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By Dexter Duncan

Microsoft has jumped beyond Windows by announcing a new PC/Tablet specifically designed for Windows 8.     Called the “Surface”, this new hardware was followed up this month with a new version of Office 2013 which includes touch (i.e. tablet) versions of Microsoft word, excel and PowerPoint.    I will write more on Office 2013 in the next article.

The Surface (pictured) is not Microsoft’s first foray into hardware, but could be one of their riskiest.    iPad is already the clear leader in the Tablet market and has introduced 3rd generation.   One of the key differences is that the Surface is both tablet AND laptop.

In this article I will cover “what’s new” and also put some context around the announcement.

What’s new?

Practically all the components and technology was designed by Microsoft and have not been seen before.

Screen

  • The screen is “touch” and can function without the keyboard.
  • 10.6” gives 30% more viewing area than iPad.
  • HD Display on basic Windows RT model

Case and Stand

  • Case is magnesium, a first of a kind for this type of device.    Magnesium is very durable and light weight.
  • The stand is completely integrated into the device with custom hinges similar to a quality car.   Opening and closing the stand feels like a car door.   When closed, you hardly notice it.   When open, it is very sturdy.   (see below for picture of “kickstand”)

Keyboard

  • The keyboard is called a “touch cover” as it is both keyboard and cover
  • The standard keyboard is 3mm thick.
  • Multiple colours are available which automatically change the screen colour to match when attached.
  • It magnetically attaches to screen forming connection similar to a book where you can “bend” the cover backwards under the screen.

Two Surface Specifications

Windows 8 Pro

–          Full PC,

–          Full HD Display,

–          Intel Core i5 “Ivy Bridge” processor (latest for Ultrabooks)

–          upto 128 GB,

–          USB 3.0, HDMI connections

–          903 grams, 13.5 mm thick

–           42 watt-hour (similar to iPad)

–          Available in late JAN 2013 (not sure if this includes Australia)

Windows RT

–          Low power ARM processors,

–          upto 64 GB,

–          USB 2.0, Micro HD Video connections

–          676 grams, 9.3 mm thick

–          31.5 watt-hour

–          Available in late OCT 2012 (not sure if this includes Australia)

Although the Surface has all the things that a Corporate CIO will like, the real test for these devices will be the acceptance from the consumers.

With most of Microsoft revenue coming from Software, one might ask:  Can Microsoft do it?   Microsoft has created hardware when needed in the past.     If you think about it, they have been selling keyboards and mice with some success for a long time.    The first mouse was adapted for windows 1.0.      And they are pretty good at ergonomic keyboards.  So the keyboard is likely a winner.

The biggest hardware success from Microsoft is from their Xbox business.   This includes Xbox live and Kinnect.       Xbox was late to market but was successful at building an ecosystem of developers and marketing a quality product.     With a similar coming from behind story, Microsoft’s aim is to overtake Apple iPad, but will most likely overtake Google Android devices (current number 2).      Unless Microsoft cracks the consumer market, they’ll need to settle for 2nd place behind Apple. As 375 million PCs are expected to be purchased in 2013 (according to IDC), there is plenty of room for Microsoft to market their way into a success.

 

Call your local technology partner for advice.

See our website for more:

www.EmpowerIT.com.au

or

www.EmpowerCS.com.au

About the author: Dexter Duncan is a Manager at Empower IT Solutions. Contact Dexter at dd@EmpowerIT.com.au

References:

  1. Microsoft’s launch website.  www.microsoft.com/surface
  2. 18 June 2012, Microsoft Announcement on Youtube.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ervY6As5OcI&feature=related

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