@JohnAskew: My problem is actually with the sensors, mostly. What I want in a device.
- Tablet usage for casual consumption.
- Keyboard for light mobile usage.
- Some way to use full size monitors/keyboards for extended serious usage.
- Enough processing power to be able to develop on the device.
- All of the sensors, so I can actually test software I write for the platform.
Surface Pro comes close, but it's lacking in sensors (specifically GPS). I'm also not sure about the "docking" capabilities here. I know it's not going to have real docking support, but it's got the right ports to allow "poor mans" docking. Only thing is, I'm not sure after reading reviews that it really could manage this. The other devices I've looked at are all fairly similar. Even if I shell out the money for an i7 based device (which might do very poorly as a tablet due to battery life) none of them come with a full array of sensors, and only one makes any claims about docking (and that one's running the Atom SOC).
We're in the same boat. We're looking to do a hardware refresh for our developers next year and it would be a great plus to add a tablet to the mix. The first thought would be to go all-in and get a Pro tablet, dock etc. to replace our workstations but they fall short in a few areas:
- Multi-monitor support (you can do it via USB but that seems too taxing and slow)
- Memory - I believe the highest config I've seen is 8GB. We'd like to go 16GB.
Going with an RT tablet, dumb workstation, and virtual machines setup as developer desktops on one beefy server is another way we're looking at going as it gives you everything:
- Highly available developer VM (on dumb workstation or RT tablet)
- Multi-monitor support on the dumb workstation.
- Scalable memory support in the developer VM
The concerns here are:
- Access to developer VMs from the field (when no Internet, no VM)
- Downtime from server hosting the VMs.
- Performance of things like Intellisense in VS when the VM server is bogged down even momentarily -- no one likes to be interrupted.
- Device connectivity -- I've never had great experiences with devices support on VMs. We do a lot of Android development and debugging over native USB is bad enough -- I can't imagine how well that would work running on the RT tablet over a VPN connection.
I hope there will be a new round of Pro devices early next year that address our initial issues with this first batch as that would be the best solution overall.
Unrelated: Anyone know why Microsoft went without GPS on the Surface tablets? Do they think that will get people to buy a WP8 device in addition to the tablet? As a consumer I can see a common use case where I'm in a coffee shop with my Surface tablet and want to locate Chinese food nearby, or plan my bus trip home, or see where my friends are in relationship to my location. Why wouldn't Microsoft think these use cases were valid? WiFi and cell tower triangulation never have been that accurate for me and to have to rely on that or whip out my phone with its less generous screen seems silly.