This evening, Microsoft introduced its latest competition for the iPad, the Surface. At the moment, most of the crucial details are missing (price, availability, battery life, quality of screen). What we do know is that it is a widescreen tablet that will run Windows 8, features a kickstand in the back of the device, and they will sell add-on covers that have a keyboard built-in. It will also ship with Office (supposedly due this fall on the iPad).
I hope it goes well for Microsoft, I really do.
Apple needs innovative competition to truly stay on its game–perhaps the Surface will accomplish this, because the Android platform has been a disappointment for productivity-related tasks and education. I already like the smart-cover keyboard idea of the Surface. Of course, my Zaggfolio works just as well (by the way, the Zaggfolio is available at my local Target!).
Microsoft has been a software company that had dabbled in hardware (mice and keyboards), although their most recent success has been with the Xbox. With the Microsoft Surface, they can become more like Apple, controlling the hardware and software–as well as the apps that run on the device.
But how will the hardware companies feel as they are “locked out” of the game? Why would Microsoft make their mobile OS available for other manufacturers if it will hurt their bottom line? Does this mean that the manufacturers will go elsewhere, such as to Google (Chrome and Android)? Does this mean a future where Microsoft makes all if its own computers?
Again, we need to see prices, release dates, and real world performance data before drawing conclusions. But one conclusion is clear: where is the future of computing?