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Microsoft's New Surface Tablet vs. iPad and Android

Steven Blum
8

Today Microsoft made a doozy of an announcement. While there are many questions still surrounding the launch of their new Surface tablet, I think it's safe to say that it has already made a splash. There are two new tablets we're talking about; one is a Windows 8-enabled slab powered by Intel's 22nm Ivy Bridge chip (Surface for Windows Pro) and the other is powered by an ARM chipset and Windows RT (Surface for Windows RT). Microsoft unveiled both today, along with a glitzy new advertisement you can check out below.

Form Factor

The new Surface Tablet RT is just 9.3mm thick, which is .1 mm thinner than the iPad 3 but about 1 mm thicker than the Transformer Prime (without the keyboard attached). The tablet also comes with a built-in kickstand that is said to be quite sturdy. No other Android tablet out there comes with a built-in kickstand, although you can always adjust the Transformer Prime to stand on its own when the keyboard is attached. At 10.6 inches (diagonal), the screen is .5 inches longer than the Eee Pad Transformer and almost a full inch longer than the iPad 3. The keyboard / cover looks like it's made of a silicon-based material. The Surface for Windows RT is 1.5lbs while the Surface for Windows 8 Pro is 1.99lbs. Both are heavier than the iPad and Transformer Prime.

Performance

Intel's Ivy Bridge chipset is no slouch, but we obviously can't test the performance of this until we get our hands on one of these. Internal storage is ample, coming in at 32GB and 64GB on the Surface for Windows RT and 64GB and 128GB on the Surface for Windows 8 PRO, more storage than any Android tablet out there.

Operating System

We've already talked at length about why Windows 8 poses a great threat to both Android tablets and the iPad. The reason is because Windows 8 merges a touch-friendly tablet UI with the power and functionality of a Windows desktop. This is the kind of versatility that has been missing on both Android and Apple tablets. Windows is also pioneering a tabular aesthetic where all the information you need is viewable on a single screen. It's like having a series of widgets baked into your UI, although it's arguably better organized. It is also quite a lot easier to multi-task on Windows 8: you can scroll through your e-mail while watching YouTube clips, for example, without having to leave either screen.

Forecast

Overall, this new tablet poses a potentially great threat to both Android and the iPad. But the key here is pricing and timing. Microsoft will need to price this tablet competitively (probably under $700) in order to appeal to folks looking for a mid-range laptop / tablet. They're also going to need to work harder to tell the buying public why the Windows 8 operating system is superior. I'm betting the real loser in this competition is Android; Microsoft will likely steal even more potential customers away from the Android platform. Google better hit the Nexus tablet out of the park in order to compete with Surface and all the other Windows 8 tablets coming out over the next year.

Comments

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  • Eric McBride Jun 19, 2012 Link

    Ok Microsoft...you got me....take my money please.

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  • Jay Jun 19, 2012 Link

    Apparently I am an android fanboy but the UI of windows 8 is attracting me bcoz it really looks like a series of widgets as it was said in the article which seems very user friendly. But the reason I won't buy a windows 8 tablet is Apps. Windows doesn't have apps as many as android have and windows doesn't have better quality apps like android. I think u guys know better than me that now android got over half of million apps which are more than even AppStore so can u imagine how much Microsoft is behind in this field......so don't worry android is always gonna stay at the top.

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  • PatPion Jun 19, 2012 Link

    This can really be a killer! But I agree, pricing is the biggest factor here. I would love to hook a Windows tablet onto a projector at work, and simultaneously go through the Powerpoint presentation while making adjustments on an excel sheet. YEAH! Microsoft 1 - The rest of the universe 0!

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  • David Wong Jun 20, 2012 Link

    i saw the mk802 mini pc that can do so many thing in a small package, I guess we can change the way that we think to do stuff.

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  • CJ Brown Jun 21, 2012 Link

    Although pricing has got to come down (before a Windows Tablet can compete with Android & Apple); I can applaud Microsoft for bringing more innovation into the Tablet field (with the docking keyboard, its only a matter of time before most Homes have some for of Tablet that docks into an external memory / keyboard; which can be undocked & taken as a more portable means of telecom then a laptop / notebook ...

    This is going to force everyone to bring out their best technology @ a competitive price (more for the Consumer to choose from); & I'm sure most will not want to use Internet Explorer / Outlook Express (well, I can't stand either & haven't used them in a long, long time) ...

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  • David Wong Jun 21, 2012 Link

    in the coming months, a lot of tablet device will go after the $100 range, a lot of people will go with the low end, due to the poor economy, and that is part of the reason microsoft do not want to say the price tag,
    I would say more and more people will go for the open source in the long run, and all the keyboard attach, kick start idea is simple thing to implement, it might not be as good, but no way they can avoid copy cat.
    Keep in mind this Window RT is a complete close platform that anything big or small need MS to approve before you can put it in, I know they want to make more money, but I will buy the $74 android device to run the browser, and that is what most people need.

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  • CJ Brown Jun 21, 2012 Link

    As a consumer, I want the best price on the best product available (& I tend to shy away from 1st Generation as there are always bugs to fix); however I will applaud Microsoft for coming out with an impressive Tablet (Android still has an edge with "open source" - and for me? that's a huge difference) ...

    I need to test drive the keyboard that Windows Tablet docks into (if I could type on one of those? it would be sweet) & see if it works on an Android Tablet (that would be in Microsoft's best interest to create accessories that work for everything from a Tablet to an iPad) ...

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  • linda holmes Jun 21, 2012 Link

    I am in desperate need of a owners manual for a wondermedia 2.2 netbook I did not receive one with my purchase and am having trouble getting the seller to send me one I am a 66 year old Red Hatter getting ready to go to vegas I need something to play with in case I loose my allowance

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