christmas – and nothing else

By Ed Sutherland on Nov 20, 2012

Listen up, parents. Your kids want an iPad. Don’t be swayed by the Microsoft Surface commercials or the Nintendo Wii U chatter. No matter whether your child is 6 or 16, the iPad is at the top of Christmas wish lists for 2012, a new survey has it. According to Nielsen Wire, the top four out of five most-wanted gifts for children and teens bear an Apple logo.

Even more intriguing are the changes in what Apple products are wanted this holiday season versus last year. If anything, the trend can be summed-up in one word: tablet… Read More


Oh, boy: Oprah tweets Surface raves from an iPad

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 19, 2012

Billions of marketing dollars can’t hide the obvious disconnect and lack of creativity plaguing Microsoft’s PR department. Windows Phone commercials are boring as hell, annoying, heavy on celebs and short on imagination. And now comes this. Oprah tweeting her love for the Surface this morning isn’t out of character: she’s well-known for endorsing stuff.

It reads: “Gotta say love that SURFACE! Have bought 12 already for Christmas gifts. #FavoriteThings”. She unfortunately sent that tweet, which Microsoft’s Corporate Communications immediately retweeted, from her iPad.

I know Oprah hosts regular giveaways of favorite products, but boy did that stupid PR stunt backfire. Besides, she previously professed her love for Apple’s tablet to the whole world. This is nothing if not way too clueless marketing on Microsoft’s part. Speaking of clueless… Read More


Steve Ballmer maintains the iPhone is overpriced, promises more Microsoft gadgets

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 15, 2012

The hardware arena is becoming an increasingly crowded space and that’s a good thing for consumers who want more choices. Not that long ago, tech giants used to sit on the sidelines and leave the gadget making biz to Apple and the iPhone maker happily exploited the opportunity, churning out music players, cell phones, wireless appliances, set-top boxes, tablets and computers.

But things have changed quite a bit. Nowadays, everyone and their brother wants to build hardware, software and services in a vertically integrated fashion that made Apple a popular choice among the consumers. Amazon now sells tablets and e-readers and is allegedly building a phone. Google has become a handset vendor thanks to its pricey purchase of Motorola Mobility. And with a recent trifecta of Nexus devices, the search monster has become a hardware force to be reckoned with. But what’s Microsoft up to? Read More


Display shootout pits the iPad 3 against the Surface

By Cody Lee on Nov 13, 2012

The experts over at DisplayMate have put together another display shootout, this time pitting the Retina screen of the iPad 3 against that of Microsoft’s new Surface tablet and Samsung’s older Galaxy Tab 10.1. The Galaxy Tab was really just thrown in for good measure here, the real shootout is between the first two.

Last month, a Microsoft engineer claimed that although the Surface has a lower resolution than the iPad, 1366 x 768 vs 2048 x 1536, its display can still outperform it. DisplayMate’s Raymond Soneira laughed off the claim, saying there was no way this was possible. And now he has the head-to-head tests to prove it… Read More


Ballmer qualifies Surface sales as ‘modest’, but there’s a huge opportunity

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 11, 2012

For all the talk about the Surface – and we’ve said some nice things about it – Microsoft’s foray into big league tablet computing has been marred with teething problems and lackluster sales. Arriving in a crowded tablet market on October 26, the Surface was praised for its industrial design and build quality as it was panned for its resource-hungry and buggy OS and insufficient third-party software.

The software maker did not release exact sales data and its CEO Steve Ballmer is dogging such questions in absence of a milestone like Apple’s three million tablet sales in three days. In an interview with a French newspaper, Ballmer qualified the beginning of the Surface sales as “modest”, which probably means way worse than expected… Read More


Fan-made ad teaches Microsoft how to advertise the Surface against the iPad

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 8, 2012

Instead of a boring teaser, the weird Movement commercial, a meaningless self-made drop test clip, cheesy making-of footage and a whole bunch of other all too easily forgettable videos, maybe Microsoft should have employed the talent of Forest Gibson? The guy clearly has a better idea of how to position Microsoft’s Surface tablet against the iPad juggernaut… Read More


Microsoft working on a 7-inch Xbox Surface tablet focused on gaming

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 6, 2012

This is really interesting. Hot on the heels of launching its full-sized Surface tablet to a mixed market response, Microsoft is thought to now have their sights set on the smaller form-factor tablet space, currently dominated by seven-inchers from Google and Amazon, in addition to Apple’s iPad mini that launched last month. Microsoft’s secret project for a mini Xbox, it’s been said, involves a custom-built ARM processor and high-bandwidth RAM designed specifically for gaming tasks… Read More


Microsoft clarifies Surface storage requirements

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 5, 2012

So we’ve known that the operating system powering Microsoft’s Surface tablet along with bundled apps eats up a lot of storage space. Earlier today, the software giant published an interesting support doc clarifying the exact storage requirements. Turns out out that a 32GB Surface RT leaves users with only sixteen gigabytes of usable storage space because the Surface OS and preloaded Office apps consume a whopping 16 gigs. I’m using the whopping adjective here because the Surface after all is a mobile device, not a full-blown desktop.

This is hardly a surprise to us geeks who’ve grown accustomed to Redmond’ resource-taxing desktop software but as it is, the situation inevitably begs the question of the gizmo’s prospect with average Joes who’ve seen the iPad and expect a 32GB tablet to at least provide 30 gigs of usable storage space. Also, we’ve got a nice new video below the fold highlighting the Touch and Type Covers for Surface… Read More


Maybe Microsoft should hire Forstall?

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 29, 2012

In the hope that this will have an instant meme value, I just came across this nice little clip of somebody demoing saving a document in Microsoft Word Preview on the Surface RT tablet. Go past the break to join the discussion in the comments… Read More


Microsoft’s Surface is more repairable than iPad 3

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 29, 2012

The repair experts over at iFixit pried open Microsoft’s Surface RT tablet (model number 1516) and awarded the device a repairability score of four out of ten (ten is the easiest to repair), thanks to several components being modular and replaceable without requiring desoldering. Plus, the battery can be removed “pretty easily”, iFixit notes.

This is better than a score of two out of ten for the third-generation iPad with Retina display, but lower than Amazon’s Kindle Fire, which has an impressive eight out of ten repairability score. Google’s seven-inch Nexus tablet is the easiest to repair among these tablets with a nice seven out of ten score. More tidbits and teardown analysis right below… Read More