Microsoft is a company that relies heavily on third party manufacturers to bring their dreams to reality, but in recent years the Washington-based powerhouse has been following the example set by Apple in regards to manufacturing their own devices. First came the Xbox, and then the Zune, and now their new line of tablets named Surface has just been announced. Surface is Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s iPad, but will their latest venture be a success, or will it go the way of the Zune?
Has Microsoft missed the tablet boat?
Microsoft always has good intentions, but their biggest weakness in previous years has been their inability to release products at the right time.
Microsoft’s Zune MP3 player was considered by many to be far superior to Apple’s iPod but it took Microsoft so long to get the device to market that the iPod had already developed a huge fan base. The same can be said about the Windows Phone platform. Windows Phone is a great platform in its own right, but it came out 3 years after the original iPhone, and two years after the first Android device, and now Microsoft is trying to play catch up.
Microsoft is going to be releasing their line of Surface tablets later in the fall, and their release will coincide with the release of Windows 8, but have they fallen into the same trap again? When the Surface tablets are launched, Apple’s iPad will be well into its third generation, and Android tablets will be some of the most powerful on the market.
Microsoft will have to ensure that their line of tablets offer something new, something that will make current iPad and Android tablet users take note. The great news for Microsoft is that their Surface Tablets are already causing a huge stir.
What makes Surface tablets different?
Two models of Surface were announced on June 18, 2012: the Surface RT and the Surface Pro . The RT has a 10.6 inch screen, multiple connectors, including Micro SD support and multiple accessory support (including the amazing 3mm thick keyboard/cover), and it will be powered by an unspecified NVIDIA processor (possibly the Tegra 3), while the Surface Pro will be a full blown PC that will sport an Intel i5 processor, a 1080p display and USB 3.0 ports
From a hardware standpoint, the Surface tablets are similar to the iPad and current Android devices. What will set Surface apart is the software. Both models will run Windows 8 , which is Microsoft’s ground breaking new operating system. It is gorgeous to look at, and is very fast and efficient. It was designed with touch in mind and is well suited to the tablet format. The real game changer though is that both Surface tablets will offer a full operating system experience.
The RT version will look and feel just like Windows 8 would on any PC. The only downside is that it will not be able to run PC programs. Users will be able to download applications from the included app store and it will have Microsoft Office pre installed, which means that out of the box it is well suited for business use. The Surface Pro however is a full blown PC. Any program you can run on a current PC, you can install and use on the Surface Pro. You will have a full PC in a package that is just 13.5 millimeters thick.
Microsoft’s Surface tablets are going to really shake up the tablet world. Surface tablets will still be as portable, functional and as fun to use as current iPad and Android tablets, but they will also be able to offer a level of sophistication and real PC use that current tablets cannot provide.
Only time will tell but it seems as if Microsoft has done their homework and they might just have the first product that could remove the tablet crown from Apple’s head. Surface tablets will be released this fall and will be priced competitively.