Oct 26th, 2012 publishUpdated   Feb 23rd, 2015, 12:55 pm

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I love Android, but I also love tech in general, and I like to stay open minded. Let me tell you: I haven’t seen this much excitement around a Microsoft product (Microsoft Surface, Windows 8) since, well… ever. Just take a look at the NYC Times Square launch (especially 2:45):

The whole vibe of the night was very Apple-ish. The crowd was immense. The line to get in was HOURS long. People were buying Surfaces like cakes of epic hotness. We even saw a bunch of people make the purchase, hoist their Surface above their heads, scream “Surfaccceeeee!” in a Braveheartesque battle cry moment, and run wildly out the door to an outrageous applause.

You could say, “whatever, it’s Times Square, people be crazy yo,” but when is the last time you’ve seen such an unapologetically excited crowd for an Android or iOS launch (outside of Chris Chavez at Google IO) let alone Microsoft launch? Microsoft has created a new feeling in the air. It almost feels like a new company. To be honest, it reminds me of the buzz surrounding WebOS and the Palm Pre. Only Microsoft has almost unlimited funds and isn’t going anywhere. Except maybe up.

People were even asking the developers of Surface for their autographs. Check out this moment between Mike Angiulo and Panos Panay, two of the head honchos of Microsoft Surface, immediately following the unveiling:

The kicker in this whole thing is that the Surface itself could live up to the hype. I played with it for quite awhile and had several immediate impressions:

  • Wow, this thing is silky smooth
  • Wow, this thing works remarkably well as a laptop
  • Wow, I wish my laptop had a touchscreen like this (found myself using it a lot)
  • This is kind of weird… I wish the start screen looked more like a list of apps rather than live tiles
  • Oh, if you click search it just alphabetically lists your apps. Nice.
  • The wows continued…

The Surface had its fair share of hiccups as well, and of course (as with any new tech) there is a learning curve, but nothing that would throw a red flag or easily patched. The process of setting up your Surface for the first time is a bit cumbersome and has some oddities. There are some other quirks and weird things going on as well, and we had trouble accessing the “Store” with the demo units, but all-in-all the product looks solid. And it’s definitely new, different, and falls inline with Microsoft’s concept and innovative feel for Windows Phone.

But making a good product isn’t enough. Microsoft is competing with two juggernauts in Android and iOS who have a first mover (or first succeeder?) advantage with not only their products, but their app/game markets, and their marketing/branding. The past two years of Android vs iOS discourse has been so ubiquitous that it’s practically subliminal. Now Microsoft is trying to Shamwow shimmy it into a 3-way match. Will they be successful?

We know the scale it tilted towards Android with our readership, but we also know we’ve got a bright bunch of loyal readers who are able to objectively address other tech. Regardless of what YOU plan on buying, we’re curious how you think Windows 8 and the Microsoft Surface positions the company in their battle against Android and iOS.


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