Microsoft Windows RT Surface Has Little Presence At CES
January 11, 2013

CES 2013: The Loneliest Microsoft Surface With Windows RT

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

How does one explain just how large the 2013 International CES is?

It covers the entire expanse of the Las Vegas Convention Center´s 3.2 million square feet. It also spills out into the parking lot, offering exhibitors, media, food trucks, and a few other booths a place to set up.

There´s also an entire wing in the Las Vegas Hotel (what was once the Las Vegas Hilton) AS WELL as a few levels worth of meeting rooms and exhibition floor space in the Venetian / Palazzo hotel on the strip– a quick cab ride away.

You can– and will– see nearly everything as you walk through this expansive show. From the spartan booths hawking cheap Chinese knockoffs to the giant circus act booths of the mega corporations. It´s difficult to find anything that could be described as “Consumer Electronics” NOT at the show. (It´s been mocked a million times already but, come on“¦ an electric fork?)

Which is all just a long preamble to the following story:

Have I told you about the time I saw the one Microsoft Surface with Windows RT at CES?

The redOrbit team spent many long hours weaving in and out of the booths at CES this year, covering ground in the North, Central, and South halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center. After all that walking around, after hopping a flight to get here, spending hours in press rooms, after spending a week in Las Vegas with tech nerds, I saw exactly ONE Microsoft Surface with Windows RT tablet. It was being used in a demo for the Celluon Magic Cube laser-projected keyboard.

I take it back“¦I saw another Microsoft Surface with Windows RT tablet while in Vegas, at the Fashion Mall. It was a 100-foot ad there at the end of the Strip, beckoning anyone who might listen to pick one up.

As we all know, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas“¦.unless you buy a Microsoft Surface with Windows RT tablet, then it comes home with you and just sits there, knowing what you did.

Following in the traditions of CES´ past, there has been much talk about how Apple´s presence is still felt at this show even though they aren´t really here at all. Sure, some of their employees might be“¦but officially, they´re a no show.

Microsoft has followed suit this year, marking the first CES in many years that the Redmond company hasn´t had an official presence here. That hasn´t stopped them, of course. As it turns out, Microsoft just can´t turn down a good party.

The enigmatic Ballmer jumped up on stage at one point. The company teamed up with Samsung to show off a feature, which may or may not show up in the new Xbox console. Their name showed up on banners and fliers. Yet, for all the noncommittal presence Microsoft has had at this year´s CES, they were very obviously absent when it came to people actually using their devices.

This is purely anecdotal, of course. It´s only the observations of one reporter. I´m sure there were at least 5 more Microsoft Surface with Windows RT tablets wandering around at CES. I will say I saw many more Lumia's here than I have ever seen in my life. Perhaps Nokia´s niche market lies in tech reporters.

As far as tablets go, it was nearly all iPad, both mini and Proper.

The Microsoft Surface with Windows RT? Maybe that was what Microsoft meant when they said they´d be a no-show at this year´s CES.