Although Tech Tip Tuesday is generally a day for a cool trick or tip, Microsoft had an announcement to make yesterday, which they had kept secret since beginning hints about it last week. And it turns out, it really is a tablet.
Yes, Microsoft’s Surface. It will be a family of Microsoft built-and-branded tablet devices that will run Windows 8. The current details suggest that the tablets will have the option of an ARM or Intel processor (meaning Windows RT or Windows 8 Professional) and will come in 32 or 64, or 128GB capacities, with a 16:9 aspect ratio featured in the 10.6 inch screen. The “Surface for Windows 8 Pro” should include several other features making it a bit more of a power house, such as a mini Display-Port instead of a micro-HD port, 64-128GB memory capacities, and of course Windows 8 Pro which features the full Windows 8 desktop, rather than just the Windows RT metro interface. The Windows RT edition, however, is already planning to include Microsoft Office 15 App, when the Microsoft Surface for Windows 8 Pro has no such office software included.
Although it looks like choosing your tablet is going to be all about your budget and what features you want, the question “What about gaming?” is already popping up. The official announcement made clear that the tablets would include a full size USB 2.0 port (some suggest the high end tablet will include 3.0), and rumors are already flying after Xbox division’s “DMZilla” tweeted: “Some day I will be on a flight, Surface propped up on the tray table, and playing a game with a wired 360 controller.” Hey, it makes sense. At least for the Windows 8 Pro model – I’m excited for it! I just hope the Windows RT version allows USB controllers as well.
They’re going to be expensive. That much seems obvious, otherwise Microsoft would’ve been all over telling us the price. It’s pretty safe to say they know the prices already, as well, since they don’t need to wait for vendors to finalize the details – these are Microsoft’s own devices, remember. If we’re lucky, the 32GB Windows RT edition of the Surface will be $399 or less (my fingers are crossed for $299 to keep it competitive with the Kindle Fire, more than just the iPad). The rumor that the Surface for Windows 8 Pro will be delayed until about 3 months after Windows 8 launch is a little bit of a let down, and the fact that they said it would be priced on par with Windows 8 Ultrabooks has me extremely nervous that this thing is going to price itself right into a circle of shame where everyone just points and laughs at it. Still, I have high hopes for Microsoft’s Surface tablet, but need to see a little more (in particular: pricing!) before I commit.
Besides, it seems a little more practical than the original Microsoft Surface (see below).