In case you haven’t heard, recently Microsoft announced its release of its new tablet called Microsoft Surface. This tablet will come with the new Windows 8 metro interface, and can even run a more Windows like environment. Unlike other tablets such as Androids, Microsoft is following Apple’s example and building their own hardware. Usually Microsoft makes the operating system and leaves the hardware to HP, Dell, etc. With the Surface they are doing their own hardware platform, which is a step from the norm for Microsoft. For tablets I think this is a good direction to go for Microsoft. One of the main reasons Droid tablets have fallen short is that they are spread across so many different manufacturers who are running their own OEM software on the tablets on top of Droid. This causes more problems than it is worth, so I think if you want a successful tablet, there is a benefit to doing both the operating system and the hardware. One of the most stunning features is the keyboard cover that folds down and can act like a regular keyboard. I know I wish the iPad had something like this. And with it running Windows, there is a good possiblity that this could bridge the gap between tablet and computer. Even with my iPad there are still times I need to refer to a computer as I cannot do everything on my iPad. That is why I call my iPad a great supplemental device, but not a computer replacement. The potential is there, but what do we really know about it at this point? A lot of people have asked me they should wait for the Microsoft Surface or get an iPad, here are some things to consider. More infomration on the Microsoft Surface can be found on their website at http://www.microsoft.com/surface/.
Microsoft only announced the Surface last month, no one has tried it yet or have their been demos. And with it coming out with a brand new operating system on it too, this device is extremely new. This isn’t necessarily a good thing. Typically devices with a brand new platform like this have bugs, and take time to get things ironed out. This makes me nervous, especially since they haven’t set a release date yet, and there have not bee a lot of demos. With the iPad they have been through a few releases and hardware upgrades as well, it is a more stable, polished environment at this point. And with this device coming from Microsoft, based on history with their other operating systems, it could mean updates, updates, and more updates. Also keep in mind that it will not have the app market that Apple already has with the iPad. Out of the gate, that is going to be a drawback that hopefully Microsoft will recover from quickly, especially if this tablet can run normal Windows applications.
The price point is also a concern, as iPads are already pretty expensive, to truly compete with the iPad Microsoft would have to lower their prices. Based on what I have read, that is not the case. The Microsoft Surface is already being said will cost around $800-$900. That is even more than an iPad, so hopefully it has the performance and ability to make the cost worth while.
So while this devices looks shiney and new, I am going to keep my skepticism. Microsoft said the Windows phone would destroy the iPhone market, and that was clearly not the case. This seems to happen everytime a new product is announced, everyone gets excited and we hear the hype, but does the hype match the product? At this point from Microsoft we have only mainly heard the hype. While I am not discounting this product yet, I will be keeping an eye on it after it is released to see if it can do more than the iPad and if it is worth the extra money. But at this point, waiting for the Microsoft Surface versus getting an iPad is a gamble. With the iPad you know what you are getting, with the Microsoft Surface, not enough is known. So if you choose to wait it might be a great pay off and be worth it, or you might be wishing you had just got an iPad. Remember, this is brand new hardware with a brand new operating system that has only been hyped up at this point, so it is too early to tell if it will be worth it.
I know I will be keeping a close eye on the Microsoft Surface and would recommend everyone else does the same. But at the same time it is too early for me to say if this will be a good Microsoft product, or if this will fall away into the discard pile, like Windows ME or Windows Vista. At this point there is a joke that Conan O’Brien did that pretty much sums up my feelings on the Microsoft Surface right now, you can find that joke by clicking here.