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Surface Go leads Microsoft's mission to loosen tech's grip on our lives

While it might not seem that way at first glance, a core inspiration for Microsoft’s new Surface Go tablet came from an executive’s time away from technology. That’s what Microsoft Modern Life and Devices team lead Yusuf Mehdi told The Washington Post recently.

In an interview, Mehdi recalls a three-month sabbatical in which he stayed away from connected tech as much as possible, only to feel great pride in everything he had accomplished in that time away from connected devices.

Mehdi goes on to say that the Surface Go captures how the company is thinking about how technology products and services should fit into users’ lives. In short, devices and services should work to get out of their way, not draw them in and keep them there.

Driving this new outlook for the company is a series of surveys that it conducted, finding that 59% of American respondents feel that their devices drive them to feel as if they should be ‘always on,’ and that 53% feel that having a mobile device on hand ‘forces’ them to work on the go.

How Microsoft is looking to get out of your way

Of course, Mehdi concedes that this is more a software issue than a hardware one in the interview, but regardless Microsoft heavily considered this in developing Surface Go. The tablet’s smaller size is meant for it to more easily disappear in your bag when you’re done working on it, while the LTE chip is designed to make getting in and out of online work environments easier.

Mehdi makes no claims as to whether Surface Go will actually be the answer for those who feel as if they’re drowning in connectivity, but intimates that this is the start of its devices and services working harder to get you back to your life as quickly as possible.

“All tech companies need to think broadly about how will this technology land,” Mehdi told The Washington Post. “How does it benefit people? Have we thought about the second order effects of landing with people? The more that we do that, the more we’ll get better and provide better outcomes.”

Naturally, this message couldn’t come at a better time, with companies like Facebook, Apple and Google under fire for designing products and services aimed to keep your eyes glued to the screen, making it easier for Microsoft to take this stance so as to look like the white knights of the tech world. 

Personally, we haven’t noticed much in our time with the Surface Go that personifies this stance, though it is an excellent device nevertheless. We’ll just have to take Microsoft on its word as the Surface line and Windows 10 software move forward.

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