Microsoft (MSFT) has announced that it will launch the newest version of the Surface tablet on February the 9th. The Surface Windows 8 Pro (a ridiculous name in my opinion, should have simply been called the Surface Pro) is similar to Microsoft's Surface RT tablet on the exterior, with a 10.6-inch screen and support for Touch and Type Covers.
However, pen/stylus support, a Full HD display coupled with an Intel Core i5 processor means this tablet should be significantly better than its Windows RT predecessor.
Or will it?
Apparently, Microsoft has confirmed that the new Windows 8 device will have a smaller amount of storage space than expected. A company spokesperson has confirmed to The Verge that the 64GB edition of Surface Pro will have 23GB of free storage out of the box while the 128GB model will have 83GB of free storage.
It seems that the Windows 8 install, built-in apps, and a recovery partition will take up a whopping 41GB total on the base Surface Pro model. 23GB of storage space on a device that is advertised as a 64GB device is unacceptable in my view.
In a response to Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet, a Microsoft spokesperson said the following:
Surface Pro has a USB 3.0 port for connectivity with almost limitless storage options, including external hard drives and USB flash drives. Surface also comes pre-loaded with SkyDrive, allowing you to store up to 7GB of content in the cloud for free. The device also includes a microSDXC card slot that lets you store up to 64GB of additional content to your device. Customers can also free up additional storage space by creating a backup bootable USB and deleting the recovery partition.
I believe that this is not acceptable going forward because the average consumer will not be savvy enough to understand the difference. Consumers already confused about the Windows RT/Windows 8 differences may find this new wrinkle outrageous and may opt out of buying this device.
In addition, I believe the price of this device may be prohibitive as well. In a poll taken on Windows8update.com, 59% of over 1000 respondents indicated that the price of the Surface Pro (approximately $1100 with a keyboard) was too high.
In yet another more recent poll on the site, consumers seem to be indicating that the new (non discounted) pricing on the Windows 8 Operating System itself ($129 and $199) may be a hard sell.
In my view, the expensive price of the device combined with the storage space issue may be a lethal combination that may significantly hinder mass adoption of the Microsoft Surface Windows 8 Pro.
Since Microsoft in its statement (see above) indicates that storage space can be saved by "creating a backup bootable USB and deleting the recovery partition," it seems like a logical solution would be for them to do this before the device is sold and include a USB drive for free with the device.
I would be cautious about expecting great numbers from the initial Microsoft Surface Windows 8 Pro until steps are taken to both lower the price of the device and correct the storage issue.
Additional disclosure: While I have no business relationship with Microsoft of any sort, I am the owner and editor of a Windows 8 website (Windows8update.com) and I write primarily about Microsoft for a living.