updated 07:49 pm EDT, Thu June 21, 2012
Microsoft spills Surface development secrets
Microsoft was able to maintain a high level of secrecy before revealing its new Surface tablets due in part to the fact that the devices appear to have been developed in a literal underground bunker. Speaking with TechRadar, Microsoft hardware executive Stevie Bathiche said the company avoided its usual design process for the Surface in order to maintain secrecy. In spilling the secrets on Surface's development, Microsoft reveals an attention to minute details, even if the company isn't revealing much else at the moment.
The Surface design team initially worked in an underground bunker with no windows and only moved away from that location when the team outgrew the facilities. Next, the project landed in a building with airlock-style doors and biometric verification. There, the team experimented with a range of 3D-printed mockups, tweaking the design of the tablets to test Wi-Fi antenna performance.
The design team spent a considerable amount of time on the Surface's kickstand. A primary concern for the group was tweaking the sound the kickstand makes when it closes. The team set a target for the closing sound and tested the kickstand again and again in an anechoic chamber until they got the sound they wanted.
While Microsoft has revealed a few anecdotal bits on the development of the Surface tablets, the company remains tight-lipped with regard to specifications. Microsoft has not revealed the type of antenna used in the tablets. Nor has the company given any details on battery life or processor speeds beyond the type of processors (ARM in the Surface RT and Ivy Bridge Core i5 in the Surface Pro).
In a sense, the company seems to have taken a page or two from Apple's book: secrecy in product design coupled with a focus on user experience over specs. How well the secrecy and attention to detail pay off will be determined when the device launches later this year. [via TechRadar]