Best Smartphone Companion for Surface Devices

Discussion in 'Microsoft' started by dstrauss, Jun 23, 2016.

  1. desertlap

    desertlap Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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  2. jnjroach

    jnjroach Technology Strategist Super Moderator

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    I've been very close to the Surface Engineering Team as well as the Surface Global Marketing org...
     
  3. Marty

    Marty Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Maybe there's some confusion / behind-the-scenes shuffling during the recent company re-org?

    (Fortune)
    "Nadella announced that a variety of executives within those divisions have also been given new job descriptions. Panos Panay, who previously served as vice president of Microsoft’s Devices division, will now serve as Chief Product Officer for all hardware."

    So maybe the Surface division was folded into the new Devices division and that got reported as the whole Surface team "dissolving"?

    @jnjroach any idea if Panos' new role will let him spend more time in the design lab with Ralf & co? (It seems like he's been a bit distant from Surface team in the past 2 years...)
     
  4. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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    <<...It seems like he's been a bit distant from Surface team in the past 2 years...>>

    ...I think that part of the problem here is that, in terms of form factor, there is not much room left to innovate. The Surface Pro is pretty polished at this point. What's left to do but just incrementally upgrade the hardware? Same for the Studio, the Go, the Hub... They might get an OLED screen or a new processor, but the basic form factor doesn't really need changing...
     
  5. Marty

    Marty Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Bah! That's what they've been saying about laptops for years! And yet we keep get new interesting designs...

    The detachable Surface Book, dual-screen Zenbook Pro Duo, dual-hinged Vaio Duo -> Acer Triton 900/ConceptD 9. Even the small things, like Dell's "pen cubby". There's plenty of room for innovation! ;)

    (Also there's something to be said about Panos staying onboard to refine. I mean the first iPad was a far cry from the current iPad Pros. Imagine if the Surface line could show that kind of evolution.)
     
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  6. desertlap

    desertlap Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    So ,just to be clear I didn't make the "no one left" statement totally out of thin air. We interviewed a former surface team engineer early last year and he made sort of that claim when we asked him why he was leaving and had a similar conversation with our former long term contact at MS in the surface team when he told us he was moving to the xbox live group.

    And MS has a habit of spreading their best employees very thin. The staff @Steve S mentioned may nominally still hold those roles, but what else are they doing?

    The main point that @Marty brought up is that the current surface should be a lot more evolved for lack of a better term. Essentially it's only been tweaked with improved internals and a couple of peripherals. And the improvements in the current pros over the original iPads is dramatic.
     
  7. YVerloc

    YVerloc Scribbler - Standard Member

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    They have not yet begun to even scratch the surface of the form factor requirements for professional artists. The main ergonomic requirement for professional artists is that we are able to use their our full arm when drawing and painting. That is why we pretty much always buy the very biggest Cintiq available. If Wacom made a 50 inch cintiq (with 8k res) and sold it for 10k, we'd buy it. Another form factor requirement for professional artists, especially those who freelance, is that their work station is luggable - which a big-ass Cintiq is not. Luggable devices that meet the ergonomic requirements of professional artists DO NOT EXIST. Do not talk to me about how we're in the form-factor end game.

    Any manufacturer that delivered such a machine to the pro user base - which is comprised of power users and loyal evangelists - will get a huge brand boost that will ripple across their other products and services.
     
  8. desertlap

    desertlap Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    I somewhat agree with you about them not coming close in the pro artist market, but my question is if that market is big enough to justify the expense of R&D required (even a company as big as MS has finite resources)? Or do the Cintiqs of the world satisfy that market to the extent that it exists?

    My question is by no means meant to be negative. My own company exists because we make highly custom niche devices that the big companies wont/cant make. It's a question that we struggle with constantly even with our own customers e.g "XX is such a great device, have you guys thought about making YY? We'd buy them..."

    Or to put it in pure economic terms, we will build a "one off" device, if the customer is willing to pay the price for it including the full development, support and service implications of that.

    However, if the order is 10 devices say, the development costs are amortized over those 10 devices. Additionally if we think other customers in our base might want to buy that same device, we might amortize the development costs over a larger projected sales number.

    Even that's a negotiation though as sometimes the existence of such a device confers a competitive advantage for the customer, and they might not want to share.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2019
  9. YVerloc

    YVerloc Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Depends on how you account for the return on investment. The revenue from direct sales will surely be small. The business case for high end niche products depends entirely on how much value the high end adds to the brand as a whole. Not that many people who buy Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea Dweller watches are deep sea divers. The halo effect provided by the niche artist demographic is the reason why Apple still exists as a company - graphic designers carried that brand on their backs for more than a decade. The 'tangible' benefit of a high end product made for power users is difficult to quantify, surely. But past evidence suggests that serving your power users delivers a huge multiplier.
     
  10. Marty

    Marty Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Out of curiosity, have you ever been asked to build a custom Cintiq-like device? Maybe an AIO workstation conversion with pen input?

    How bout an extremely powerful custom tablet build, like a workstation laptop modded with an EMR digitizer?

    (I could think of many dream devices I've wished I had the budget/resources for over the years...you're making my mind run wild again! :D)
     
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