Important Facts about Microsoft Surface answered at Reddit AMAA

Microsoft opened an online store for pre-ordering Surface, the excellent tablet running Windows RT, starting at 499$ for Australia, Canada, Deutschland,  France, and the UK. There are three versions of Surface as of now; the basic version is 32 GB with no cover + keyboard, but if you are ready to pay 100$ extra, you get the touch cover. If you think 32 Gb of space is much less, a 64 GB Surface costs 699$.


Surface Windows RT



Some Interesting Facts about Surface :

The surface team answered tons of questions yesterday from users who wanted to pre-order. This was done in the AMA session on Reddit, led by Panos Panay, GM of Microsoft Surface. There was some critical info shared, which many of you might be looking forward to, and I have just bought the essential piece together.

Q) How much space is left on the Surface after installing Windows RT?

  • How big is the installation of Windows RT? How much free space will I have if I get a 32g GB unit?
  • Can I save downloaded Apps to the SD card so it doesn’t take up primary storage space?

A) I am Ricardo Lopez, Test Manager for Surface RT. After the OS, OfficeRT, and many apps, you will still have more than 20GB. As you say, you can always add an SD card, and while you cannot add apps, you can get music, movies, and photos there.

Q) Why is there no 3G/4G option for the Surface?

A) BrettO – We made what we feel is World Class WiFi connectivity. For 3G/4G, we looked at several elements when deciding on what features to include. We knew the primary use would be in the home, so we looked at 2/3 WiFi and 1/3 Mobile Broadband tablet sales data. Of the 1/3 sold, 1/2 were activated. Phone hotspot / tethering use was also a consideration.

Q) Does the Keyboard gets disabled when you flip it back and keep it on your lap

Quick question regarding the cover. If you flip the cover back, say to rest the tablet flat on a surface or hold it, is there a mechanism that disables the keyboard so it’s not randomly typing? (This would be when the cover is flipped to the back of the device) permalink

A)  Hey, this is Stevie; yes. Both TouchCover and TypeCover have sensors that understand orientation relative to Surface… the Type and Touch Covers talk to Surface to figure out their relative position no matter the orientation of gravity of the device (pretty neat!). There are three position modes: Closed (keys and mouse are off), Open to 180 degrees (keyboard and mousepad on), and beyond 180 degrees to the back (keys and mouse off). That way, you can flip back the covers and feel secure that you are not pressing keys by mistake

Q) USB Port, Battery Life, Flash Support, microSDXC

  • What kind of devices can I or not use with the USB-Port? Can I connect a printer? A regular keyboard? Can I connect a cell phone to charge it?
  • For how long have you been using one? Are there things you used to do with your desktop PC or notebook that you now almost exclusively do with your Surface?
  • UUntilnow it has been my understanding that there will be allowed flash support in IE10 on Windows RT. Is this information correct? Can you name a few sites that will be supported?
  • At the keynote, you guys said. Surface with Windows RT will support microSD, and Surface with Windows 8 Pro will support microSDXC; today, I read that both will support microSDXC.. has this been changed?

A) BrettO here – Thanks for the excitement! We certainly feel it. Lots of questions, so let me do my best.

  • USB support – Numerous reports of 100’s of millions of existing USB devices supported. Printers, Keyboards, Cameras – yes.
  • Can I charge a phone – yes.
  • How long have I been using one – >> 6 month
  • microSDXC for both. It is behind the kickstand and hidden. Pretty cool place to store info, right?

Q) Why did you and your team choose USB 2.0 instead of USB 3.0?

A) Pavan: The total size USB 2.0 port on the Surface supports hundreds of millions of devices out there… We chose USB 2.0 based on the capability of the ARM SoCs during our development timeframe.

Q) Why does NFC or GPS not be mentioned on the Spec Sheet? Are either there? If neither is present… why?

A) Pavan: There isn’t an NFC feature in Surface RT; We use WiFi-based location services, and the device doesn’t have a physical GPS sensor.

Q) iPad 3 Resolution vs. Surface Resolution

I noticed that the Surface has a resolution of 1366×768 vs. the iPad3 2048×1536. Do you think this will affect users considering the Surface vs. the iPad?

A) Screen resolution is one component of perceived detail. The accurate measure of the resolvability of a screen is called Modulation Transfer Function (MTF), not Pixels. MTF is a combination of both contrast and resolution. There are over a dozen subsystems that affect this MTF number. Most folks focus on one number out of dozens that affect perceived detail without good contrast resolution decreases.

Check out the human eye graph’s contrast sensitivity; if you want more, see the links below. BAsresolution/DPI increases and the eye becomes less sensitive. So as a result, the amount of light in a room and the reflections off the screen significantly affect the display’s contrast.

A small amount of reflection can significantly reduce contrast and, thus, the perceived resolution of the display. With the ClearType Display technology, we took a three-pronged approach to maximize that perceived resolution and optimize for battery life, weight, and thickness.

  1. The first prong, Microsoft, has the best pixel rendering technology in the industry (cClearType1.0 and 2.0). These are exclusive and unique to Windows; it smooths text regardless of pixel count.
  2. Second, we designed a custom 10.6″ high-contrast wide-angle screen LCD screen.
  3. Lastly, we optically bonded the screen with the thinnest optical stack anywhere on the market, which is more commonly done on phones than we are doing on the Surface.

While this is not official, our current ClearType measurements on the amount of light reflected off the screen are around 5.5%-6.2%; the new IPad has a measurement of 9.9% mirror reflections (see the display mate). Doing a side-by-side with the new iPad in a consistently lit room, we have had many people see more detail on Surface RT than on the iPad with more resolution.

Here are more links to share if you want to know more ( Also, This is a great book to read if you want to get into it: or more here

Q) Battery Life, Missing NFC

  • How did you calculate the 8hr battery life estimate? What were the test conditions?
  • Why is there no NFC integration when WP8 is pushing it heavily?
  • What was the most formidable challenge you faced when designing the Surface?

A) Pavan, HW lead: We tested various core scenarios such as local and streaming video playback (watching movies!), audio playback, wireless web browsing, and productivity scenarios such as using Office and mail.

We tested using different WiFi networks with pre-production hardware and software. Hence the battery life numbers started early in the program as a model with calculations and then got verified with actual device HW and SW.

For the product design experience we aimed for with Surface, the Mg metal enclosure, including the back case, was critical. This made good antenna design for NFC a trade-off in our development process.

Q) How fast can you (personally) type on the Surface Touch keyboard? How about the Surface Type?

A) I am Yi-Min, and I am on the User Research team. I can type about 86 wpm on the Touch Cover and am typing on a Pink Touch Cover!

Disclaimer: This is as I found in the forum linked above. I did merge some everyday stuff, but I have included nothing to mislead or add wrong info about it.



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