Interesting Information On New Surface Devices From Reddit AmA, Part-2

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Microsoft Surface team today did a Reddit AmA on new Surface devices. I’ve collected some interesting information from the whole discussion.

Read the part 1 of the same here.

Part 2 content,

  • Whether Surface Pro 2 just has updated CPU from Intel ? – To get the full benefit, it’s not just a case of switching out the CPU. For Surface Pro 2, we complexly redesigned the motherboard, performed system level tuning, upgraded to LPDDR3 RAM & low power SSD, and tuned the firmware and drivers.
  • Touch Cover pressure sensitive nature – Hey this is StevieB. the touchcover 2 pressure sensors have 1024 pressure levels as well. But currently we do not pass the pressure data on to the operating system. All the processing is done inside touchcover.. We will try to post a demo video of how the pressure levels look.. it is pretty coo. to see (done via a special electrical interface rig we built).
  • How backlit keyboard is made – Hey this is StevieB, we invented one of the thinnest backlights.. It is 0.2mm thin. The light couples in via edge lit LEDs (4 of them), guides inside via a principle of total internal reflection. and then scatters out via light couplers. To save power we also added a proximity sensor to the keyboard so when your hands get near they turn on. All this and both touch and type are thinner than previous gen and it is also more rigid. We made these keyboards more rigid by gluing all the layers together… essentially taking really think layers, laminating them together and making the whole thing really rigid.
  • Sensors in Surface – With the ambient light sensor in Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 the display will automatically adjust to variously lit environments for improved display readability.
  • Regarding camera – Hey this is StevieB, yes, the cameras in surface 2 have greatly improved. The rear camera went from 1 to 5 mp and the sensor area grew 3x! The front sensor is unprecedented though 1/3″ sensor size.. and which grew the front sensor 5 times! If you saw Panos give a demo on stage you saw him do a Skype video message with the lights turned down/off in the studio.. The front sensor is the biggest sensor of any tablet front sensor I know of..
  • Regarding Ads – Definitely true – some people love our ads, and some people really don’t like them.  Our new ads will launch shortly and highlight some of the great ways people love to use Surface.  We hope you like them! Our original ads were meant to drive breakthrough for a new brand.  We did hear the feedback and you will see our new campaign shortly – it shows some of the favorite ways our customers use Surface today.
  • On possibility of Intel Atom CPUs – 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.
    Julie and Panos
  • How come the MacBook Air can run for over 10 hours with a corei5 and surface can’t? – The 13″ MBA has a 54Whr. Surface Pro 2 has a 42Whr battery. We do this to balance thickness and weight with performance. With Power Cover, which has a 30Whr battery, you will get comfortably more than 10 hours. Worth adding, that MacBook air is lower screen resolution and lower DPI..
  • LTE version of Surface 2 will have GPS in it.
  • Bluetooth Support –  Bluetooth 4.0 low energy


About Author

Pradeep, a Computer Science & Engineering graduate.

  • Pedro

    Basically they screwed up the Atom-based Surface because they thought no one would need x86 app compatibility. Jeez, what a bunch of morons, and PERSISTENT morons I must add. They still think no one needs cheapo x86 compatible Windows tablet! Watch MS getting another huge financial hit in a quarter or two when no one buys this stupid useless ARM tablet with no apps (100,000 hello worlds don’t count) again. All the while other much smarter OEMs will keep selling a lot of cheapo Atom tablets with full Windows 8.

    • Gromanon

      what exact x86 apps are you planning to actually run on 10.6 inch screen anyway..??

      Just get Surface 2 Pro and not only will you have x86 capability, you will have enough CPU/Graphics power to support them properly and a docking station so you can turn Surface 2 Pro into true workstation.

      Office 2013 with Outlook, IE11, and integrated Microsoft services is why Surface 2 will fulfill all my needs.

      • Pedro

        I’d run Outlook and MPC-HC on my hypothetical Atom based Surface, dues to piss poor quality of the current video players on RT. I’d also run uTorrent, maybe sometimes, not often tho, my desktop is better for that. I’d also run some old nice games I purchased on gog.com.

        Anyway, MS didn’t give a shit about users like me so I told all of my friends to avoid RT because this piece of shit doesn’t have apps and you CAN NOT compensate for that by using your old x86 apps like MPC-HC. So my friends use Atom based tablets now, and I’m just watching the funny show of MS releasing yet another ARM tablet nobody will buy. What a bunch of morons… jeez

    • Jeff Hung

      If running desktop applications on a tablet computer makes so much sense, we should have seen Windows XP/7 tablet edition beats iPad long ago.
      The only reason why Windows 8 keeps the desktop application compatibility around is for convertibles. And there exists a market for “purer” tablet like Surface RT/2, which the only desktop application needed is Office.

    • Jeff Hung

      BTW, how often do you use those legacy desktop applications on your tablet with only finger or stylus? Don’t you feel that even a simple operation like resizing/moving a window is a pain in the a** without mouse? It is exactly how Windows XP/7 tablet edition failed miserably.
      Of course you can buy an Atom tablet and also enjoy it as your workhorse computer when you come home and dock it. You can have your laptop and tablet in the same device. That’s great if it’s what you want.
      But since when people stop hating Atom for its poor performance and start embracing it for primary computing?

      • Pedro

        Since when? Hahaha. Since THIS! ==>> http://anandtech.com/show/7314/intel-baytrail-preview-intel-atom-z3770-tested

        Man, seriously, when did you wake up given that you never heard of Bay Trail? How many years or even decades did you sleep tight eh? :) Jeez…

        • Jeff Hung

          Seriously, now the bar for primary computing is further raised by the latest gen. of i5/i7. Intel would never let Atom line processors powerful enough to erode their mainstream cash cow.

          • Pedro

            Still, Bay Trail is good enough for 99% of typical desktop apps like QuickBook, Office 2013, etc etc. i5 or i7 is a total overkill for those.

      • DKJr

        I do lots of desktop legacy apps especially QuickBooks and Quicken & experience is a lot easier with keyboard and mouse. I also find experience working with MS Office apps better with keyboard and mouse. Fortunately MS has included these basic accessories. While on surfing or reviewing news apps, I don’t need the accessories so best of both worlds.

  • FXi2

    The 8″ surface may well be your Atom.
    There are tons of Atom based tablets out there. Maybe you should investigate those?

  • spydaweb

    Still no love for NFC. Shame. I was hoping to pickup a Surface 2 for a backup to my Helix.

  • Yuan Taizong

    These new features could be interesting, but I’m afraid that other O.E.M.’s will now start experimenting with Chromebooks and stuff, well Microsoft does set the bar high now, and I don’t think that most O.E.M.’s will be intimidated if Microsoft will claim the high-end market, but important Windows-sellers like Lenovo, Samsung/Anycall and Sony might be offended.