While it has been over a week since Microsoft introduced to the world its Surface tablets, inside information on the devices are not yet in full circle. The Redmond-based software giant only gave its major points, but this will not stop veteran tech writers in the industry to sound off on Microsoft Surface.
The tablets, one lineup on Windows RT while the other runs Windows 8, have built up enough hype to come up with its share of followers and knockers. However, most industry watchers believe that this will be a big game-changer for Microsoft, successful or not.
Preliminary Analyses on Microsoft Surface Tablets
Joanna Stern, ABC News, argues that Microsoft’s modern tablet designs might offer a rationality level to non-Apple iPad markets that has remain hidden until now. “Other hardware manufacturers will still make Windows 8 tablets, laptops, desktops, and crazy computers but Microsoft’s Surface will be the reference design; it is the pinnacle of how Microsoft envisions its software and the hardware working together. It sets the bar higher for the HPs, Dells, and other computer makers of the world.”
Outside the physical constraints of Microsoft Surface tablets, Ashlee Vance, Bloomberg Businessweek, finds the mental factor as the hardest hurdle for the slates’ success, saying, “Microsoft making hardware is not a natural action. It’s what the company does in times of desperation. With the release of Windows 8 looming, Microsoft was indeed desperate for a hardware company to do something to blunt Apple’s runaway tablet machine. The Surface tablet represents an indictment of the entire PC and device industry, which has stood by for a couple of years trying to mimic Apple with a parade of hapless, copycat products.”
Surface critics say the design already had flaws, even from the beginning. It comes with psychological problem where it cannot resolve whether it is a laptop or tablet, maintains Jay Yarrow, Business Insider. Reportedly priced at around $600, he considers the Surface tablets as too hefty.
Eric Mack, of CNET, concurs with Yarrow on the pricing, and adds that it has a low battery life and Wi-Fi only connectivity. He worries that Microsoft’s new tablets will not be as user-friendly as the Apple iPad, especially after the blooper introduction by Microsoft.
Don Sears, CNN Money, writes, “There are plenty of examples of failed elements, from the Zune MP3 player to the dismal Kin phone. But, overwhelmingly, Microsoft has proven it can create a vibrant and profitable ecosystem.” He added that critics should not focus on how the tablets will fare against the iPad to be successful.
Microsoft Surface tablets actually revolve on challenging its Android OS counterparts, which failed to prove as a worthy competitor to the mighty iPad, and the rising thin and light Intel ultrabook computing platform.
Whether the new Microsoft tablets can contend for the iPad’s market share has been a popular subject of debates since the software giant unveiled the platform on June 18. Ced Kurtz, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, says enterprise users are looking forward to the devices. “Business technology people know how to manage Microsoft networks and probably would prefer integrating Microsoft products to Apple ones.”
Still, the IT industry now has lesser influence on what devices employees should bring on their job as opposed to the past. This scenario will pose great importance to consumer play for Surface tablets. Kurtz contends that Microsoft will be successful in that area, but it has to build a Surface ecosystem that resembles that of the iPad. He remarks, “If Microsoft can use its considerable muscle to generate this kind of environment for Surface, it has a shot.”
Microsoft has built lots of hardware in the past with varying success stories, but Surface is somewhat unique. Joshua Topolsky, The Verge, argues, “The announcement of the Surface shows that Microsoft is ready to make a break with its history — a history of hardware partnerships which relied on companies like Dell, HP, or Acer to actually bring its products to market.”
He adds, “That may burn partners in the short term, but it could also give Microsoft something it desperately needs: a clear story.”
However, that clear story is still vague at the moment. While the Apple iPad is just a single product, Microsoft Surface tablets will be two products that run on operating systems designed for different architectures: x86 and ARM processors. That alone will only build confusion among tablet customers.