I’ve had the Surface RT for about two weeks now and having previously used an iPad here are my thoughts on the device.
The device itself is really sleek and the weight is nicely balanced. The 16:9 aspect ratio makes it a bit awkward in portrait orientation but the screen is really pretty. The charger is a proprietary (boo) one that works like the Apple MagSafe (yay!) so it’s a cool magnet that snaps on and off easily, and is reversible which is nice.
The lack of 3G/LTE connectivity is an issue for sure, but not a huge one for my use at the moment. It would have been a great addition though which they really should incorporate in their next iteration.
Software is simple to set up and windows 8 is really well designed. Apps such as mail and MetroTwit are consistent with the Windows 8 style (previously known as Metro UI). The TouchCover is also really cool with a cover that doubles up as a flat keyboard. It takes a bit of getting used to, but does the job fine for a tablet. The best thing about the Surface however, is the fact that it has a USB port. It befuddles me that in 2013, this isn’t standard issue in all tablets. It is super convenient to move files from my PC to the tablet via a USB stick instead of fiddling around with Dropbox or Google Drive, especially since I’ve been using it a lot for video viewing. Speaking of which, the in built video player is pretty good, slightly buggy, but it’s played pretty any file format I’ve thrown at it so far without having to convert it like you do with the iPad.
The big question still remains, where are all the apps? Microsoft has been working hard to put a good ecosystem and design rules in place and 1st party apps look great. But where are the good epub readers and Google Drive and magazines? The selection of games also leaves lots to be desired. Skulls of the Shogun looks cool but apart from that I am not sure what else there is to play.
As a tablet, battery life should also be improved. On moderate use, I tend to get about 3-4 days of battery life. It doesn’t start as fast as an iPad which I can live with, but hey. It will be nice.
To close off my experience so far with the Surface, I really like it so far as a portable widescreen video player. But is it the best use of your $668 if you’re in the market for a tablet? Well if you’re an exchange user and using SkyDrive and won’t be using it than more than web browsing, email and watching videos, it’s fantastic. But if you’d like to tinker with your gadgets or require a mobile connection or are a huge Google user, the iPad Mini at $618 (16gb LTE) or Nexus 7 could be a better choice.
April 24th, 2013
This afternoon I had the privilege of attending the Future Now Sessions, graciously hosted by Microsoft at Vue Privée, a nice art gallery at Spottiswoode. Kinda wish I had my camera with me, or at least a phone with battery. Nevertheless it was an informative afternoon not only learning about Microsoft products like Skype, MSN and Windows 8, but also multi-screen behaviours of consumers and marketing to consumers of different generations.
The afternoon ended with a round of pub trivia, which I learnt the following facts:
Well that was actually enough for us to win the team round, and get me a tie in the finals, but for the win in the speed round tie breaker, the number of minutes spent on Skype daily (2 billion) divided by the number of Windows 8 licenses sold from launch to January 2013 (60 million) is 33.333. I am now a proud new owner of a Microsoft Surface RT. Watch this space for my impressions of using it here in Singapore real soon!
April 11th, 2013
Yes, I realize it has been over a month since my last entry, but between crazy work commitments and pre-production for my recent trip to Hong Kong, something had to give.
Hopefully now we can return to our regular blogging schedule. s
April 7th, 2013
Day one of the Festival of Media Asia 2013 has brought many nuggets of learning and insight. Here are some of my top take-aways:
A corollary of the 90-9-1% rule of internet culture, Diageo has made a massive headway into the Asian market in recent years. They created the Johnnie Walker House in an upmarket district of Shanghai, where over the course of 15 months, only 4,000 people had the opportunity to visit. Think of it as an upmarket and permanent pop-up store and you wouldn’t be too far off. People could learn about Johnny Walker’s whisky making process, and purchase top end (expensive) Whiskies too. People allegedly loved it so much they spent the equivalent of S$500k there.
And then they created the Voyager, which is the boat version of the house which is now traveling the world, as a content rich digital platform in addition to the physical ship.
So please stop calling it that. It was never the year of TV either. But prep your business for Ecommerce. Asia loves it in a big way – it is not always about convenience, but reliability and assurance.
I saw a guy on the bus the other day, who was watching a lecture on Python throughout the entire 40 minute commute. Now that’s what I call distance learning.
People engage with brands that are aspirational – an extension of who they are or who they hope to be. Brands need to optimise and customise for that consumer’s future.
We need to resolve the tension between Ambition and Protection – in China everyone wants to get ahead, but people are still respectful of societal norms that frown upon blatant individualism as family and clan are still the basic unit of society.
It was a bit puzzling to see a Singaporean dude share Baidu’s plans for global expansion, which seemed really legit in a race to get the non-English speaking countries like Brazil and Thailand whom they see as similar to China. Baidu already has partnerships in place that will see their mobile browser get into the Middle East and Africa due to their allegedly fast rendering HTML5 engine and their compression technology.
Well that’s pretty much it for the first day. Looking forward to what I can glean off tomorrow’s sessions.
March 4th, 2013
With 14 days to go on its crowd-founding campaign and already above 150% of its initial targets, the game Riot aims tells the story of recent high profile protests like the ones in Italy and Egypt. The art style is very reminiscent of the mobile game Superbrothers: Swords and Swocery EP, but Riot aims to be more than a game, but more of a ‘playable documentary’. Riot will send research teams out to places like Greece and Egypt to gather first hand accounts to incorporate into the game – already the screenshots show a couple of iconic scenes from recent protests.
While there is a careful political balance the creators have to maintain, players can pick either side of the clash. Admittedly, gameplay details are still lacking at the moment, but given the buzz around it online this will be one to look out for when it launches. It will come to PC, Mac, iOS, Android and also Ouya.
March 3rd, 2013
The Festival of Media Asia will be held at the W Singapore at the Sentosa Cove from the 3rd to 5th of March and I will have the good fortune of attending it.
As my first ‘proper’ conference as a delegate (technically I’m there to work), I am particularly excited about attending these sessions:
Will be looking to blog my learnings so stay tuned!
February 27th, 2013
Podcasts are near and dear to my heart. It keeps me company during my hour long commute to and back from (school initially, but now) work. What started as an entertaining way to pass the time to find the latest and greatest video games has now evolved into an important learning tool so time is rarely wasted, whether I’m commuting or waiting for someone. Here are three that I have really enjoyed recently.
Aside from his daily job of being a renowned photographer and director, Chase Jarvis regularly tapes a live show interviewing the who’s who in the creative space. He has had everyone from Tim Ferris (4 Hour Workweek) to Travis Rice (The Art of Flight) on his show which seeks to find the creative spark behind these people. Videos are available here but I tend to lean towards the audio version.
Join video game art director Karen Chu and her Tribe of Trivia Touting Troublemakers as they discuss trivia about pretty much everything under the sun. What is the history of the humble M&M? Did you know that there is a secret island in DisneyWorld? Always puts a smile on my face.
The Minter Dialogue is a UK podcast about branding and digital marketing. I highly recommend MDE49, the episode where host Minter Dial interviews Jeremy Waite, head of Social Consulting for Adobe in EMEA. This gives an amazing insight onto that nagging question, what is the ROI of social media?
February 20th, 2013
So while the White House might have politely declined to fund the project, it hasn’t stopped this enterprising fan from crowd sourcing construction of a new Death Star. This ambitious project is looking at a funding level of £20,000,000, but with a stretch goal of £54,300,000,000,000,000 (Fifty-four quadrillion, three hundred trillion pounds). Even then, they are looking to keep costs low by using open sourced hardware and software. To be honest, I’m pretty sure I would want a bespoke and proprietary system to be built for my own planet destroying moon but hey, what do I know.
At time of writing, the project has already raised over £72,000 from 535 backers and has 53 days to go. Disappointed that the US government did not green light this project? Well now you can vote with your wallet!
February 6th, 2013
Wow. Just, wow. This keyboard concept created by designers Maxim Mezentsev & Aleksander Suhih features a minimalist design that changes the e-ink display on each key according to the application that is running. It looks amazing and runs wirelessly and I can imagine blanking out all the keys might be popular amongst those who are keen to (re)learn touch typing.
Obvious comparisons can be drawn to the gaming-centric (and more colorful) Razer Deathstalker. It might lack color keys and a hybrid touchpad-screen, but there is much to be said about the more elegant design as well as being able to change the display on all the keys. Different strokes for different folks, however, I sure know which camp I fall into.
source: Yanko Designs
February 4th, 2013
When my buddy Jon Cloonan asked what I would like from his trip to the states awhile back, I jumped at the chance to get my hands on the much hyped Nike+ Fuelband. In order to hit my daily target of Nike Fuel (arbitrary space points that approximates energy expanded that day), I climbed many a stairs, walked several bus stops and it was ten days before I very disappointedly missed my first target – only because I forgot to wear it that day.
Fast forward three months. The allure of having a product that isn’t available locally is pretty much gone, I have a long streak under my belt which I will probably never reach again but a couple more missed days which I don’t feel as bad about anymore. I still wear it everyday, and there are a couple of things I really like, but a couple others really irk me.
While all of Nike’s collaterals say that it should be able to withstand a splash here and there, I have confirmed that taking a shower with the Nike+ Fuelband isn’t really a problem, thankfully!
In my experience, I have yet to have the Fuelband die on me. I’ve come close after about 7 days, but eventually I remember it needs charging. And it charges pretty quick too.
It’s rubbery plastic band feels great and doesn’t smell despite me running a bunch wearing it, but it attracts dust like sugar to ants and is frustratingly difficult to get off. What’s up with that?
It started out working fine, that I could just plug the USB end of the Fuelband into my computer and let it sync. This gave tons of useful data such as what time how much fuel was earned, daily totals as well as cute animated achievements (ok, not that useful, but still fun!). Then one day, it just stopped. When I try to log in, it now takes me back to the log in screen, whether I use Facebook Connect, Twitter Connect, or my username and password. How queer.
This would be fine if I could sync on the go in the first place. But unfortunately for me, I no longer own an iOS device which the mobile app is available for.. They have assured me that an Android version is on it’s way, but I really can’t wait for it to be ready!
All in all, I still really like the Fuelband as a cool looking watch and it’s a nice conversation starter especially given lots of people have never heard of one. But now that body tracking gadgets are becoming a thing with not just niche companies like fitbit and jawbone but more mainstream players, Nike really has its work cut out for it when it launches its next version.
February 2nd, 2013