• Microsoft Windows 8 Surface tablet vs. Apple iPad – 6 points to challenge the dominance of iPad

    Posted on June 25th, 2012 David Brooks | No comments

    On the Los Angeles event a week ago, Microsoft released the Windows 8 Surface tablet PC, which is their first tablet and operates on the upcoming Windows 8 operating system. Microsoft spent a lot of time introducing the wonderful features of Surface tablet PC, which actually includes two versions. Even though there’ve been many Windows tablets in the market to compete with Apple’s iPads, Surface is the first tablet from Microsoft to full exploit the capabilities of its own new Windows 8 operating system. This also means Microsoft is officially taking part in the tablet market to compete with Apple iPads to take a share of spoils. But, can Microsoft’s strategy with the Surface, and all Windows 8 tablets, for that matter, succeed in not just being a No. 2 to the iPad, but in being a true iPad rival? If Microsoft is going to take on Apple in the tablet wars, the following key questions should be ironed out and improved to win the competition.

    Microsoft Surface VS new ipadKeyboard/touch-pad productivity: On the Surface event, Steve Ballmer spent a large amount of time on the Touch Cover and Type Cover. These are innovative Smart Cover-like accessories that have a soft or physical keyboard and, in the case of the Type Cover, a touch pad bonded to one side. On the contrast, the iPad can support a wide variety of Bluetooth keyboards and cases like the similar Ultrathin Keyboard Cover, but no touch pad or mouse. That hampers the iPad’s utility as a true laptop replacement, but would Microsoft’s product make for a vastly improved experience? There’s a big difference between a good keyboard and touch pad and a bad one. As the Surface tablets are still on the way, we have to wait and see this.

    The screen: The RT version Windows 8 Surface tablet PC support 720P while the Windows 8 Surface Pro version tablets could play 1080p, with various video formats supported. This makes it quite easily for users to watch HD videos on Surface, like to watch AVCHD videos on Surface. But compared to the third-gen iPad, which has a far crisper Retina Display, Surface is still inferior to the new iPad, although the iPad 2 has a 720p-level screen as well. Not even to say the excellent video experience provided by Apple for users to watch HD videos on new iPad, which has been iPad’s strong point since it’s introduced. So, the screen of Surface is another option for Microsoft to improve.

    Apps: Quite obviously, Apple iPads get more scores on apps. Apple’s App Store gives access to the latest iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad app, a catalog that leads the tablet pack. There’re also a number of iPad-optimized Web sites and Web apps for iPads. While the Windows RT version Surface only run Metro apps and the Windows 8 tablets run older Windows applications as well. Microsoft has to build a convincing catalog of apps for RT and ensure the smooth going of updated older apps on newer touch-driven software.

    Microsoft Surface TabletOS: Apple’s iPads run iOS while MacBooks run OS X, and the two approach each other without meeting or sharing apps. The disadvantage is that an iPad can’t be a true Mac replacement. Windows 8 tablets are full-fledged computers capable of running both tablet apps and full computer applications. It remains to be seen whether Microsoft is ahead of the game or muddying the waters. Meanwhile, the Surface RT only runs apps, like the iPad.

    Consumer/Pro split: Apple’s been successful at making one line of iPads, which differ from 4G and storage. Microsoft’s twin set of tablets — one with beefier specs and full Windows compatibility, the other more like an iPad — could fracture the decision-making process. Apple has MacBook Pros at higher prices and with more capabilities, but all MacBooks run the same type of OS; they don’t split it like the Surface does. Could this be better than Apple iPad?

    Price:The stable price has also been a great reason of iPads’ popularity. To compete with Apple iPad, the Windows Surface tablet needs to be affordable, and cheaper than an iPad, or better for the same price, if that can be accomplished.

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  • Microsoft announces its Windows 8 Surface tablet PC in both RT and Pro versions for different needs

    Posted on June 19th, 2012 David Brooks | No comments

    Even though Microsoft has been releasing several wonderful hardware gadgets that received great popularity in the world, it has been mostly considered as a software giant in the electronic communication industry. Microsoft just released the Windows 8 Release Preview version as the final test before the official release of Windows 8, which would be released soon. At the event in Los Angeles, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was on hand to unveil yet another Microsoft foray into the hardware world, but this time is producing an actual PC for the first time in its history, a new tablet PC for Windows 8 operating system. After a brief review of its hardware development history, Ballmer announced the new Microsoft Surface tablet PC, which is claimed to be designed to fully exploit the capabilities of its new Windows 8 operating system.

    Microsoft Windows Surface Tablet PCActually, this new Microsoft Windows 8 tablet PC includes two versions. A thinner and lighter (9.3 mm thick, 1.5-pound) consumer version (commonly named RT version) that runs the Windows RT operating system (a version of Windows 8 that runs on ARM processors) support standard Microsoft Office desktop apps; instead, it runs a limited functionality version of Office called “Office Home & Student” as well as Windows Explorer, with USB 2.0 support. Take a look at the following content to get to know the RT Version Windows 8 Surface Tablet PC specs:

    Windows 8 Surface Tablet PC RT Version Specs
    676 grams
    9.3 millimeters thick
    10.6-inch ClearType HD Display
    31.5 watt-hour battery
    microSD, USB 2.0, Micro HD Video, 2×2 MIMO antennae
    Office Home & Student 2013 RT, Touch Cover, Type Cover
    VaporMg Case & Stand
    Configurable for 32 GB, 64 GB

    While the other one is a larger Pro version (13.5 mm thick, 1.9 pounds) running the Windows 8 Pro OS, which is prepared for business users. The Pro version adopts an Intel Core i5 Ivy Bridge processor, and runs all the standard Windows desktop software like Word and Excel, as well as the Metro apps. It can even run Photoshop and supports USB 3.0. The specs of Windows 8 Surface Tablet PC Pro version are displayed bellow:

    Microsoft Windows 8 Surface Tablet PC

    Windows 8 Surface Tablet PC Pro version Specs
    903 grams
    13.5 millimeters thick
    10.6-inch ClearType Full HD Display
    42 watt-hour battery
    microSDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort Video, 2×2 MIMO antennae
    Touch Cover, Type Cover, Pen with Palm Block
    VaporMg Case & Stand
    Configurable for 64 GB, 128 GB

    The Surface’s optically bonded 10.6-inch display is notable. Microsoft describes it as “permanent scratch and wear resistant,” and says that it minimizes glare, which makes it perfect for reading. Meanwhile, you can freely watch 1080P HD videos on Surface freely as its HD 1080P screen resolution produces quite excellent HD video experience for you. It could also output full high-resolution video to a TV via the DisplayPort included.

    It is unclear what company is manufacturing the tablet for Microsoft, though the product itself looks to be a branded device with prominent Windows logos adorning the screen bezel and the back kick-stand. The debut of the ARM-based Windows RT version of Surface is set to coincide with the launch of Windows 8 and will be available in 32GB and 64GB flavors. Pricing will be in-line with competing ARM tablets. The Intel Ivy Bridge i5-based Windows Pro Surface is slated to follow about three months later and will be sold in 64GB and 128GB capacities with prices comparable to Ultrabook PCs.

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