Microsoft is targeting the engineering community with the promise of running professional computer-aided design (CAD) software on its Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book devices.
During a recent presentation in London, Microsoft showed Surface running Siemens’s 3D CAD software, Solid Edge. During the presentation, John Fox, Siemens’s Vice President for Marketing, Mainstream Engineering business (Solid Edge), praised the capabilities of Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book for ushering in the era of mobile CAD.
“Solid Edge on Surface provides full access to design projects while on mobile,” he said. “In addition, the devices offer more intuitive design options – the users can use the touch screen to pan, zoom or rotate the objects in 3D or use the touch pen.”
Fox said Surface could appeal to innovative SMEs that heavily rely on design software to customise innovative products. In a survey conducted by Siemens, mobile experience was mentioned among the most sought-after features in future CAD software, following cloud-based applications, pay as you go and augmented and virtual reality.
Philip Norman, the founder of Ross Robotics, also praised Surface for having enough power to easily support the demanding CAD application while not even breaking sweat running the system.
Microsoft believes Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book are ahead of its competitors when it comes to 3D design applications thanks to their ability to morph between the tablet and laptop configuration.
While Surface Pro 4 has a detachable keyboard that allows the device to become a tablet, Surface Book can be bent backwards, bringing the touch screen on top of the back of the body, which effectively turns it into a tablet device. In combination with the touch pen, the device can be used to write notes or make changes to the design in the same way as could be done on paper.
Both devices can be connected to two 4K external monitors and a range of peripheral devices, including 3D printers to efficiently translate the virtual models into physical ones.
Microsoft said it has already seen more business customers purchasing the Surface devices than regular consumers.