Since some early criticisms and a lack of apps for a touch centric tablet-slash-laptop, Microsoft has gone on to retool and reimagine its Surface line of devices. The product itself hasn’t physically changed all that much, but the software and messaging behind the tablet has. The Surface is now a laptop replacement that can offer pen and paper style convenience, digitally. Avid note takers, artists, graphic designers, industrial engineers and architects are being summoned by the N-Trig pen and OneNote integration the Surface 3 and Surface Pro 3 offer. Where the first iterations of the Surface Pros sought to be your mother's iPad and Ultrabook ‘killers’, the new paradigm has become a conveniently portable laptop with students and enterprise in mind.
With some positive sales numbers and encouraging press attention, the Surface line seems to have found its footing. As the device carves out a niche for itself, developers are finally starting to highlight the strengths of the Surface.
Foundry, an app developer from London, has created an infinite canvas app that plays to the Surface’s two strongest suits, enterprise communication and pen input. The app, Mischief, brings together the collaborative ideas of sketching, mind mapping, storyboarding and creative problem solving with an easy to use interface. Previously, enterprise collaboration meetings consisted of meeting rooms, whiteboards and ink deprived markers. Ideas were typically thrown onto the board, written over and erased as quickly as they came. Collaborating Enterprise users can now use an app such as Mischief with their pen enabled Surface to create interactive idea maps that in turn make it easier to index brainstorming sessions, all without being in the same room.
A post on the Surface blog digs in to how some of these creators are using the Surface, and Mischief, to get work done:
Mike Miles, founder of Visually Speaking uses Mischief for visual facilitation. “It is the simplicity and the fact that you can pan around a piece of paper in the discovery process for ideation and illustration.” Says Mike. “The idea that people in our profession can have an infinite canvas and still go into the milky way of detail is of great benefit compositionally. The Pins give a really good way of navigating thoughts and gives me the option to journey sequentially so I can start drawing and then refer back to my original ideas whenever I need to.”
While there are other note-taking apps, that appear on other devices, the marriage of the Surface hardware with Mischief’s software, creates an ideal collaboration tool. For teams that are unable to meet in person, the Surface enables video conferencing while simultaneously brainstorming on a live surface (pun intended) in the Mischief app. The Surface team are so smitten with the Mischief app and its potential on the Surface that they are offering Surface fans a 20% discount off the Mischief app until July 21st. Use the code: SURFACE during checkout from the website to receive the Surface specific discount.