Microsoft opened dozens of temporary stores to showcase its new Windows 8 and Surface tablets. Take a look at our opening day tour.
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Large crowds greeted the pop-up store's opening, and the line remained a couple dozen people long well into the afternoon. Some were merely curious onlookers who'd stumbled onto the store, queuing up to see what the commotion was all about. Others, however, had been aware of Microsoft's plans ahead of time, and had come to check out Surface during its first day of public inspections.
Kristian Morgan (pictured, above left) is program manager at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, and he said Surface's durability was a particular appeal. "I'm very rough on gear," he remarked, holding up an iPhone protected by a bulky, heavy-duty case.
Morgan mentioned that his office is interested in using the device. "We need this," he said, adding that Surface's incompatibility with legacy apps hadn't really been a concern because the device can still run Word. He also mentioned that Microsoft's commercials, which have become ubiquitous in recent weeks, had engendered excitement. "They really got me amped," he said.
Another person in line was an analyst who declined to give his name because his work sometimes involves Microsoft. Speaking "as a consumer," he said he'd looked at other Windows 8 devices, such as the Lenovo Yoga, before settling on the Surface. He stated that he didn't need it for work and intended to use it as his "fun, surf on the couch" device.
He said that the "RT version is good enough" for many needs, especially because it is "a lot less expensive" than most models that run the full version of Windows 8. He shared that after trying out some other options the night before at Best Buy, he'd come home and immediately missed the Windows 8 experience. "I started poking the screen [of my laptop]," he said, predicting that other people would find the new OS similarly enchanting once they'd tried it.
Retail employees circulated throughout the line as customers waited to reach the pop-up store's main desks. Many carried Surface tablets in order to demonstrate key features -- such as how securely the Touch Cover (above right) holds the device -- to waiting shoppers.