Surface RT Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Microsoft' started by Steve S, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. Steve S

    Steve S Scribbler - Standard Member Super Moderator

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    It's only going to be a few more days before Surface RT is hands on. Feel free to post RT-specific comments and questions of general interest here.

    Of course, you can also start an individual discussion thread if you want. This thread will be pinned to the top of the forum once it starts to develop.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2012
  2. Steve S

    Steve S Scribbler - Standard Member Super Moderator

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    Will Surface RT support pen input?

    A close reading of the Surface RT spec sheet reveals an interesting line: "Pen Input - Capacitive pen..." Unfortunately, no other details are provided.

    So, invoking the principle of "shame on me if I don't at least ask..." I called Microsoft's sales line and asked if Microsoft intended to sell a dedicated pen as a Surface RT accessory. The surprising answer was: Yes! According to the sales rep, the pen will be the same pen furnished with Surface Pro. Initial availability has not yet been set.

    Since pen support has always been something of a mystery with Surface RT, I decided to double check this information. I started an online chart with another Microsoft rep... and essentially got the same answer! I'm not going to say that this definitively answers the question, but it is encouraging. Having championed pen input for years, it's nice to know that Microsoft apparently didn't throw it under the Surface RT bus...
     
  3. jhoff80

    jhoff80 Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Well, I hope so, but I'm not holding my breath either. I mean, some of Microsoft's sales reps are also saying things like "the Surface RT has Windows 8 on it," and apparently two reps told a writer at The Verge "that I'd be able to install my Steam games on the Surface with Windows RT. One qualified that it would only work so long as I transfered them over USB."

    With Surface looming, Microsoft fails to explain Windows 8 vs. Windows RT to consumers | The Verge

    It sounds like they haven't been actually trained on anything related to this stuff yet. I suspect when they say "capacitive pen" in the specs, they just mean the same old type of capacitive stylus that is used on the iPad. I'd absolutely love to be wrong though.
     
  4. Steve S

    Steve S Scribbler - Standard Member Super Moderator

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    <<...I suspect when they say "capacitive pen" in the specs, they just mean the same old type of capacitive stylus that is used on the iPad...>>

    Joe: I share your reservations. All I can say is that the sales rep on the telephone call seemed to have his act together, and didn't do any hemming or hawing.

    Time will tell...
     
  5. Mhotep

    Mhotep Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Good to know about the pen.
     
  6. nnthemperor

    nnthemperor Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    By capacitive pen, doesn't it mean those sausage pens? Nothing to be excited about. With Samsung pushing digital pen of late, one would have expected the surface RT to have a digitizer as a bonus feature. Wow! MS is really going after the iPad .
     
  7. Mhotep

    Mhotep Scribbler - Standard Member

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  8. Steve S

    Steve S Scribbler - Standard Member Super Moderator

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    <<...To help out, here is a youtube channel with a lot of the videos on it...>>

    M: Great that you are contributing, but I think this fits more properly in the Surface general discussion thread. I know that the topics will wonder around a bit, but this thread is intended specifically for Surface RT issues and discussion.

    As we get closer to its launch, I'll put up a Surface Pro Discussion Thread, too. Hopefully, each of these threads will make it easy for folks to find the most noteworth bits of information on these new tablet entries...
     
  9. Steve S

    Steve S Scribbler - Standard Member Super Moderator

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    UPDATE2: OK; jhoff80 found the reference, again. I was looking at another version of the specs. In particular, the Pen Input entry says: "Capacitive pens available for purchase." Looking again at this wording, I'm inclined to agree with nnthemporer; they seem to be saying that existing third-party capacitive pens can be used if you want. A disappointment, for sure...

    UPDATE1: Uh-oh... I just went back to the Surface web site to get a better handle on the words that described the "Pen Input," and the reference in the spec sheet is now gone! Maybe it was a mistake after all? I guess we're just going to have to continue to wait and see...

    <<...By capacitive pen, doesn't it mean those sausage pens?..>>

    nnthe: Yes, it certainly still could be; that's what I was trying to clarify. At the moment, I'm inclined to believe the Microsoft rep (that it's the Perceptive Pixel pen) if only because he had the answer immediately and mentioned that it wasn't yet available. That's not a lot to go on, but he just sounded like he knew what he was talking about!

    For reference:

    Welcome | Perceptive Pixel and...

    Active Stylus
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2012
  10. Mhotep

    Mhotep Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Completely sold out online at Microsoft online store.
     
  11. jhoff80

    jhoff80 Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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  12. 123Fels

    123Fels Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Yes, only capacitive pen on the Surface RT is clear to me.
    Capacitive touch and active pen both on surface RT? No, i don't think so. When Microsoft announced the Surface Pro they specifically mentioned that "THIS surface has two digitizers". THIS should mean that the other Surface, the RT, does not.
    Microsoft Surface Windows 8 Tablet : Keynote - YouTube (at Minute 25:20)

    ...

    the dedicated functions for pen input are there in Windows RT. Look at the picture. that keyboard has the pen-input symbol down right.

    pen input.jpg

    this should be useful also with capacitive sausage-pen Input.
    And Office 2013 has the allow fingers to draw Option in OneNote.
    but just capacitive i think allways means no pressure sensitivity with the pen..and no Palm rejection, at least as we know it.
    At least active pens or inductive digitizers are in mind for future Windows RT tablets (currently announced RT tablets lack active pens or inductive digitizers, seam all to be only capacitive).
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2012
  13. 123Fels

    123Fels Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Question for functionality of capacitive pens:
    On my dual digitizer wacom based win8 rtm tablet-pc, i cannot get to ink in Microsoft design style bla UI using the capacitive touch. Not in modern pdf Reader, not in OneNote MX. It just works with the wacom-Stylus.
    So how will it be possible to use a capacitive pen for inking like with my wacom stylus in modern Reader and in OneNote mx later with the surface RT?
    So maybe there is really some one more thing with the capacitive pen to activate inking functions in Metro MS style UI?
    this whole Windows RT is so unclear in so many ways.(i am a user of MS tablet-PCs for seven years - this new things are hard to implement consistently)
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2012
  14. Steve S

    Steve S Scribbler - Standard Member Super Moderator

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    <<...Question for functionality of capacitive pens...>>

    ...At this point, I think we probably have to just wait until the Surface RT goes hands-on. (sigh)

    I can understand secrecy before a product goes on sale, but once it's introduced it's ridiculous that questions like this can't be clearly answered especially because it will take about three seconds to touch the RT's screen with a third-party cap stylus and see if it works (which it should, I guess)...
     
  15. jhoff80

    jhoff80 Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Yeah, the reason for this is because Windows detects pen input using an active digitizer as something different from finger input, and a capacitive stylus is seen as another finger. In OneNote 2013 (and earlier) there's an option to draw or write using touch, so I suspect that the final version of OneNote MX will have that option too. Not sure if they'll update the PDF Reader app to do so though, since it's a pretty hidden (and basic) feature anyway. The preview "Project Austin" app also has a button to allow for switching input modes using touch as well, though. And things like Fresh Paint just use touch to be the same thing as a pen input.

    So I guess it depends on the developers, but I feel like that will eventually be an option for at least OneNote MX.
     
  16. Steve S

    Steve S Scribbler - Standard Member Super Moderator

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    A better-than-average Surface RT review with lots of photos. Note, in particular, the photo of the Surface on someone's lap. Not the most natural use setting, I'm sure, but apparently at least marginally workable:

    Microsoft Surface review | Tablets Reviews | TechRadar

    (Thanks to TechRadar for this review)
     
  17. Steve B

    Steve B Moderator Moderator

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    That was actually a really interesting read. Things I noted immediately-

    -travel on the TypeCover keys was much better than expected
    -typing on the TouchCover was even better than expected
    -typing on your lap was much better than expected (I'd like to hear WAY more on this though)
    -feeling and design of the covers and build was very good
    -clearly no pen for the RT :(

    I'm still a bit suspicious of the covers and kickstand, honestly, but this was a surprisingly positive review for both of them. Cool!
     
  18. Bronsky

    Bronsky Wait and Hope. Senior Member

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    The Typing Cover has the same sensors as the Sidewinder? I love my Sidewinder. That is good news indeed.

    If typing in your lap is that important to you, I would get a samsung S7H or wait for the Thinkpad Hydis. But, for a table top mobile device, I am very pleased to hear that you can do serious typing on the Typing Cover. Once more reason to wait for the Surface Pro. Now, when can we expect them Microsoft?
     
  19. Steve B

    Steve B Moderator Moderator

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    Can you explain what's special about the Sidewinder tech? It's be helpful to hear some info re: the tech in the Surface's covers from a realworld users perspective.
     
  20. jhoff80

    jhoff80 Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    There's a PCMag review that was put out and then pulled, but it's still available in Google's cache:
    Microsoft Surface with Windows RT Review & Rating | PCMag.com


    One big thing to note is despite claims of the HD video out being proprietary, it's just a standard microHDMI:

     
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