Before you go out and buy that $899 Surface Pro, make sure you know what you’re getting: Of the 64 GB storage capacity, only 23 GB are available to you. Microsoft confirmed the specification details to The Verge on Tuesday, stating that the Windows install files, recovery partition and built-in Windows software apps are taking up the bulk of the device’s flash storage. While all computing devices have some storage taken up by system software, Microsoft’s Surface devices are the first I can recall that take up the majority of the storage capacity.
In this day and age, I don’t find the situation acceptable. Why? Because a consumer is paying for a device with 64 GB of storage but only getting to use 36 percent of that storage. A more acceptable percentage would be more than double that, in my opinion. Of course, you can always add extra storage through USB or memory cards, but after spending upwards of $899, does that sound like an appealing choice?
While users can create their own recovery drive, it’s an extra step that most won’t do and none should have to do. I hate to point to Apple, since I don’t want to start Windows v. OS X flame wars, but the USB recovery that came with my MacBook Air is a perfect example of such a customer-oriented solution.
This situation is similar on Microsoft’s $499 32 GB Surface RT, which has about half of the storage free and it tells me that Microsoft Windows isn’t really a lightweight operating system for mobile devices.
While I understand that Microsoft has hundreds of millions of legacy Windows users to support, there’s still too much cruft in Windows that isn’t needed for truly mobile devices.
This is the same problem that Microsoft has always had: trying to use Windows to be one solution for every type of user. At this point, I’m starting to think the company would have been better off scaling Windows Phone up to tablets instead of trying to scale Windows 8 down to them.