The Surface Tablet: Microsoft Launches Flagship Mobile Device

Mobile computing has become the name of the game in the past few years. It has swept the world over incorporating touch interface technology which revolutionized the rest of the mobile computing environment. Vendors and manufacturers have given rise to a dormant technology which has been around since the 1960s, but recently reintroduced by Apple when it launched the iPhone in 2007.

One of the most popular platforms that emerged following this reintroduction of touch technology is the birth of tablet PCs. It became so increasingly popular because it addressed a major aspect in terms of size and function which most people look for when choosing laptops and mobile smart phones. It is the best of both worlds combined, giving users the convenience, portability, and features ideal for those who want to stay connected via email, social networks, and other collaboration tools and applications. People can watch movies, videos, listen to music, play games on-the-go, and surf the internet. Great for work and personal use, it makes for a sufficient alternative for some PC tasks especially when performance computing is required.

Like any other computer equipment, a big percentage of a mobile device’s success is reliant on its features, speed and ease of use. While these can be attributed to a lot of things, the operating system that runs the device is one component that can be considered bearing the weight. Among the popular OS used to run mobile devices these days include the iOS, Android and Windows. Which ever OS is used, the important thing is that it should be able to justify or even enhance the mobile device’s features and functionality.

With the advent of different mobile technology in our midst, there is a possibility that new variety of OS will be introduced to complement emerging applications. Even custom OS are now becoming widely available which opens doors to a lot of possibilities and an array of great benefits. Custom OS developed through open source systems are not only powerful but very economical as well. On top of that, when open-source custom OS are used, applications can be developed faster since open source is backed by a loyal community of experts that help improve the platform for free. Bugs and fixes are more frequent, updating the system to make it more efficient and working perfectly.

In Microsoft’s case, the first self-branded tablet series was launched, incorporating its new OS platform, the Windows 8. The tablets’ launch was announced on June 18, 2012 by Microsoft’s CEO Steve Balmer during a Los Angeles event at Milk Studios where two versions are strategically released to serve customer needs and preference in terms of operating systems. The first version branded as the “Surface” has a 16:9 widescreen HD, measuring 10.6 inches. It runs on Windows RT operating system paired with ARM-based (Advanced RISC Machine or Acorn RISC Machine) CPU. The “Surface Pro”, on the other hand, is a Full-HD tablet and is Intel-powered, running on Windows 8 Pro OS.

The Surface is light and thin as it can be, measuring 9.3mm at 1.49 pounds; the Pro is slightly thicker but still lightweight. Both has a slim built-in kickstand that measures 3mm thick (on the RT model) and has a multi-touch, tactile keyboard. Equipped with a second-generation Gorilla glass, the Surface line is scratch-resistant which is great especially for children and people on-the-go. It boasts of a 32GB or 64GB (for the Surface) and 64 GB or 128 GB (for the Surface Pro) built-in storage and has a mix of useful ports including a micro SD slot, USB 2.0 port, and HDMI output.

Since Apple piloted the tablet craze, it is inevitable for people to wonder if the Microsoft Surface tablet will be able to catch up in terms of revenues and market share. And with the introduction of other brands such as Google’s Nexus 7, Amazon’s Kindle Fire, and rumors on the release of the iPad mini in affordable prices, people can’t help but ask if Microsoft’s entry into the tablet arena is way too late to matter. In fact, people perceive that it would be a challenge especially at this time when the Apple iPad continues to dominate the full-sized tablet market with 62.8% market share as of May 2012.

However, in reality, what would make or break it is the price. At first, rumors had it that the Microsoft Surface tablets will be offered at a sky-high price starting at $1,003 for the Surface, which meant that the Pro will be even steeper in list price range. By introducing the Surface Windows RT version at an incredibly low price of $199, Microsoft disproves false expectations.

Contrary to what most are guessing, the Microsoft Surface tablet is considered to be the cheapest full-sized tablet ever to be released this year compared to its rivals which makes it more attractive to customers. Apple’s newest iPad costs $499 while the Apple iPad mini is rumored to be in the price range between $249 and $299, while the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 retails for $400.

For those regular users of Microsoft Office who find it frustrating to use other interfaces, the Microsoft Surface tablet might just be the answer to their prayers. Such can also be great alternatives to netbooks and even laptop computers to serve a wide array of personal and business purposes. To some, the Surface line presents itself to be a better and much more suitable gadget preference compared to the iPad and the Nexus 7 which has current compatibility issues with Microsoft programs. Simply put, it would catapult Windows 8 on the map in a significant way, giving a lot of people great reasons to try out an operating system that feels rather different than previous Microsoft OS incarnations.

By the looks of it, Microsoft Surface seems to be a worthy contender in the tablet environment especially to those who still like the interface and functionality the good old PC offers. Incorporating a quad-core Tegra 3 processor into the system, the Surface is seen as a device that may be able to entice customers to embrace the use of Windows 8. This is a breakthrough for Microsoft who has been known for being a software vendor, and now venturing into hardware, it hopes to set a new landscape for growth. “We wanted to give Windows 8 its own hardware innovation. Something new, different, a whole new family of computing devices from Microsoft,” said Ballmer.

Microsoft’s first bout to release a hardware component is a surprise. What makes it even more surprising is that the outcome proves to be a worthy and decent piece of work – creatively constructed and intuitive. In fact, compared to some Android tablets released, it is considerably more polished and designed for practical use. And with the Windows 8 incorporated as its OS, customers who are adept with the Microsoft interface will surely favor it over Android and iOS any day.

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