Microsoft Debuts Surface Tablets

Microsoft held a press event on Monday to reveal its new line of tablets it has branded “Surface“. They announced 2 models – both built and sold by Microsoft. The first has an ARM chip, runs the RT version of Windows 8, and is meant as a competitor to the iPad. The second model is an ultraportable computer in tablet form. This second model will be an interesting test. Apple is adamant that tablets and notebooks should be totally different. Microsoft thinks not.

These tablets have a built in stand, and a cover that opens up to a keyboard. Availability is expected to be October for the first version, and a few months later for the second version.

The tech press is impressed – saying that this is not an iPad copy. See for example first impressions by ZDNet and cnet.

While my iPad has become indispensable, I often get frustrated by file management issues. The Surface should solve that issue. I suspect corporate users, including law firms, will like the fact that the Surface can be managed and used much like any Windows PC. On the consumer side, the availability of apps may be a deciding factor. Many people won’t want one unless they can use the apps they are used to, and can get content such as magazines like on the iPad. 

Microsoft is in a position with Windows 8, Surface, and Windows phone to generate some serious sales. The hardware and software seems solid. The challenge will be in winning the hearts and minds of consumers.

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