Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Does iPad Have A surfacing Rival? Let's Look At "The Surface".

The tablet has a 10.6-inch display and will run the new version of Microsoft’s operating system Windows 8 and Windows RT. It's  as sleek if not sleeker than the iPad and comes in dual flavour— There’s an x86-powered version that runs Windows 8 Pro based around an unidentified Intel “Ivy Bridge” Core processor, and an ARM version running Windows RT based on an unidentified ARM processor. But what's really on the surface that will make it a world-beater? Both have a 10.6-inch screen, with the x86 version running at full-HD (1080p) and the ARM version running at HD (720p). Both are thin, both are light. Both have an integrated kickstand, both have a complement of ports, including a full-sized USB 2.0 port. Both support storage expansion through the use of micro-SD cards. Microsoft showed a vision for a next-generation PC that combines the portability of a tablet with a minimalistic fold-out keyboard and integrated kickstand. The device’s cover serves as a full keyboard with a track pad, one innovation not evident on the iPad.  Surface will be available later this year as the world’s largest software maker is stepping up its assault on the tablet market. Weakening personal-computer sales and curbing Windows revenue has led to a sort of re-awakening of the Tech giants who now have decoded to take one more swipe at Apple's dominance of the tablets' market. The new  strategy threatens to sour Microsoft’s relationship with some PC makers, many of which have been investing to develop their own Windows 8 tablets and may not want to compete directly with the giant itself, Microsoft. The only OEM that’s going to be happy here is whoever Microsoft has contracted to build Surface tablets, and if these don’t sell well, that happiness could be short-lived. It's a bold and risky move at the same time as the possibilities of Surface being a major hit is also confronted by not-so-good experiences of Zune and Xbox. The destiny of surface lies in the sole hands of Microsoft. There's a big possibility that this big mystery could turn out to be a big mistake. So, does One Surface replace TWO Apple devices?
The Windows 8 RT Surface is a direct challenge to the high tablet range aka the iPad: ARM proccesor, HD resolution, USB 2, Wi-fi, Office 2013 RT, 10.6" and 32/64GB choices.
The Windows 8 Pro Surface OTOH is aimed at the Intel/AMD ultrabook market: i5 proccesor, higher resolution (1920x1200?), USB 3, Wi-fi, DisplayPort video, no Office 2013, 10.6" and 64/128GB options.
The first one is clearly a consumption device (except for Office) and will sink or swim based on the strength of the Windows Store. The second one is aimed to take the whole pie (home/office) with dual compatibility in the x86 and Metro app worlds.
 And the Touch Cover detachable keyboard has become the new standard for tablet keyboards in the industry..at least, since today. Microsoft started the blend, Apple consolidated the blend and began a trend, what will Microsoft do now with its new friend?
The company wants to release Windows 8, the new version of its software that is optimized for touch-screen tablets, in time for the end-of-year holidays and will have a version for x86 chips from Intel Corp. and for ones based on ARM Holdings Plc’s technology, which is also used in the iPad. The Surface tablet will be available in versions running both chip designs. Microsoft said the Surface’s price will be announced closer to when the devices are available and will be “competitive with a comparable ARM tablet or Intel Ultrabook-class PC.” This puts the ARM version in the $600 price bracket and the x86 in at around $1,000 — give or take.

I personally do like the idea of releasing two near-identical tablets powered by two different operating systems and with two very different set of capabilities. It gives the Consumers the "Which one should go for?" headache. A move I think is quite good, given the fact that what a teenager needs a tablet for is not what Slim Helu would need same for. Notwithstanding, the information vacuum surrounding these two devices, especially regarding battery life, and more crucially price is what must be unveiled if the hype accompanying the surface is to match its sales after release. If there's anything I love Apple products for, its the battery Life. I also think there’s the mistake of announcing this tablet far too soon. With Windows 8 only a matter of months away, I’m quite surprised as to why Microsoft chose to unveil this now. People have short attention spans. Unless Microsoft can keep up the pressure, Surface will be long forgotten by the time Windows 8 and Windows RT ships and hits the stores.

Microsoft’s idea for the tablet is a device that integrates a better keyboard option than typing on the screen without adding size or weight. That’s where the new keyboard — which doubles as a screen cover — kicks in. At 3mm thick, it adds virtually nothing to the device’s size, but it opens up a world of inputs. There are two covers available — the Touch Cover (very thin) and the Type Cover (with proper, tactile keys). A full range of hues is also available, from where I could get my sister a Pink.
Also, there's new Netflix app (launching alongside Windows 8), support for pen input with text sampled at 600 DPI. The device is capable of picking up the difference between a fingertip and an accidental palm press, and tosses out the latter contact. The pen magnetizes to the body when you aren’t using it — provided you can remember to bring the two back together. The Surface has two digitizers, one for hand input, one for ink; it turns one off when the other comes close. The idea of a kickstand is to make the tablet useable on a surface without requiring an additional purchase, and the cameras are angled for capturing at the same 22-degree angle as the tablet sits at when mounted. The Touch Cover / Type Cover, however, is a particularly nice piece. According to Microsoft, there won’t ever be a need to remove either surface. Both keyboards incorporate accelerometers that can detect when the cover is folded back and away from the device and will deactivate it at that point. The keyboard also detects when someone is simply resting their hands on it versus actually typing. 
As odd as it might sound, this is a device it might be worth getting excited about. And the fact that the hardware specs have not been revealed yet just makes the suspense get better. Who knows what the Cliche would be, which iPad do you have or which Surface have you got? Time will tell.

(Image sources: Microsoft, CNET). 

No comments:

Post a Comment