Earlier today the team behind Microsoft Surface did an AMAA (ask me almost anything) on Reddit. Panos Panay, and the engineering team, answered questions for about two hours. The Reddit community grilled the team on questions from a wide range of topics. Below are just a few of the good ones.
Q: How big is the install of Windows RT? Meaning if I get a 32gb unit, how much free space will I have? Can I save downloaded Apps to the SD card so it doesnt take up primary storage space?
A: After the OS, OfficeRT and a bunch of apps, you will still have more that 20GB. As you say, you can always add an SD card and while you cannot add apps there, you can get music, movies and photos there.
Q: Quick question regarding the cover. If you flip the cover back, say to rest the tablet flat on a surface or to hold it, is there a mechanism that disables the keyboard so that it’s not randomly typing? (This would be when the cover is flipped to the back of the device)
A: Yes absolutely. Both TouchCover and TypeCover have sensors that understand orientation relative to Surface… in fact 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 3 positions modes: Closed (keys and mouse are off), Open to 180 degrees (keyboard and mousepad on), beyond 180 degrees to the back (keys and mouse off). That way you can flip back the covers and feel secure you are not pressing keys by mistake.
Q: Why is there no 3G/4G option for the Surface?
A: 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 that the primary use was going to be in the home, we looked at tablet sales data 2/3 WiFi, 1/3 Mobile Broadband. Of the 1/3 sold, 1/2 were activated. Phone hotspot / tethering use was also a consideration.
Q: How does the Surface team interact with other Microsoft teams? Meaning, did you work with other hardware divisions at Microsoft? Did other divisions have input on Surface?
Side-question: How does the original Surface (Now PixelSense) team feel about you stealing their name? :P
A: We used a ton of our learnings and history to be sure we had the right balance of support and expertise to build Surface. That said, we built Surface in a very confidential matter. Only those that needed know, did know.
The Pixelsense team is part of the Surface team :-)… They feel pretty good!
Q: Would you rather fight 100 surface sized ducks or 1 horse sized surface?
A: For sure 1 horse sized surface… put too many of these things together, and they are unstoppable.
Much, much more over on the Reddit thread.