LA Microsoft Store not mobbed, but Surface has a following

Surface Pro didn't generate the level of excitement that the RT tablet did. But the product sold out immediately.

Surface Pro.
The Surface Pro Brooke Crothers

LOS ANGELES -- The launch of the Surface Pro at the Microsoft Store in LA's Century City was a relatively low-key affair compared with the debut of the Surface RT.

When I arrived just after 10 a.m. there was a small line (see photo). That said, both versions -- 64GB and 128GB -- of the Surface Pro had sold out immediately.

Of course, no one would say how many units were set aside for first-day sales, and the lines didn't exactly snake around the Westfield Century City mall. So, it wasn't like a Depression-era run on a bank.

And back in October the lines were longer and the atmosphere a bit more frenzied when the Surface RT launched.

On Saturday, there was a small line outside the Century City Microsoft Store near Beverly Hills. The Surface Pro sold out immediately at the store.
On Saturday, there was a small line outside the Century City Microsoft Store near Beverly Hills. The Surface Pro sold out immediately at the store. Brooke Crothers

But like the RT rollout, there was a fixation on and interest in the product not unlike what's found at an Apple event. I saw more than a few customers glued to the device for 30 minutes or even an hour.

In other words, Surface has a following. An analogy I would use is the Chevy Volt. Recently in LA, the Chevy Volt is gaining ground, driven by a small but growing (and fervent) customer base.

And Microsoft Store sales reps know what they're talking about. A patient, focused rep gave me a long, hands-on explanation of the Windows 8 touch interface and demonstrated a new touch-enabled paint app, among other apps.

Finally, note that there are other enticing touch-screen Windows 8 devices at the store, including the 2.3-pound Acer Aspire S7 and the HP Spectre XT TouchSmart. And that's good for Windows 8 overall.

Looking at the line from inside the store.
Looking at the line from inside the store. Brooke Crothers
The Surface Pro isn't the only cool Windows 8 device on sale at the Microsoft Store. The 11.6-inch Acer Aspire S7 touchscreen laptop is a tempting alternative to the Pro.
The Surface Pro isn't the only cool Windows 8 device on sale at the Microsoft Store. The 11.6-inch Acer Aspire S7 touch-screen laptop is a tempting alternative to the Pro. Brooke Crothers
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