I've got to hand it to Microsoft: they exceeded expectations by creating a tablet boasting specs impressive enough to compete with the league-leading Apple iPad. What's most exciting is the cover doubling as a full keyboard.
The Microsoft Surface, available in two version, has all the sleek design and powerful guts to go toe-to-toe with the iPad. Coming in at an ultra-thin 9.3mm, it sports a 10.6-inch, 16:9 screen and memory ranging from 32GB to 128GB. What's wowing tablet nerds is the patented Touch Cover: when connected to the device, the case doubles as a full multi-touch keyboard with trackpad. A kickstand at the back of the unit lets you use the tablet like a laptop.
Wow. Just...wow. Kudos to Microsoft for answering a need many customers were clamoring for - a way to properly type on a tablet without using a touchscreen. I know I've had problems with being able to type full emails without making a mistake. I miss the feel of a keyboard when I type, and I'm an iPhone user, so you can imagine how many touchscreen newbies may appreciate the inclusion of a full keyboard with the Surface's design.
For Windows 8 haters, sorry, Surface might disappoint if you really detest that OS, but Windows RT is also available on another Surface model, so Microsoft realizes the varied tastes of OS users. Not bad for a company that is known to limit choice.
The Microsoft Surface tablet
While pricing and availability have yet to be announced, it's clear Microsoft is wagering a lot on this iPad competitor. The Redmond giant is known to fight Apple to the death, well, often to the death of their own products (remember the Zune, Microsoft's answer to the iPod?). So now they want to enter the tablet space, and it's encouraging to see how the company didn't join the fray with a weak product; quite the opposite, Microsoft unveiled details of a tablet that has the greatest potential to steal market share from Apple.
The fact that it's using the Nvidia Tegra processor means the tablet could apply for both business and personal uses. Its app potential is quite high, considering what Microsoft already offers for Windows 8 smartphones. And let's not forget the intelligent design by adding a keyboard Touch Cover, an important form factor likely to sway tablet shoppers to the Surface. If the price is right, the Surface could be extremely popular for first-time tablet buyers.
How will Apple respond? A new iPad for Christmas 2012? Or will it continue to ride the wave of popularity it's enjoyed with iPad 2 sales? Let us know what you think in the Comments section below.
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