Last week, Microsoft sent out invitations to a huge announcement on Monday June 18, 2012. The mystery announcement fueled rumors and speculation from media outlets and bloggers. Is it a new Xbox? A movie or tv service for Xbox? Or, maybe it is about Windows 8? So, what was the big announcement?
On Monday, Microsoft announced
the launch of a new line of tablets called Surface
. The Surface tablets will compete with the iPad and the various Android tablets. Microsoft is late the the tablet game, but with the launch of the Surface, they are shaking things up.
The Surface will launch with two different models. There will be a Windows RT version that runs on an ARM chip. This model will run mainly in the Metro user interface (similar to Windows Phone) but will have the capability to run desktop versions of Microsoft Office. The RT version will compete at a price point similar to the iPad.
The second model will running on the highly anticipated Windows 8 Pro operating system. This tablet is a little thicker and heavier than the RT version and will run on an Intel Ivy Bridge chip. The Windows 8 Surface will run the Metro interface AND will have the same desktop functionality and software compatibility as a Windows 7 computer. This tablet is expected to compare in price to Ultrabook laptops currently on the market.
The Windows RT version will have 32GB or 64GB of storage. The Windows 8 version will have 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB models. The announced features were impressive but there are still questions about some of the internal specs like RAM. Price and launch date are unkown as well.
One of the coolest features of the new tablet line is the Touch Cover. It's similar to the iPad's smartcover, but has a keyboard and touchpad integrated into the cover. It uses magnets to attach the cover to the front of the tablet to protect the screen when not in use. It's quite an impressive innovation.
I think the Surface will compete with Ultrabooks, iPads, and Android tablets in the Enterprise space as well as among consumers looking to buy a new laptop or tablet. I would not call the Surface an iPad killer, but Android tablet sales will surely decline until a suitable competitor enters the market.
I had pretty much counted Microsoft out of the tablet space. I knew they had to come out with something amazing to have a chance to compete in the tablet space. I am pretty much an Android guy, but now I want a Windows 8 Surface. The best part about Microsoft's launch of the Surface is the increased competition that will result in more innovation and lower prices.
What do you think about the Suface?