So it’s been a busy month for the big hitters in the tech world. First we had Google’s new map launch, followed by Apples WWDC and today Microsoft took to the stage to announce, rather surprisingly for me, that it will be going into competition with its partners and launching a tablet computer.
This tablet is just itching for a fight with the incumbent heavy hitter that is the iPad, it’s a lot like the iPad but what it has that the iPad doesn’t have is what is really going to set this tablet apart. The new Microsoft surface tablet will come in at a poltery 9.3mm thick, it will have a usb 2.0 port built in making it easy to add functionality, it will contain a HDMI port to allow easy connection to a television, so there is no need for properity connectors here. Naturally it has front and rear cameras on the device and although no specs were given I’m assuming that they are similar to other tablets at the moment. It will have a full magnesium case, because I’m assuming Apple has all the world’s aluminium taken, and will weigh just under 1.5 pounds. It will support both arm and intel processors but intel will be more focused on the enterprise market. It will come in both 32 and 64 gigabyte models for the arm based ones while the intel models will be 64 gig and 128 gig, these models will be competitively priced with there competition.
The tablet its self is not the only part of the tablet experience for Microsoft, they have also included a rather nifty stand and keyboard into the device. This is magnetic allowing it to be attached or unattached from the device (picture below). This cover keyboard also has built in trackpad with left and right buttons and full multi touch capabilities, take that Apple. It will also have a built in accelerometer, so that it knows when your typing or when you’re just resting your hands on it, this will be brilliant but I’ll have to see how it works before making a full judgement. This cover is wonderful looking and will come in a variety of colours, Microsoft went into a lot of detail about how it was made but I don’t think many of you will care about that, all you need to know is that it’s very pretty, very functional and at only 3mm thick it wont add much heft to your tablet.
You won’t be surprised to learn that this will run Windows 8 and Microsoft Office, it will support all Microsoft’s hardware and software, even the Xbox, but they didn’t say much about this. The real star though has to be digital ink. This is software that will allow you to sign things on your tablet and Microsoft has said that this will herald in the completely digital office. There is currently no word on prices or availability but they have assured us all that it would be ready in time for the launch of Windows 8.
In conclusion I was very shocked when Microsoft announced this tablet because it means they are going up against their own partners but I think they want to show off the true potential of Microsoft 8 and because of that they have no other choice. Android has too many supporters for Microsoft to not do this. The software things were not really surprising as I think Microsoft are now governed from their Windows phone side of things these days and is starting to operate as a single entity, which is good if they want to take on Apple. The stand is the best thing from this announcement though and the tablet and stand combination goes some way to showing that Microsoft are very much capable of making great hardware.