Surface Neo Pre-release Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Microsoft' started by JoeS, Oct 2, 2019.

  1. Bishop

    Bishop Scribbler - Standard Member

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    <Giving away my age here...>

    The form factor (fondly) reminds me of the half-size Day-Timer books I used to carry. Being left-handed, I could pen in OneNote on one screen and scroll in apps on the other. If "always on," could be a winner.

    If we could just get Microsoft to give OneNote a page-turning UI gesture ...
     
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  2. Cuberdon75

    Cuberdon75 Scribbler - Standard Member

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    I'm... not convinced. The handheld single screen device that can display infinity pages was in itself an immediate improvement over the unwieldy book format, which is "dual screen" simply as a legacy/consequence of its page-binding principle. The analog book's only persisting advantage (aside from being less strenuous on the eyes) is its ability to go back and forward in page flipping, which suits human memory better, but a double-screen digital device doesn't allow this.

    As for the cute "let's take advantage of the center bezel rather than be handicapped by it" UX features, if they're really that great, there's nothing about them that can't be reproduced graphically on a single screen.

    The "book paradigm" as far as I can tell is fake skeuomorphic progress.
     
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  3. jhoff80

    jhoff80 Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    And I loved all that back when the Courier concept video came out. But it just doesn't match my device usage anymore. Fullscreen video, that's something I use my laptop for a ton of the time. Fullscreen web browsing is another huge chunk. And a single Office window is another huge chunk. It's not something where I have a bunch of sources I need to pull information from (like back when I was in school), or pulling pictures of sneakers into a note (like the Courier video). Maybe there's some use case they could come up with that would blow me away, but I don't know why I'd want to give up the flexibility of a single screen (where I can use a two-page, side-by-side paradigm any time I want, while still being able to take advantage of the total screen space). There's really nothing they've shown that can't also be done with one large screen (except of course the folding up smaller - but like I mentioned in the previous post if it doesn't make it fit in my pocket that's not really an advantage to me).

    But again I find it to be really exciting that it exists and that they're working on this stuff (same with the Samsung Fold and all of these other devices that just aren't for me).
     
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  4. JoeS

    JoeS I'm all ears Senior Member

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    Yeah, fair enough. Another way of looking at it though is that you basically have a small-screen hybrid where you mostly use the lower screen as a stand or as a keyboard, PLUS the added bonus of being able to do a side-by-side view (bring your own tablet stand..) whenever it makes sense. Not sure if it's worth the trade-offs, but I'm sure it would feel pretty futuristic for a while. I'm not sold on the stick-on keyboard or stick-on stylus. Having bunch of fridge magnets all over a device that should also be able to fold inside out seems clunky. I imagine it would annoy me in daily use. Still, very cool, I do love that they actually made this thing.

    Edit: see, even Microsoft in its own demo room agrees that it needs a stand. That's very un-surface, I hope they manage to build in some kind of support. Doesn't have to look exactly like the full surface, but some kind of fold out/flip out stand would be great.

    upload_2019-10-2_19-59-31.png
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2019
  5. dellaster

    dellaster On Hiatus Senior Member

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    Nicely summed up! My feelings exactly, but better written. :vbsmile:
     
  6. burningorange

    burningorange Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Sorry to see that some of you are not keen on it, but well, at long last, the Neo is my dream tablet PC come true...

    I've been wanting a dual screen Moleskine/paperback book tablet PC for a very long time. I posted this Sketchup drawing of my dream device back in Nov 2005 in the old TabletPCBuzz forums (some of you may remember them). The Wayback Machine Internet Archive has the forum header page here. You can see my post title "A possible future slate design ?" under my name BurningOrange there; it had only 145 views and 9 replies apparently... That was three years before the Microsoft Courier announcement and the time I was using the Motion Computing LS800 as my only computer.

    Anyway, I've since had quite a series of tablet PCs that just weren't quite there yet but I think this Keanu Reeves is the One! Of course, I suspect there will still be things that will bug me, like no pen silo, no microSD, etc. We will see the full specs when it comes out, but it will fit my use case perfectly, even 15 years later.

    BurningOrange - 2005-10 - Duel screen tablet PC.jpg
     
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  7. Marty

    Marty Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    Wow, I didn't expect everyone to be so harsh on the new guy. We clamour for Microsoft to innovate and put out something new⁠—then skewer them for it. :p

    Imho you guys are focusing too much on the seam; that's just a limitation of current display tech. Eventually there will be durable foldable displays, and we will arrive right back at the same question:

    How best to make use of the foldable form-factor?

    The bottom line is you don't hold a book the same way as a slate. Cradling the spine offers a more intimate view of the content. That is why reading on a Kindle isn't as satisfying as reading an actual book.

    I mean look at this thing!
    [​IMG]
    Don't you just want to hold it? It's way more inviting than a slate. (and I love slates.)

    By releasing the Neo, Microsoft is prepping a platform for developers to think and envision how to optimize UX for folding devices.

    It's a smart move to ensure that future Windows software actually feels modern on upcoming hardware (and not suffer the same fate that x86 software is suffering right now, compared to Apple iOS). C'mon guys, they deserve props!
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2019
  8. Cuberdon75

    Cuberdon75 Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Setting eye strain aside, ergonomically, I've enjoyed reading from my smartphone much, much more than I ever have reading a book, and this is coming from someone who's always been a voracious reader and bibliophile. E. g. lying in bed with a book I always end up having to switch between lying on one side or the other. And you *have* to lie down and/or find a way for furniture to support the book at some point as a book just can't be held single handedly for very long.

    Which is why a double-screen Kindle would only bring disadvantages. It still wouldn't offer real forward-and-back page flipping, one of the few advantages of real books, while ergonomically it would kill all the comfort of a handheld single screen.

    Now of course a foldable *single screen* would offer wonderful space-saving advantages, but that's just on account of its foldability, not because it otherwise resembles a book.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2019
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  9. dellaster

    dellaster On Hiatus Senior Member

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    Actually, no. Reading an actual book is not, for me, as satisfying as reading an ebook. I dump the dead tree things whenever a digital copy becomes available. Or I wait in the first place. Diff’rent strokes, ya know? I’ve been a digital book reader for over 15 years.

    So the “book” paradigm does nothing for me. No, I misspoke: it’s a negative for me. Too awkward.

    I’ll wait for folding screens to be perfected, as I mentioned before. Even if it takes years and years.
     
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  10. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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    No single form factor is going to suit everyone. Different strokes, ya' know.

    For myself, I'm happy that Microsoft took this (for them) bold step. I think it looks like a great idea, but it's still only a prototype. So you know what? I'm going to wait and see how it evolves up to its release. And then I'll test drive it before judging whether it fits my lifestyle or not. Same goes for the drawing experience. Maybe the gap will be troublesome, but maybe the software can help to mitigate the issue (e.g., easy panning). We'll see...
     
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