Jeff Bezos, chief executive of Amazon, told me the company had done its own tests on its Kindle e-readers and Fire tablets to help hasten the changes. “We’ve done experiments,” he said. “We loaded a plane with Kindles.”
I asked what happened in the experiments. He looked at me as if I were asking the dumbest question he had ever heard. “Everybody landed,” he said. “It wasn’t a problem.”
Nick Bilton in his drive to investigate the truth whether personal electronic devices such as the Kindle readers and iPads actually affect in-flight navigation. Just search for “Nick Bilton flight” on Google for a history of his crusade.
Microsoft announced its own brand of tablets on Monday in Los Angeles. Called the Microsoft Surface, it comes in two variants, one running Windows RT, powered by an ARM processor, another running the full Windows 8 Pro environment with an Intel processor on board. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because Microsoft Surface was a touchscreen table (yes, table) which was released in 2007. The current version of that table has been renamed PixelSense.
How is the Surface different from the iPad? To begin with, it has a built in kickstand, a 10.6 inch high definition screen with a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio, and has a Windows logo on it (some people might miss this fact, really). It also has a USB and microSD ports as well as digital video connectors. Microsoft showed off the accompanying screen cover which doubles as an integrated keyboard and touchpad as well as a pen for the Pro version. Surface for RT will come in 32 and 64 GB versions while the Pro model gets a 64 and 128 GB options.
With Surface, Microsoft has decided to enter the hardware space for personal computers and compete with its own hardware partners in delivering devices running Windows 8. Previously it was more than happy to deliver just the software while letting partners figure out hardware manufacturing and assembly, but ever since the tablet market ran away without caring about Windows, Microsoft probably felt that it needed to rectify the situation.