In yet another attempt to become Apple, Microsoft introduced a Microsoft branded tablet PC in LA this week. While most people seem to agree that this is a great move to compete with the iPad, the move does leave a few questions.
The first question is regarding the name. While Surface is a great name for a tablet device, it is also a name Microsoft has already used for a touch base device that has been around for several years. I've blogged a few times about Microsoft Surface including my post on Microsoft’s 40 inch Tablet.
With Microsoft taking over the Surface name, it raises the question, what will happen to the original Surface machine? Will it continue? Will it have a new name? Or does it go the way of the Microsoft Kin an d other devices and quickly fade away with old memories? Does the new Surface take any queues from the old Surface? Specifically, the coolest feature of the Microsoft (table) Surface) was pixel sensing technology. Will this show up in the new Surface? Right now there are no indications that it will.
The biggest question I see in what others have written already about this new device is, what do the OEMs think? While Apple has its own branded device, it doesn't have other hardware manufacturers also making devices. By Microsoft entering the slate market, they are now competing with the Dells and the HPs. Not only that, they are taking the advantage by having what will seem like the “official” device. Is this a blow to hardware manufacturers? If Microsoft is successful at building their own slate device, then could they take one step closer to becoming just like Apple by also building other computing devices? Maybe they'll build a phone and call it Zune, or build an Ultrabook and call it Xbox (I'm sticking with that recycled name approach they've started). It isn't likely, but it is an interesting question to ponder.
I will admit that the pictures of the new Surface do look good. The specs seem to fall in line as well. They are producing both a Windows RT (ARM-based) and Windows 8 Pro version, each with two memory configurations.
One other interesting move by Microsoft was to possibly slight their tech audience and push the launch of this device to the consumer masses in a special launch event in Los Angeles. Is it yet another move to show they are becoming Micro-Apple-soft by launching in LA rather than at their key technology event that occurred last week (TechEd)? Granted, people expected some sort of tablet announcement last week anyway.
Microsoft used the phrase “premium hardware” in their announcement of the device. One of the other questions that was left open is pricing. Microsoft commented that the price would be announced closer to the release of the devices. The only indications I saw on pricing was that they would be competitively priced relative to other ARM tablet or Intel Ultrabook class PCs.
In the end, let's hope the new Surface is a lot cheaper than the $7800 existing Surface 2.0 machines! If the price scales down at the same level as the screen size, then it could be a fair deal. We'll see!
Want more on the new Surface, then check out our coverage on eWeek: Microsoft Surface Tablets Are a True iPad Alternative for Enterprises
|nbsp;||Surface for Windows RT||Surface for Windows Pro|
|OS||Windows RT||Windows 8 Pro|
|Light||676 g||903 g|
|Thin||9.3 mm||13.5 mm|
|Clear||10.6” ClearType HD Display||10.6” ClearType Full HD Display|
|Energized||31.5 W h||42 W-h|
|Connected||microSD, USB 2.0, Micro HD Video, 2x2 MIMO antennae||microSDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort Video, 2x2 MIMO antennae|
|Productive||Office 15’ Apps, Touch Cover, Type Cover||Touch Cover, Type Cover, Pen with Palm Block|
|Practical||VaporMg Case & Stand||VaporMg Case & Stand|
|Configurable||32 GB, 64 GB||64 GB, 128 GB|