Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Microsoft Announces Surface Tablet, But What Does It Do

The announcement of Microsoft's latest tablet, Surface, seemed to follow the Apple cookbook, little notice, no advance word, and then the talking heads.  Microsoft seems to be embarking on more of a follower strategy where once in their life cycle they were seen as more the leader.  In this case they are copying the Apple playbook and may soon decide they need their own retail presence.

What surprised me most about Microsoft's new tablet is that I get very little about what differentiates it from other tablets, most especially the iPad, and what unique benefits it offers to consumers.  "The software giant could incorporate its Skype Internet phone software in a tablet, which could make for a compelling rival to Apple's FaceTime video-calling feature on iPhone and iPad. And integration of Microsoft's popular Kinect camera, used on Xbox, could give a tablet an unusual twist — voice and motion controls."  But none of this seemed to be confirmed attributes of the Surface.    How strong will the synergy be to other Microsoft operating system PCs; how quickly will a back office app store be started to provide the applications to make the Surface function?  Will Microsoft hold off on an iPad friendly Office suite to give its Surface an extra edge?

Some speculate that the USB port on the Surface gives it an immediate edge.  Apple continues to believe that the cloud and wireless are the ideal connections.  As more and more devices come equipped with blue tooth, the need for any wired ports may become ancient history pretty quickly.  As for the future of the Surface, we will wait for its actual release to determine if it is the next Xbox success or Zune failure.

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