Microsoft has issued a new driver to “enhance mass deployments” of its Surface 3 typoslab.
Redmond says the driver will “bring the Surface 3 deployment experience in line with its more business-oriented sibling, Surface Pro 3. The update includes new and enhanced features including those expected in a larger-scale commercial environment such as enhanced PXE booting and support for asset tagging.”
The download won’t appear in Windows Update: if you want to ease the burden of managing a fleet of Surface 3 machines, you’ll need to go and get it yourself.
The Surface 3 isn’t the world’s gruntiest typoslab: an Atom CPU lies within, there’s not a lot of storage to play with and while the screen is a respectable 10.8 inches that’s not a great size for working all day.
Which probably isn’t what Microsoft expects mass deployments of Surface 3 devices will entail. Instead, the 10.8 inch form factor gives Microsoft a nice iPad alternative, but with all the fun of management and deployment from familiar Windows tools.
The Surface 3 Pro is a lovely machine but with prices starting at US$799 looks a little pricey for field force workers. The Surface 3 kicks in at $499, is more portable than the Pro 3 and is now easier to deploy.
Easier than an iPad? Almost certainly in Windows-centric businesses. That the Surface 3 is a full-featured PC won’t hurt either and nor will Microsoft’s one code to rule them all plans for Windows apps.
The Reg therefore suggests this release is about Microsoft positioning the Surface 3 as a device for mobile process workers: couriers, repair folks and the like don’t need to spend hours behind a spreadsheet. Yes, Apple has a fine product in this category. But the Apple/IBM alliance is yet to explain how it will mobilise enterprise apps or deliver a consistent experience across devices. Microsoft’s story on those matters is strong, making this driver something of a trojan horse. In the nicest-possible sense of the term. ®