The wait is over. Microsoft yesterday announced it’s entry into the tablet market with the Microsoft Surface tablet. Apple’s iPad is by far the dominate tablet on the market today, so it will remain to be seen if Microsoft’s Surface can compete with the iPad once it is released.
From the quick preview Microsoft provided, there are definitely some interesting features of its Surface tablet. Some of the options provided are things that some people have been hoping for, but I’m sure there are still items that others wish Microsoft had also included. Overall, it will be interesting to see how well Microsoft’s tablet will perform in the market.
The Microsoft Surface Tablet
There were probably a lot of speculation as to what exactly would be included with a Microsoft tablet, especially compared with what is currently available with the iPad and Android tablets.
Microsoft announced that there would be two versions of the tablet – one running Windows RT and the other running its new operating system, Windows 8 Pro. Microsoft has been developing Windows 8 with tablets and touchscreens in mind, so it only made sense that it have a tablet ready when the operating system is released.
I was looking for a few things myself, including USB and HDMI/DisplayPort support. I figured both of these options would make the tablet more usable that just as a mobile device that is always carried around.
With regards to the specifications, the table below lists what is included with both models of the tablet.
|Windows RT||Windows 8 Pro|
|OS||Windows RT||Windows 8 Pro|
|Weight||676 g||903 g|
|Thickness||9.3 mm||13.5 mm|
|Display||10.6″ ClearType HD||10.6″ ClearType Full HD|
|Power||31.5 W-h||42 W-h|
|Connections||microSD, USB 2.0, Micro HD Video, 2X2 MIMO antennae||microSDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort Video, 2X2 MIMO antennae|
|Productivity||Office Home & Student 2013 RT, Touch Cover, Type Cover||Touch Cover, Type Cover, Pen with Palm Block|
|Case||VaporMg Case & Stand||VaporMg Case & Stand|
|Storage||32 GB, 64 GB||64 GB, 128 GB|
There are several interesting points from the above specifications. First, the connections that I was looking for are available, especially on the Windows 8 model. With USB 3.0 and mini DisplayPort, it should make many people happy, including myself. This probably means that many USB devices, such as printers, will be supported.
As for the mini DisplayPort, this will allow you to connect the tablet to a monitor when you are at home or in the office.
The most interesting part is the keyboard. A full-size keyboard is included in the cover of the case so you will always have a keyboard with you where ever you go. I am interested to see how responsive and durable the keyboard is as I have seen cases take a beating with other devices.
The only thing that wasn’t discussed was the price of the tablets, which many people are speculating will be around the same price as the iPad. If this is the case, it will have tough competition going against the iPad and the legions of happy users.
Overall, the Microsoft Surface seems like a good iPad competitor, but the price may be the determining factor in how well it does in the market.