Just had two great weeks in Florida and took the opportunity to visit a Microsoft store to see the new Microsoft Surface RT Tablet and Windows Phone 8 .
Unfortunately the Pro version of the tablet isn’t out till January but I had a play with the RT version; For most people who use a computer for social networking and household or school tasks such as writing documents, spread sheets and browsing the internet it is the perfect tool and a real alternative to the iPad and Android tablets, with the additional benefit of Microsoft Home and Student version of Office included in the price.
The only downside from my perspective is the lack of support for desktop applications on the RT so I’ll be patient and wait for the Pro version.
Don’t get me wrong, it is a good system and, when the time comes, I will replace Mary’s machine with one but, apart from my development tools (not supported) the two main applications I use are Outlook and OneNote.
OneNote is included but there is no direct pen support; I take all my meeting notes using OneNote, often writing directly onto the surface along with any diagrams or doodles. You can still use handwriting on RT but the OneNote version that comes with it is the Web App that requires the use of an entry box rather than write directly on the surface; still a first class application but not as flexible as the desktop version.
Outlook is not supported on the RT tablet; it has never been included with the Home & Student version of Office anyway but for me that is the deal breaker. For most people it’s not an issue as there is an e-mail App which allows offline use of Hotmail (now called Outlook.com), Google and Yahoo accounts as well as acting as an Exchange client (and you can include multiple accounts in one place), plus Calendar and People Apps which integrate with social sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn. I actually use the People App to get a quick update from time to time but I just prefer all three in one place and the other features of Outlook in a work environment. Here is a prediction: Outlook will have all of the social features included in the release after the 2013 version. It already has a “What’s New” tab on the contacts page which allows you to see updates from Facebook and other social media sites.
I also saw the New Windows Phone 8 and had a little play; It was a Nokia and I just have to upgrade my current 7.5 phone (apart from the fact that I cracked the screen on my Samsung) Several new features caught my attention but the one I like most is the integration with Skype; start it up and it runs in the background, coming to the foreground when someone calls you.
Virgin will be getting them in next week and my contract has run out so I’m eligible for the upgrade – new phone for a new month methinks.