Remember the legendary and the very first touch gadget released by Microsoft a few years ago? Well…it was too expensive and bulky for personal use. It was just a futuristic technology that Microsoft introduced back then to grab the headlines away from Google. Yes, Google was as hot back then as Facebook is now. While Microsoft was successful is grabbing the headlines it miserably failed at putting the device into every home just like it did with the Personal Computer. Then came Apple with the iPad and the rest is history.
Here’s a peek at how the 2nd version of Microsoft Surface looked -
If ever there was a time when it was a case of survival for Microsoft, it is this. Surface and the Windows Phone 8 will decide if Microsoft will remain relevant among consumers in the coming future. Recently Microsoft has had fewer successes than failures. The spectacular ones being – Azure (cloud computing), Bing (search engine), the Windows Phone (smartphone operating system). The good thing is that Microsoft is trying harder to focus on products and not take anything granted which it has over the years. It has been focusing really hard on the user experience which companies like Google and Apple have made the cornerstone of their company philosophy.
With the new Microsoft Surface the guys at the design department of Microsoft have been paying a very close attention to how people use their tablets. From the form factor to the width and size specifications everything looks well thought out. For the 1st time Microsoft is making people believe that being late doesn’t necessarily have to be a disadvantage. They’ve been learning a ton from iPad. People’s expectation from the tablets and more importantly how can Microsoft not jeopardize its most profitable product Windows from something that hasn’t even been making any money for them – the tablet.
Microsoft unlike Apple is not a hardware company. They’re first and foremost a software company. They don’t make a lot of money on hardware. Heck even their most popular piece of hardware is manufactured by a third party in China. But this is different. Microsoft has kept this piece of tablet close to its heart and there’s no third party involved in manufacturing it. They’ve been making the Surface tablets themselves. Now that is huge! Even for Microsoft.
Microsoft Surface = laptop + tablet?
Historically Microsoft has been all about keyboards and mice. Apple changed that to a world with touch & gestures. With Surface Microsoft is trying again to consolidate the best of both worlds with its tablet offering. There is a real keyboard that comes attached to the Surface. Although it’s not very difficult to buy an external keyboard for the iPad, we all know that maybe 0.001% people actually do that. Not many people are ready to shell extra money or jump hoops just to be able to type better. So if someone has a choice between an iPad and a Surface and they’re content creators – businessmen, journalists, bloggers, etc then they might prefer Microsoft Surface over Apple’s iPad.
But if the main purpose of the tablet is to consume media like movies, photos, videos and play games then the choice is obvious, the iPad. The App Store is overflowing with all kinds of apps and they’re getting better and better each day. The app store will enjoy the benefits of network effects and first mover advantage for many more years to come. And that spells doom for Microsoft in the near term. As we all know Microsoft has been struggling to lure developers to develop apps for their phone platform Windows Phone. It has become so frustrating for Microsoft that they’ve resorted to making it by hook or by crook. Brain or brawn, it doesn’t matter anymore. Microsoft has been using its internal army of developers to make apps when the outer ecosystem won’t budge. And when all else fails Microsoft draws out it’s bazooka – the 60 billion war chest it has accumulated for rainy days like these.
Now as Microsoft must have learned it’s a new world order for computing and increasingly one where Microsoft dominance is diminishing. So the best way to make them want to develop apps for your platform is to sell that many pies phones first to make it justifiable for the tiny app engineering teams at most companies.
It was expected that Microsoft would try to corner the market by underpricing the tablet. According to leaked information, Microsoft is in no mood to do that anytime soon. The basic version of Microsoft Surface that comes with Windows 8 and NVidia Tegra 3 chip will cost $599 which is what a Wi-Fi only 32 GB iPad costs.
The Windows Pro that comes with the Intel Ivy Bridge chip will cost $999 (yes, that’s almost a grand!). This jaw dropping price will make Microsoft Surface one of the most expensive tablets in the market. It’s not clear if Microsoft will be selling the keyboard for extra charge. I hope they do.
The differentiating elements
Microsoft Surface sports a very convenient kickstand for those times when you don’t feel like holding your tablet. Maybe you want to sit down and write something. Maybe you are video chatting some one. Or maybe you want to read a book. Now you can without having to attach any attachment with te technology used in the car doors. The kickstand comes on and off with little effort and you don’t even know it’s there when you don’t need it.
The higher end Windows Pro for Surface will come with a USB 3.0. It is a great improvement over the usual USB 2.0. What more you can charge your iPad from your Microsoft Surface! Talk about harmony
Apple has recently introduced USB 3.0 into its most expensive line of Macbook Pro’s.
The durable body
Microsoft developed a new alloy called Vapor MG for the body of the Surface tablet. It’s durable, lightweight and things like that. And yeah it’s made of Magnesium.
This is where the Microsoft Surface shines. Well literally! It provides a usage of up to 31.5 hours. That’s a lot of power when you need to be on the move.
Uh..Microsoft has been a little secretive about somethings. And it’s not only the launch date and price. The screen resolution is good according to the people who have been given access to the Surface tablet. Although I suspect it’d come anywhere close to the retina display that almost all Apple hardware comes with these days.
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