June 19, 2012

Microsoft Steps into the Wonderful World of Tablets


Last night (here on the East Coast at least), technology giant Microsoft revealed that it will be launching the company’s first ever tablet computer that has been created to be utilized by consumer and workers alike. Designing the innovative portfolio on its own that boasts both Microsoft-based hardware and software, these next-generation solutions are guaranteed to forever change the tablet industry—causing some Apple employees to become extremely nervous.

While the first Surface device weighs in at 1.5 pounds and is 9 mm thick, the Surface Pro is a tad bit thicker and heavier. Both tablets come complete with a kickstand, enabling users to easily stand them upright to watch movies or even browse the Web. Not stopping there, the company that remains at the head of the pack of all new technological developments has also released tablet covers that can easily be attached to the tablets with a click that will then work as keyboards. According to reports, the Type Cover actually has keys implanted into the cover and the even bigger Touch Cover has keys that are raised for easier typing.

Looking at differences in the two models of the Surface, one is running an ARM processor featuring Microsoft's new tablet OS, Windows RT, and the other has an Intel Core processor featuring the Windows 8 Pro operating system . In total thus far, Microsoft designed 200 custom parts for the tablets.

I recently had the chance to speak with Ronan de Renesse, principal analyst at Analysys Mason, all about the newly unveiled game changing product and what he believes its long term effect could potentially be to other big name tablet providers.

De Renesse said, “Microsoft Surface is the best Windows-based mobile product attempt so far and will sell as long as it delivers its promises and is priced correctly. It differentiates from other tablets with its Surface Type Cover, it addresses both business and consumer segments and it can leverage Xbox and Windows Phone marketplace to distribute content and services to its users.”

Showing Microsoft’s full commitment to the tablet market, “the business is taking full control of the experience and the content distribution to its tablets in the same way as Apple does. Basically we have a new Apple entering the tablet market and it will primarily target Android tablet users and the business segment. Google is set to suffer the most from this strategic move,” he added.

The company has been hit hard by its lack luster entrance into the rapidly growing mobile market. Yet, this strategic move will enable Microsoft to finally break into the space.

A disadvantage of the unveiling of these tablets however is that this move could damage its tight knit relationship with PC manufacturers. De Renesse added, “At this point next year, Microsoft will have to choose whether to keep manufacturing its own vertically integrated Surface tablet or push its Windows RT licensing business forward. “

According to Ovum analysts Richard Edwards and Jan Dawson, "While, in theory, the software underpinning Surface - Windows 8, delivers all the benefits of both the tablet-optimized environment and the classic desktop approach, in reality, the versions available to try at the moment are a mishmash of the two worlds and may leave consumers and business users confused.”

The twosome concluded, "On the hardware front, bringing out its own device ahead of the Windows 8 launch could imply that Microsoft is not happy with devices being built by its OEM partners or that it's not satisfied with only taking a license fee from selling Windows based tablets. Either way, the move is a vote of no confidence in these partners, who should rightly feel slighted...or challenged. Rarely is it a good idea for an OS owner to start competing with its OEM partners, but Microsoft is clearly taking a page out of the Apple playbook by bringing Surface to market.”

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Edited by Allison Boccamazzo



Related Tags

Google    Intel    Microsoft
Apple    Tablet    Software

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