Why I Bought A Microsoft Pro Tablet

Surface-Pro-Tablet-AI packed up my awesome custom-configured Sony Vaio laptop with turbo boost processor and sent it back to the manufacturer Monday so the company could replace the LCD screen. Rather than purchase another laptop, I bought a Surface Pro Saturday, and decided for the next two weeks I would work from the tablet.

The FedEx guy came right on time to pick up the Vaio and ship it to Sony in Texas. So here I am. Just me and the Surface Pro, hard keyboard, and VGA connector that allows me to view everything on a big screen. I absolutely love the ability to touch the screen similar to a smartphone, and thought I would lose the capability when connecting the tablet to the monitor, but I didn't.

I have wanted a touchscreen monitor ever since I saw Ray Ozzie, former Microsoft CTO and chief scientist, demonstrate the ability to move tiles on a touch monitor screen in the early 2000s.

Believe me, I stress about whether I could survive two weeks on a mere tablet, and wonder whether organic search results will become more or less satisfying than on a laptop. Another positive feature about the Surface Pro: it accepts most third-party apps. The worst: it doesn't have a CD or DVD drive to download older software that likely won't run on Windows 8 anyway, and it requires you to answer a bucket full of questions before downloading the Office suite.

I'm also beginning to understand the reasons behind Google’s move to combine tablet with desktop and laptop paid-search ad bidding, although marketers can still get separate reports per device type. For me, it's not so much the size of the machine as much as the performance and the screen resolution. I’ve owned four laptops in nearly 20 years.

Google makes a strong argument for blurring the lines between laptops and tablets, but clients have expressed concerns, according to Roger Barnette, president at IgnitionOne. He said users are finding laptops and tablets interchangeable. We will see. So far, not quite -- but it's only day one for me.

Google likely combined tablet with desktop and laptop AdWords bidding in anticipation of performance levels on mobile devices eventually reaching the same levels as desktops, according to Matt Lawson, SVP at Marin Software. He points to Marin's 2013 Mobile Report and suggests that tablets are already headed that way. Given the current growth rates, we predict tablet conversion rates and cost-per-click would have equaled those of desktops by year end," he said. "Google's move may accelerate the convergence of tablet and desktop pricing, but it would likely have happened either way."

The Marin report found that cost-per-click prices for tablet search ad rose 25% in 2012. Experts believe CPCs will continue to rise. Marin suggests that tablet search could drive upwards of $5 billion in revenue for Google this year. The average CPC for paid-search ads on tablets was 17% lower than desktops, but that will change.

I expect it will be a challenge getting used to the tablet. I'll let you know how it all turns out when I get my laptop back.

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6 comments about "Why I Bought A Microsoft Pro Tablet".
  1. Larry Allen from 24/7 Real Media , February 12, 2013 at 4:16 p.m.
    Laurie - Glad to see you joined the @Surface club. I've been using my RT version since December and love, love, love it. I will never go back and the iPad is dead to me. L
  2. Mike Machado from Demand Local , February 12, 2013 at 4:19 p.m.
    Isn't plugging in a regular keyboard and a monitor make it like a watered down PC? Write about trying to make it through a workday using only a touchscreen and the stock keyboard it comes with. Now THAT would be a challenge.
  3. Ellie Becker from E.R. Becker Company, Inc. , February 12, 2013 at 8:38 p.m.
    Any reviews of technology platforms boil down to how we use our technology to meet our needs. I was set to buy the surface pro - which is way cool. but I had to weigh my budget, my business needs and make decisions about which technology platform to embrace. I made the decision to go with a large ultrabook with tons of power, memory, a built-in CD/DVD player - which is convenient for me - and running Windows 8. I decided to stay on the Windows platform based on my experience with the iPad, which will remain my portable option. but my business workhorse will be my new Sony Vaio T Series (the first Sony touchscreen model - just out and I would love to see a review here at some point) with an i7 processor with 1T; 24gb hard drive and everything else on my wish list. I will be very interested in seeing how the surface pro stands up to being the sole tech platform until the Vaio gets fixed. BTW...while they have it can they upgrade it to the touchscreen?
  4. Laurie Sullivan from lauriesullivan , February 13, 2013 at 11:39 a.m.
    Mike, I purchased an iPad on round one, and never used it for work related stuff because I couldn't stand the touch screen keyboard. Now it stores digital movies I download from iTunes, and sits next to the big screen TV in the living room. It quickly became an expensive storage device.
  5. Mike Machado from Demand Local , February 13, 2013 at 12:58 p.m.
    Hey Laurie, Totally agree that from a work productivity standpoint you can get more done with a Tablet Pro, than an iPad, I guess I'm not convinced that it can replace a PC for normal work duties outside of sending a few emails and some word processing.
  6. Laurie Sullivan from lauriesullivan , February 13, 2013 at 5:39 p.m.
    Well, Mike, I have to say that I've nearly made it through day two and I'm mentally exhausted. I'm so use to my laptop that I don't have to think abut how it works, but on the tablet I have to think about every move like how many swipes does it take to get from Bing to Word. Don't get me wrong. I really love the surface, but it's a whole lot more work working on the tablet compared with the laptop. I'm looking forward to day three. Stay tuned.