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Surface Pro: Docking Station Coming? 6-7GB Extra Free Storage Space?

February 6, 2013 1 Comment

The Surface team held an AMA over at Reddit today and we found ut a bit more about the Surface Pro which will be available this weekend. Things that caught my attention were the fact that the final builds were found to have an additional 6GB-7GB of free space compared to earlier predictions (eg. 23GB available on 64GB and 83GB available on the 128GB system). Also the fact that the Surface Pro has extra connectors at the bottom of the device for unknown accessories, possibly a docking station.


Q. What are the new connectors on the bottom of the Surface Pro for?

A. Wow – I’m pumped you caught that – we haven’t announced what they are for but they aren’t an accident!  At launch we talked about the “accessory spine” and hinted at future peripherals that can click in and do more.  Those connectors look like can carry more current than the pogo pins, don’t they?

Q. Thanks for doing this AMA. My question is, why did Microsoft not work at improving the battery life of the Pro? Reviews put it between 4 to 5 hours of battery life, which is much lower than competitors. Surely something could have been done?

Side question: Can we ever expect a 3G/4G Surface RT and/or Surface Pro?

A. Awesome question.  The product was designed to take full advantage of Windows 8 coupled with the Ivy Bridge core processor from Intel.  We created a product that did not compromise speed, performance in any way.  With that, we wanted to be the best notebook/laptop product in its class, but still deliver you the tablet form factor.  This product is optimized in every way to take advantage of the full third generation core i5 it runs, yet give the best battery life.  If you compare it to say a MacBook Air, you will quickly see that pound for pound in battery size vs battery life, you will find optimizations that puts Surface best in its class.

That said we picked a smaller battery to be sure we were able to give you the same performance and to keep it thin.  This kept the weight under 2lbs, and still kept it thin enough to take advantage of our great Windows work for inking and give you a great inking experience (like pressure sensitive inking, ability to do kanji, great sketching).  While these tradeoffs are challenges as much as they are opportunities, we think given the performance and experience you will be getting, it is an exciting product.

Q. Why did you allocate the storage space in the way you did?

Surely you could have anticipated the bad press you’re currently getting for shipping with relatively low free storage space?

A. We designed Surface Pro (and the allocation of disk space on our systems) to have the power of full Windows 8, the ability to have a simplified and fast upgrade to full Office and the confidence of a recovery image already available on your device. Beyond the flexibility and confidence this provides, we also include an ability to extend your storage via microSDXC, USB 3.0 and SkyDrive (including 7GB of free storage).   Initial reports out regarding available disk space were conservative (eg. 23GB available on 64GB and 83GB available on the 128GB system), however our final production units are coming in with ~6-7GB additional free space.

Available disk space is a design choice and a tough one to make as an engineering team.  It is a clear set of tradeoffs to provide the customer more space while providing them the tools out of the box.  We created a simple disk image with only a few critical applications out of the box installed to provide choice.  There has also been questions about why including the recovery image by default.  Ideally, you will never need your recovery image, however this is a choice we would prefer the customer to make vs. having the customer need the recovery image not realizing they needed to create one themselves. Marc DesCamp

We decided to ship a Pro 64GB sku as it provides full windows 8 and enough storage for a number of large application installs such as games, productivity apps etc.  which usually run in the multiple GBs.  It also provides you flexibility to extend storage should you need.  If you plan to carry more personal items with you locally, our 128GB may be the better option for you.


You can read more at Reddit

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