2oceansVibe reported yesterday that Microsoft was to unveil a tablet it thought could “rival the iPad”. Microsoft did in fact unveil a tablet overnight that it’s called the Surface. The world’s largest software maker will now also launch its touch-friendly new Windows operating system later this year as a standard on the tablet. It hopes to make a big impact with its new device.
A few years late, Microsoft has finally jumped onto the tablet bandwagon and launched two versions of the Surface tablet.
The most noticeable difference between the Surface tablet and the Apple iPad is the detachable rubberised keyboard. Although, for as little as R599, you could get a Bluetooth keyboard and case for your iPad.
Reuters detailed the rest of the fundamental differences between the two devices.
Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, said Monday that the new device will be as useful for consuming multimedia entertainment as it will be for creating documents, “without compromising the productivity that PC’s are uniquely known for.’’
Luckily, Microsoft Office will be available for the iPad later this year, too.
The Surface will come in two versions, one running Windows RT, based on the same chip designs that power most tablet computers today, and a higher-performance version running Windows 8 Pro.
A prototype was demonstrated by Ballmer at a secret event in Los Angeles yesterday, and the tablets will be available when Windows 8 ships later this year.
No details on pricing were mentioned, except that it would be “comparable” with current ARM tablets and Intel-powered Ultrabooks.
Microsoft shares rose a little in after-hours trading, but closed down 0,6 per cent as analysts realised the new device wasn’t anything special.
Microsoft hopes this direct competition with its closest hardware partners such as Samsung Electronics and Hewlett-Packard will boost future growth.
Sales of tablets are expected to triple in the next two years, topping 180 million a year in 2013.
Tablets are continuing to outstrip growth in traditional PC’s, and Apple has sold 67 million iPads in the last two years.
Google will likely follow suit and experiment with something similar at the end of this month after buying phone maker Motorola Mobility this year.
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