Microsoft’s challenge to iPad finally Surfaces
The world got its first look at Microsoft’s own interpretation of the tablet with the recently announced Surface. (Watch the full product announcement here) Sporting super thin dimensions, high tech components and the new Windows 8 operating system, Surface shows it’s serious about making some noise in the tablet arena.
What is it? A sleek new entry developed by Microsoft that should appeal to both consumers and corporate users. Available in two styles, one will be called Windows RT and is the ARM version of Windows 8 while the other, called Pro, will run the full blown Windows 8 experience. Pricing and exact technical specs are yet to be announced.
Why is it important? With the runaway success of the iPad, Microsoft has fallen way behind in having a substantial presence in the tablet world. Rather than leave it only to PC builders (such as Dell, HP or Lenovo) or ARM device builders (like Samsung) to develop the hardware around Windows 8, Microsoft has taken an integrated hardware/software approach with Surface to ensure a solid device experience. Since it is running Windows, the crucial corporate environment that Microsoft currently rules will have a device that can easily integrate into the Windows ecosystem.
How does it compare?
Most Valuable Feature: Dubbed Touch Cover, this magnetic cover (which doubles as a keyboard and trackpad) has to go down as the coolest feature. Much like Apple’s Smart Cover does with the iPad, Touch Cover connects to Surface via magnets on the device’s side. However with the added super cool keyboard that Apple doesn’t have. Note: Some may say the kickstand in the back is the coolest feature… but we’re not here to argue. There are plenty of cool features to go around.
When is it available?: Be patient. The Windows RT version should be available when Windows 8 releases at the end of summer, early fall 2012 the Windows 8 Pro version is estimated to be released three months after that.