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Surface plays an integral part in boosting Microsoft’s business every financial year (FY) with the company’s revenue hitting $26.1 Billion in their most recent quarter. This is all due to the long-term dedication, commitment and the enthusiasm of the Surface team, making it clear they put their heart and soul into making a Surface.
It all started on October 26th, 2012 with the launch of Windows 8 Operating System, when Microsoft unveiled a new hardware device which they called Surface, designed to showcase the new OS. This first Surface ran Windows RT.
Now five years later, they have the all-new Surface Pro, which would presumably have been the Surface Pro 5 but some reason, the team felt that Surface Pro has reached a certain maturity. This means that the Surface Team did not consider this upgrade from Surface Pro 4 big enough to deserve a name-plate number. You can read more about the all-new Surface Pro here.
It seems to me the Surface Team have either have run out of ideas or are poised to deliver something brand new and revolutionary. If it is the later, this is my wish list for the next year of Surface innovation.
Let’s talk devices:
Windows on a Surface with ARM:
I am very much excited for the Windows 10 on ARM project. Cheaper devices, with full capabilities and performance and more battery life! This was the dream right? However, these devices have just been announced for now but the prototypes that are still being tested internally by executives inside Microsoft or other partners are showing unbelievable promise. Here is what Joe Belfiore, Corporate Vice President in the Windows Team at Microsoft, said about such a device:
5. I've completed five days of use so far (yes, counting the weekend) WITHOUT CHARGING THE BATTERY on the new ARM-based PC I'm testing! Wonder if I can make it the rest of the week! Yowza!!
— Joe Belfiore (@joebelfiore) December 20, 2017
More than 5 days of battery life with some juice left is great. This is for the business user who is more into productivity and doesn’t want any interruption in their daily workflow. And Windows 10 on ARM is capable of giving the full Windows 10 x86 experience with emulation to anyone. This means if you are a designer and need Photoshop from Adobe running on your device, you can. If you are a User Interface Designer and want to run Adobe Experience Design, you can! This is the new Era of Personal Computing where the devices are getting better, more portable and cheaper as well. Till now it was assumed that if you want more portability and performance, you needed to raise your budget. This is a real digital revolution.
Well no matter how good a Surface device is, you have to admit that it is expensive. In return, you get the promise of great performance. But what about a person low on budget? I am talking about a student who has a limited funds to purchase a new Surface device. I am talking about a consumer who is prepared to trade lower performance for the innovation and style of a Surface Device because their needs are not very great(I need a Surface for me!)
Currently the cheapest Surface Pro starts at $960 which is not cheap, to be honest. A cheaper device will draw in more users, and Microsoft will not need complicated payment schemes such as EMI.
This is one of the most anticipated devices from Microsoft ever. After killing its mobile phone business brand Lumia, Windows phone fans have continued to wait for the ultimate mobile device. Some rumours suggest that it will be a folding device with a folding display (obviously!) We have also come across some patents by Microsoft which talk about the same. There was a device that Microsoft was working on earlier that was codenamed Courier which had a pen support (similar to Surface Pen) and was more a kind of journal where the user could jot things down that mattered to them the most. You can read more about that patent here.
Fix the Software issue
Now comes the time for my Wishlist. What I want for Microsoft to do here is first of all: Please support more apps! I know that Windows Phone lost to heavy competition from other major operating systems in the market like Android and iOS mainly because of low app support. I also know that Microsoft did their best in trying to convince developers all around the world to build and bring their apps to Windows phone but still, in today’s world, if your platform has the most services and capabilities, you win! The consumers are more sophisticated, and on the other hand, they have more options and if your platform is inferior, that’s the oops moment there. You have the power of Continuum. Let the phone support emulation with the help of Windows 10 on ARM. Let them make use of the unified Operating System Shell or as rumoured: CShell (here, I say it!).
Remember? Panos said this at the Lumia 950/XL announcement presentation: “We want to put Windows in your pocket!”. Here is how you can. Make a revolution. Being a folding device, it will be the size of a smartphone, open it to make it a tablet and just plug it in to make it a full Windows 10 PC! Best Surface Ever doesn’t stop here.
Wait, I have a wish to make for Satya Nadella. Please acquire Bluestacks. I am not advertising anything or anyone here, but my personal opinion is that Bluestacks is the best Android Emulator for Windows PCs. Here is what I want to happen –just integrate the Android shell into Windows 10. This will add some sorts of Android app emulation to Windows 10 as well and as Archimedes would say: Eureka! Here is a perfect Surface Device.
I think that the Surface Team is really doing a great job in bringing the best of Hardware innovations from Microsoft. Microsoft needs to maintain their pace of innovation with new classes of devices that expand the market, and give these devices the full support of the company when it comes to development, marketing and particularly distribution, to make sure anyone who wants a Surface can actually get one, and that anyone who would benefit from having a Surface actually knows about it.
Here’s looking forward to Microsoft surprising us once again in 2018.