Ask Paul: January 25 (Premium)

Happy Friday! Here’s the final “Ask Paul” for January. As always, thanks for the thoughtful questions.
Surface Go knock-offs
harmjr asks:
Anyone else yet making a Surface Go knock off yet? 10" screen with pen. If yes can you point me in their direction.
I’m not sure what you’re looking for exactly. Surface Go certainly isn’t the first small-screen tablet, though to be fair, most of them probably target education. Is this just about “Surface Go but cheaper”? Or “Surface Go but with better performance and battery life?”

Daishi notes in the comments that Lenovo makes an Ideapad D330, and that firm does have three tablet PCs in the 10-12-inch screen size range. I don’t see anything as inexpensive as Surface Go though.

Anyone looking for a 10-inch tablet needs to get an iPad. Anyone looking for a real Windows PC/tablet PC will find tons of options at 11-inches and up.
Polycrastinator asks:
Less a question and more a request for comment, but I saw this article in Wired and wondered what you made of it, especially as someone who's suffering from having to live with ad money? I've been wondering for a while why there's no great micropayment solution on the internet, and this reinforced that question in my mind.
The article notes that the inventors of the World Wide Web designed the system specifically to handle digital payments so that content creators could get paid. But instead, the companies that took advantage of the web went with an ad-driven system that has, in recent years, imploded. This is a regular topic here on because we have a paid Thurrott Premium membership, which, again, we feel is more honest and transparent than trying to fleece readers in other ways.

My two immediate thoughts about micropayments are that they are common in places where the PC revolution never happened and the population started using phones/smartphones as their first computing devices, and that there is at least one browser maker---Brave---which is trying to bring a system like this to the web.

Brave won’t be successful, at least in that regard. Which I know because the planet, collectively, has an aversion to paying for content because 99 percent of the web is basically free and has been for decades. But I appreciate that effort.

As for micropayments more generally, it’s starting to happen. My wife and I send money to our son in college via a service called Zelle, for example. And even products like Square, which let individuals and very small businesses accept credit card payments have really democratized things and contribute to this movement. These types of things were ponderous or impossible just a few years ago.

I guess the issue for the web is that we have a primary gatekeeper in Google that still earns the vast majority of its revenues from ads. That company has little incentive to make a micropayment system on the web successful. But perhaps it could at least support existing...

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