Microsoft announced its Surface Tablet computer last night in LA, is it a game changer as their PR team had us believing? Er NO!
I say no at present as details are scarce, the media were not allowed to play with them which implies there is still a lot going on under the hood which could change the proposition.
The announcement was hyped up and implies that it’s a new breed, it’s not there are Windows based tablets out there, but what MS have done is packaged it nicely. They have taken a leaf out of Google’s book by designing what they want (and believe the public want) out of a Tablet PC in hopes that the current makers will step up to the plate, this is what Google did with the Nexus phone and I expect will do with their upcoming Tablet.
So what are the Pro, Cons and Unknown.
Its neat and tidy, with an impressive design and a smart cover much like the iPad’s but touting a keyboard albeit it slim. This is a device for the smart, cut above the rest, road warrior.
Comes in two flavours of speed, the Pro version has a traditional Intel processor for those who want/need a computational device (think Gaming/Drawing/Development) and an RT version which runs on an ARM processor, this is somewhat of a standard amongst the Tablet makers. There are other differences such as storage and connectivity.
The keyboard, its integral in the smart cover, seems like a Genius idea but when you consider what users will be running on this device i.e. Windows Apps, it’s more of a must. However Apple and Android accessories makers should take note, I personally would love a Slim keyboard device that neatly stores as a cover on my Android tablet.
Infrastructure, companies are battling daily with the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to work brigade. These tablets will just slip right into any existing Windows infrastructure, reducing the headache for implementation and support, but big business only as you will need that remote working infrastructure first.
Batteries, there has been no mention of how long it will run on batteries but those in the know are not expecting iPad lengths.
Apps Pt 1, as these tablets are full blown PC’s they will run the normal apps but with that come the PC issues i.e. Stability and Performance.
Apps Pt 2, MS will need a new breed of developer that are more aligned with the user experience than the functionality, Apple is currently beating Android not because it has the best hardware but because of its Apps, this gap is getting smaller every day but it is still there, MS cannot afford to start with their Apps selection back at square one.
Storage, with 128GB its not a lot for a device like this especially when you consider how space hungry Windows apps can be.
Release date, this unveiling has a hint of, ‘This is where we are going, what do you think, we still have time to change it if you do not like it’ to it. So I would not look for a release date any time soon.
Cost, all we know is that its going to be ‘comparative’ with the market. I read this as, the RT will be high end iPad and the Pro will be mid end Ultrabook
Up time, how quick to boot/resume this has been getting quicker and quicker for Windows but if its not instant why bother.
Connectivity, no mention of built in 3G, will they be relying on dongles, ouch if they are.
This, to me seems to be a device aimed at the big business, professional road warrior and the techy who wants more power when out and about. It has a market just not a big one, it’s no game changer or iPad beater it’s just another option and one that probably fits well. I could see me owning one in a few generations time but at that point I think the Mac Book Air will have become much more enticing.
What do you think.