And we're in our seats! Welcome to the Microsoft Surface 2 liveblog!
The journalists are having conversations and chatting away, sipping on momosas and nibbling pastries. Meanwhile, we're getting rolling.
It's a fairly small venue, white-covered seats and stage with blue and purple lighting around. Up on-stage there's a very humorless-looking security guard trying vainly to block a series of Surface tablets.
All right! Fruit juices at the door, coffee upstairs. Scott Stein here as well. This room is very bedecked in white. White chairs, white curtains.
I haven't seen any pastries, I'm just saying.
One of them appears to have a speaker connected to it.
Upbeat electronica. Sounds like one of the new iOS 7 ringtones.
There's some light techno playing in the background, a bit too aggressive for this time of the morning, perhaps.
But there are waiters with what looks suspiciously like mimosas.
Now it feels like the soundtrack to a Perfect Dark sequel.
Let's start the fun with some predictions. Have any ideas of what you're expecting? Tweet at us! We'll share some of our favorite predictions -- the wilder and crazier the better. I'm @Tim_Stevens. Dan is @danackerman. Scott is @jetscott and Shara is @sharatibken.
I reviewed the Surface Pro back in January. Feels like a million years ago. I liked it! Keyboard the best part. Battery the worst. But can the new Surface freshen up Windows 8 and the tablet pitch?
We also have Sarah Tew here shooting pics. She's weilding a 5D MKII.
@ShauryaD44 says " don't lie, you guys are gorging on the food as well. ;-)" -- Untrue! We're all huddled here typing away. No time for carb loading -- not yet.
It's funny, Scott. Even after all this time, I think we'd agree that the original Surface Pro is still the best Core i5 Win 8 tablet.
As Dan Ackerman has just coyly pointed out, the Surface in the center appears to be in some sort of a beefy dock.
A few hybrids have really excelled, such as the Yoga series, But there have only been a couple of other non-Atom standalone slates.
@stelios: Sorry, no live video feed today. But we'll have photos popping in soon.
Of course, it wasn't the Surface itself that really stood out, it was really the snap-on keyboard covers,
something no one else doing an add-on keyboard has really matched yet.
The stage itself has a large central display with "Surface" on it. There's a little Start button below there. Makes me wonder whether we can go up and use it as a touch screen. Probably not.
I'll just say: if battery life were significantly improved and Windows 8 apps grew to a different level of support/functionality, I'd be very excited for Surface 2.
I've always wanted to see those touch cover and type cover keyboards migrate to other products, such as Windows 8 tablets from other PC makers.
We're basically in the basement of a building here, so cellular connectivity is... poor, to put it mildly. We're all crossing our fingers that the Wi-Fi here stays solid. That it's already bombing is not a good sign.
After all -- I would assume Microsoft is mostly interested in Surface as a proof-of-concept, pushing Dell, HP, etc. to make similar products.
The Surface Faraday Cage.
So far we've seen Panos Panay here at the event. Surface researcher Steven Bathiche is also here, sitting in the front row.
Since the original Surface came out in January (but was unveiled last October), I guess there isn't a lot one should really expect about a new design.
If we should go dark... remember us...
Connectivity is... suffering. Failing. Falling on its face. People are frantically trying different parts of the room to stay connected. We'll stay online as long as we can, to bring you the news.
My computer thinks I'm in Houston, Texas. Is that from the Microsoft Wi-Fi routers?
And then, our 3G/4G signals will work...
Some day, Tim, people will stop hosting these events in basements.
With new iPads most likely around the corner in October, how do these Surfaces attack the tablet front before those?
And the awkward (or useful) flood of alternative Windows 8 tablets from other manufacturers continues to feel like a vague competition with the Surface product.
@jbrianfrancis asking "How many people in audience are using Surface as opposed to Mac?" -- I see one... a decent number of people on PCs. Vast majority are MacBooks. Airs for the most part.
The consumer non-Pro Surface will be worth watching to see how MS re-imagines it. The Pro feels like the more logical product, always has.
We just lost connectivity there for a moment. Things are getting bad. We've tried Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T. All have zero signal. Alas, nobody packed a Sprint modem.