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Microsoft's eagerly anticipated Surface tablet is now up for pre-order in eight countries. The first version up for the taking runs Windows RT on an ARM-based Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor clocked at 1.5GHz. Prices start at $499 for a 32GB model without the vaunted Touch Cover, with a shipping date of October 26.
Importantly, the pricing of the Surface matches the starting price of the 'new iPad,' although the Apple offering comes with with only 16GB of storage. An iPad with 32GB of storage costs $100 more; however, purchasing the Touch Cover bundle will take the Surface to the same price point. Microsoft is also selling a 64GB model with Touch Cover for $699.Users who opt to buy the Touch Cover separately at a later time will pay $119 for it, while an additional tactile Type Cover is also offered for $129.
Released nearly three years after Apple launched the revolutionary iPad, the Microsoft Surface will enter the redefined tablet market as an underdog. Similarly late to the revolutionized smartphone market dominated by Apple's iOS and Google's Android OS, Microsoft's Windows Phone OS has struggled to gain significant market traction. However, Microsoft is gambling on tablet users wanting a more complete PC experience, with the ability to multitask with multiple app windows open among its additional capabilities.
Windows RT tablets will also come pre-installed with a beta version of Office for Windows RT, which will be updated to a completed version when it is ready. Office remains a key selling point for Microsoft and it hopes to attract users with this capability built-in out of the box. Although the Apple does not offer a keyboard for its iPad, a multitude of third-party solutions are available on the market, should users want keyboard input.
A Windows 8 Pro version that supports legacy Windows applications on Intel's x86 micro-architecture is also expected to be made available soon. Windows 8 officially launches on October 26. It's blend of a touchscreen UI with a traditional desktop operating system with full folder system is controversial, but it represents Microsoft's definition of PC-based tablet and touch-based computing moving forward.
The Microsoft Windows RT-based Surface tablet is available for pre-order through Microsoft's online stores in the U.S., the U.K (from £399), Germany (from À479), France (from À489), Canada (from $519), and Australia (from $559).
iPad mini news (and updated iPad 3rd gen news) will dominate the tech media later this month. But seriously, no matter what Microsoft does in the mobile space, they're just another also-ran.
But maybe it's better for Microsoft to not succeed in the mobile space. They're screwed if they succeed and screwed if they fail. If Surface takes off and become wildly successful (don't hold your breath anybody) then it will cannibalize profits from legacy Windows and Office licenses. If Surface fails and Microsoft gives up on the post-PC era, then Apple's iOS and post-PC devices will continue to dominate in the fastest-growing computing market.
On another note, look for first-time posters commenting on Surface and Microsoft in the forums. You'll see plenty of astroturfing and "concern trolling" in the wake of the Surface and iPad mini releases.
Astroturfing in the form of new or rarely-used accounts posting rah-rah comments about Surface.
Concern trolling in the form of "I really like Apple but I'm worried that the iPad mini will..."
Just wait. You'll see plenty of these kinds of posts all around the 'net. Microsoft has a huge marketing budget.
Time to get more popcorn...
For an article relating to the new information about the Surface, it was light on information. I did some checking and got the specs released thus far. Once again, Microsoft's FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, & Doubt) machine is in full swing. Releasing minimal specifics to get people to delay buying other company's products, so they can try to catch up. The really interesting specification is the missing one. I saw NO reference to cellular data, even as an option form either model. So much for the business crowd. And the fact that the 2 models don't run the same programs is going to confuse a lot of customers.
We'll have to wait and see how people react to it, but I'm not sure I see the point of the Surface -- which appears to really REQUIRE a keyboard, since its so file-based. Why should I buy a tablet that needs a keyboard (and a flat surface -- ie a desk -- to use it) when I can get a Win 8 Ultrabook for the same money or less?
Maybe that question will get better answered when the thing is actually out. Including MS Office was certainly a good move, and MAN it's refreshing to see a company at least TRY to come up with something other than "wah, I wish I was an iPad" in terms of form factor and UI for a change.
Once again, Microsoft's FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, & Doubt) machine is in full swing. Releasing minimal specifics to get people to delay buying other company's products, so they can try to catch up.
You mean as opposed to Apple's FUD machine, which has let little drips of iPad mini info to hit the streets for over a month? Gee, my sister was in best buy looking at tablets and the guy there was telling her to wait until the end of the month, Apple was going to be releasing an ipad mini. (Which I was sure was garbage, because it would require all those developers to once again redo their apps for yet another screen resolution and such).
And you make it sound like Microsoft has such a position in the tablet world that they have the pull to make people wait. Seriously? How many people do you really think said to themselves "Wow, I'm in the mood to buy a tablet. But I hear MS is coming out with one sometime in October. I think I'll just wait! I'm sure it'll be great!". Please. That's what people would do for Windows 98. Or for the iPad 3 (oh, sorry, the 'new ipad'). Not for some product with absolutely no history. You really need to move into the 21st century. MS doesn't control the FUD anymore.
The really interesting specification is the missing one. I saw NO reference to cellular data, even as an option form either model. So much for the business crowd. And the fact that the 2 models don't run the same programs is going to confuse a lot of customers.
So, that must mean it doesn't exist, right. Except you already said the information was sparse. So why would you expect all the information you're looking for to be there? And what business would be sweeping in for a new device right out of the box? Don't you remember how long it took for any real businesses to even start looking at an iPad?
Oh, and if they had it, there'd be snickers on these boards that:
1. Oh, it's only 3G? Apple's going LTE people!
2. LTE? Are you kidding? That sucks battery!
3. Covers all cell networks in one device? I bet it's really heavy! Apple does it right, letting you just buy the network you use today!