The Surface Tablet is Hopeful, Oxymoronic, and Pitiful

The Microsoft Surface tablet as shown in promotional photosHere we go again: another supposed competitor for the iPad. I guess if Microsoft knows what’s good for them, they will hone their focus and choose a niche in the market; like appealing to enterprise users. But something tells me Microsoft’s ego won’t allow for it, and they’ve already bit off more than they can chew.

I’m somewhat disappointed.

The Microsoft Surface is not going anywhere if it does not ship soon. And if it does not ship soon, that’s going to discourage potential consumers from dipping into their pockets for what’s expected to be a tablet pricier than the iPad.

Apple does their events fairly well. Whenever they can, they release new gadgets very close to the time they are announced. Many consumers appreciate this about Apple, and it’s disappointing other tech companies are stubborn and unwilling to launch a product in a timely manner in the interests of consumers.

I’m somewhat confused.

Let’s think about this. Microsoft doesn’t have an app store ecosystem; that is a major downside against the potential success of the Surface, for sure. On the other hand, enterprise users will be tickled pink just to be able to run a full version of Microsoft Office with a highly portable cover/keyboard to type on. Most reports are saying the cover should be easier to type on then, say, the iPad’s on screen keyboard. So there’s a few reasons the Surface may get a footing in spite of innumerable reasons it should fail.

There is the typical complications that come with Windows devices. You can either run Windows Metro, or Windows Metro along with Windows 8. You have a choice between two models: a consumer level device and a professional grade one. Whether the consumer model will be of much use depends on consumers and app developers adopting the Surface early. If it doesn’t support quality apps and foster rave reviews—akin to iPad reviews—then the consumer model will stink.

If the Windows phone app selection is a reference point, it doesn’t look hopeful. The iPhone market was quite healthy before the iPad debuted. The iPhone helped the iPad. It looks like Microsoft hopes—counter to trends—that the Surface will help Windows phones’ market.

And who especially wants to use the professional model that runs Windows 8 if all it’s good for are PC apps? It’s like a notebook computer that lost its legs and got prosthetic ones from the waist down. The keyboard cover might extend its life expectancy, but it won’t give it a quality life. It’s an incomplete thought for an efficient work-related tool. Straddling the fence—attempting to be all things to all users—will haunt the Surface’s early years.

I’m somewhat skeptical.

I’m highly impressed that Microsoft finally claims to be delivering a tablet after all these years. I’ll believe it when I see it, to be honest. Various reports have noted that Bill Gates announced a tablet around 2001. He even showed off a prototype at an event (similar to the announcement of the Surface). Then, about two years ago, Microsoft leaked a dual screen tablet concept they called something like “Courier” (I can’t remember the name). That machine never saw more than a measly prototype and was ultimately abandoned. If consumers remember this, they will be apprehensive to purchase a Surface.

So, after all this time, the company that conceived the modern tablet device finally comes to market with a device and it’s mostly unoriginal in design. If you look at the Surface, it’s half iPad-wanna-be and half Windows ultrabook. It is playing several significant compromises that place it squarely on the middle of the road.

And yet we know so little about the Surface. The video ad doesn’t demonstrate the device, and not much was shown at the announcement. Of what was shown, there was bugs and apps on the Surface crashed! Talk about pathetic….

Conclusion

It’s hard to say what to make of the Surface. Too little is known. What is known is it lacks apps and has bugs—oh, and Microsoft wants to get you excited, but they aren’t ready to tell you how much it will cost.

Unbelievable. Some already dare to call the Surface ‘competition for the iPad’. When will we ever learn?

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