Microsoft enters the tablet wars with the Surface

Microsoft made quite a splash earlier this week with the debut of their new tablet computer, called the Surface. My initial impression of the tablet is quite positive overall. It seems like a very well designed device, I would even say polished.

I don’t think the Surface will dislodge the iPad as the #1 selling tablet within the next couple of years, but it could become a solid #2 in the tablet space and therefore I think Google should be more concerned about the Surface than Apple.

Microsoft will offer two models of the Surface

All models will have:
The integrated kickstand
The cover w/ built-in keyboard.
10.6 inch HD Display
Front and Back Cameras
Wifi only

The basic model, called the Surface RT will have:

Micro SD slot
1 USB 2.0 port
32 GB and 64 GB configs
1.49 pounds

The upper level Surface Pro will have:

Windows 8
1 Micro SDXC slot
1 USB 3.0 port
32 GB, 64GB and 128 GB configs.
1.99 pounds
Mini DisplayPort

I am happy about the introduction of the Surface because I expect that the competition that Microsoft is bringing to the tablet space should force Apple and Google to raise the quality of their tablets and I thank Microsoft for that. Even the latest 3rd gen iPad still lacks features such as a USB port and a SD slot. I think Apple may now be forced those add those features in the next gen iPad.

Official prices for the Surface have not been announced yet, but various tech sites have reported the low end Surface RT will start at around $600.00 and that the Pro model could start at around $1,000.00. These price points seem to be relatively high but if the Surface proves to be a durable, high quality device that combines superior hardware with an innovative operating system it could sell quite well and carve out a significant niche in the tablet space. Apple has demonstrated that many consumers will gladly pay a premium for computer products that offer superior design and high quality.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

When I watched the introduction of the Surface in Los Angeles I found it rather ironic the entire event was clearly very much influenced by the way Apple has introduced products for the last 10 to 12 years. Steve Ballmer and his team seemed to channel Steve Jobs and the Apple team, without ever mentioning Apple or the the iPad by name.

Only time will tell if the Surface will be a success or not, but I would not bet against this tablet.

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