Microsoft Surface throws down tablet gauntlet to Apple iPad

Editor ©RapidTVNews | 19-06-2012

As widely predicted, Microsoft has made its entry into the tablet market unveiling the Surface its answer to the iPad and which the IT giant says will be “the ultimate stage for Windows."

Somewhat grandiosely, Microsoft says that Surface is designed to “seamlessly transition between consumption and creation”, that is in addition to being a second screen for online video and online TV applications, Surface will be a more rounded platform for work applications.

Based on a 10.6-inch ClearType HD Display, the 13.5 mm thin device includes a full-sized USB port and a 16:9 aspect ratio with edges angled at 22 degrees, said to be a natural position for the tablet at rest or in active use. The device’s VaporMg casing approach also enables a built-in kickstand that lets users switch from active use to passive consumption such as when watching video content. Two models of Surface will be available: one running an ARM processor featuring Windows RT, and one with a third-generation Intel Core processor featuring Windows 8 Pro.

Yet despite Microsoft’s great hopes for the product, some analysts do not rate the new device’s prospects for competing with Apple. Jan Dawson, chief telecoms analyst at Ovum believes that Surface doesn’t yet live up to the promise of encompassing all the benefits of the tablet-optimised environment and the classic desktop approach and apps.

“There are no surprises in the software – the Surface tablet uses the same two desktop and RT versions of Windows 8 we've been hearing about. As such, nothing has changed there and it still looks like a huge break with the past on the surface but with a jarring switch back to the old desktop world hidden beneath. In theory, it delivers all the benefits of both the tablet-optimised environment and the classic desktop approach and apps, but in reality the versions available to try at the moment are a horrible mishmash of the two worlds that is likely to be confusing for the consumer.”