Microsoft played their hand yesterday at a special keynote event which took place in LA unveiling the first Windows branded Microsoft tablet ever, Surface. The company aim to use the Surface as the flag bearer for the future of personal computing using the company’s Windows ecosystem. Although the composition of the Microsoft Surface wasn’t fully revealed, we were granted a look at key elements of its design and construction.
With Microsoft’s introduction of Surface, they are placing an own-brand product into the same market as the likes of other successful tablet manufacturers like Asus and Apple. Based on the current popularity of the existing competition, we’ve consolidated key information from Microsoft’s keynote to assess how Microsoft Surface stacks up against the leading rivals in both the Android and iOS camps. Let’s take a look.
|Asus Transformer Prime||Apple iPad 3||Microsoft Surface||Microsoft Surface Pro|
|OS||Android 4.0.3||iOS 5.1.1||Microsoft Windows RT||Microsoft Windows 8 Professional|
|Processor||1.3GHz NVIDIA Tegra 3||1GHz Apple A5X||NVIDIA Tegra 3||Intel Core i5 (Ivy Bridge)|
|Expandable||microSD (also SD card with dock)||None||microSD||microSDXC|
|1.2 (front), 8 (rear)||0.3 (front), 5 (rear)||Unknown (front), unknown (rear)||Unknown (front), unknown (rear)|
|25 (plus additional 22 from keyboard dock)||42.5||31.5||42|
|Connectivity||WiFi b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1, USB 2.0||WiFi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 2.0||2×2 MIMO Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, USB 2.0||2×2 MIMO Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, USB 3.0|
|586 (1123 with keyboard dock)||650 (WiFi model)||676||903|
There are fundamental elements such as application ecosystems, as well as pricing and availability that haven’t yet been fully established, but based on the specs Microsoft have released, both iterations of Surface demonstrate formidable hardware in a competitive market. The challenge at launch will no doubt be two-fold. Will Microsoft be able to establish a strong Ecosystem with Windows 8 architecture considering the infancy of the OS and will they be able to price each Surface competitively, given the unusual nature of a full-fledged desktop computing experience brought to a mobile device.
We’ll have to wait and see. Microsoft alluded to a release sometime next month for the Windows RT version of Surface and around three months on from that for the arrival of the more powerful Surface Pro.