Dec 18

Written by: Paul Rony
12/18/2012 2:24 AM 

I have had a Microsoft Surface for almost two months and I can honestly say that I love the device. It has completely replaced my iPad 3 as my newsreader. The iPad is an excellent device, but I am simply more productive with the Surface tablet.

I have always been a Microsoft zealot, so I will admit to being biased, but I don’t adopt everything Microsoft produces. I’ve disliked Vista, Me, Bob, Zune and several versions of DOS. My affection for Microsoft products has more to do with the development tools, and I think this is one of the aspects that Microsoft has succeeded on with the Surface.

I purchased the Surface with a type keyboard, but one of the first things I did was plug in a USB wireless keyboard and mouse. I don’t use the wireless input devices all the time, but it is wonderful that they are available when I want to do some real work. The mouse comes in handy when using IE10 and opening several tabs or windows. Being able to choose between a new tab and a new window is another wonderful productivity feature. When reading the news, I typically find that I open eight or more articles before I start reading them and the Surface handles this approach easily. As a side note, this is one area where the iPad fails. If I open too many browser windows on the iPad, or just visit certain web sites, the iPad browser will crash.

The other really big feature is Remote Desktop. While there are several remote desktop apps for the iPad, none can complete with the Surface because the Surface has mouse support. This gets back to the big benefit of having a true USB port with support for a wireless keyboard and mouse. On the iPad, remote desktop is a toy, on the Surface it is a productivity tool.

After almost two months, I still have not purchased a case for the Surface. I have multiple Apple devices, including iPads, iPods and iPhones, and all have a case. With the Surface, I’m content with the type keyboard as the case. And the built-in kickstand is solid and works very well.

Lastly, developing for the Surface RT device has been a breeze. The elevation of JavaScript and HTML5 as a native language for applications is awesome. HTML has long been a more productive choice for UI design, now the Surface makes it possible to create native apps that combines JavaScript with C# and C++ into a single application. One of the first things that we did at SplendidCRM is combine our HTML5 offline client with SQLite to create a stand-alone CRM for the Surace. Development productivity has been amazing. Critics of the Surface device point to the small number of apps in the Windows Store, but I believe this will change very quickly as developers apply their existing skills to create apps or port apps from other platforms. Microsoft has always been great at supporting developers, so I’m confident that the Windows Store will grow quickly.

I have only had the HTC Windows Phone 8X for a couple of weeks, but I’m enjoying it as well. At this early stage, the best features are the induction charging, so that I no longer need a USB micro cable, and the Text integration with my Hyundai. When a text message arrives, my Hyundai asks me if I would like the text message read aloud or ignore it. My previous device, an HTC Thunderbolt (Android), did not do that. I did like the extra capacity battery of the Thunderbolt as well as the MicroSD slot, neither of which are available on the Windows Phone.