Will the new Microsoft Surface tablet be able to take on the iPad?

02/07/2012

Will the new Microsoft Surface tablet be able to take on the iPad?

Editors note: This is a guest post by Joe Linford. He is a technology writer at Broadband Genie. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook.


The launch of the recent Microsoft Surface tablet generated much enthusiasm among gadget lovers and the industry has already declared it as the next big thing that is all set to rival Apple’s iPad. But will it really be able to rival the iPad?

Let’s discern some of the features of the Surface and how they compare against the iPad:

Looks

You have to agree that the Surface looks amazing! Microsoft will introduce two models of the tablet – Microsoft Surface Windows RT and Microsoft Surface Windows 8 Pro.

The Surface launch event showcased how the tablet can be used with a Touch Cover and a Type Cover, which is really a soft keyboard integrated into a cover, with a touchpad, quite similar to a notebook computer’s keyboard. The iPad doesn’t support a touchpad or a Bluetooth mouse, limiting its functionality just a little bit.

Although, quite a few critics have said that Microsoft is having a hard time deciding if the Surface is a tablet or a sleek version of a Netbook. Given how it can be integrated with a touchpad and a keyboard, we’ll have to agree, but this added functionality could make it popular with people who don’t prefer the touch screen, or like using a tablet for business.

The new iPad is packed with the crisp Retina Display, while the Surface 8 will come in two resolutions – 720p and 1080p.


Price

Microsoft has not disclosed the cost of Surface, but according to PC World, it is estimated to be priced around $600, which is steep compared to the iPad. The iPad is priced at $499 for the 16GB size.


App support

Since the launch of the iPad and iPhone, a lot of app developers have shifted their focus from web based applications to mobile applications. A great example is Instagram, which is available only for the iPhone, iPad, or Android phones.

Tapping into this market can be challenging for Surface, more so because Microsoft doesn’t really have an app library, but the tablet will be compatible with older Windows applications.


Operating System

Unlike the iPad which runs on the iOS, Windows 8 Surface makes use of the Windows 8 platform. Surface phones can be used as tablet PC’s in the true sense of the word because they are capable of running full-fledged computer applications. The iPad cannot be used for running computer programs.


Other stuff

The iPad boasts of a ten hour battery life, while the Surface doesn’t promise a long battery life.

The Surface is also going to be a Wi-Fi only device, which is limiting for a tablet. The iPad definitely wins this round.

With a product that crashed in its debut demo, the Surface may already have turned away some potential customers.

Nevertheless, the Surface looks amazing and will certainly have takers when it’s available for public, although consumer purchase decisions will largely be fuelled by user reviews. How it will perform in the market remains to be seen.

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