surface 3

I used to work in management consulting. We’d travel overseas on Mondays, do work at the client site over the week and return on Fridays. Rinse, repeat, month after month. It was hard to maintain friendships back home this way, and when you’re alone in a foreign city, there wasn’t much else to do but work.

Work consisted of three things: White boarding to brainstorm and debate; Excel spreadsheets, which sometimes got so large and complex we had to turn off the automatic updating of cells; and huge PowerPoint files that could be the client’s 3-year strategic plan.

To do that, we lugged a 15-inch laptop everywhere we went. I don’t know how heavy my bag weighed with the laptop, power adaptor and all the printed files we’d invariably need, but it was like a ton of bricks. Consider how much walking we did in airports, hotels and offices — it was gruelling.

This is a long lead-in for a Surface Pro 3 (SP3) review, but you can see where this is going. For someone working in that kind of job, an SP3 would have been a godsend. It would have changed the quality of my life in a meaningful way, and that is why I always believed in Microsoft’s vision for the Surface.

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Congratulations to Ashwin, Aniela and Jesus (!) for getting the three OnePlus One invites. Gentle reminder that invites have a time limit, so please place your orders before they expire. Once you get your phones, check out my nine suggestions for improving usability.

With that announcement out of the way, it just occurred to me who should adopt OnePlus’ marketing strategy: Microsoft with the Surface 3. To recap, the OnePlus One strategy is to sell flagship devices to tech geeks as a loss leader to generate hype and demand (see here for the blueprint).

I don’t think the Lumia is a good fit for this strategy as consumers won’t have an easy way to compare the value of a Lumia to an iPhone or Android, so its ability to act as a loss leader is limited. But that restriction doesn’t apply to the Surface, which competes with 300 million PCs shipped every year.

Microsoft should create a Surface 3 that is priced aggressively: one with a beastly Nvidia Tegra K1 chip, pen digitizer, Surface Pro 3 display, and a thinner and lighter profile than its predecessor.

Charge $199 for this device. With Office included.

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