June 19, 2012

Microsoft's Surface Devices: A Different Approach to Tablets

Microsoft surface tabletAfter much hype in advance, Microsoft debuted its new Surface line of tablets this week. The advance word was that Microsoft would be taking direct aim at Apple's iPad with its line of tablets, and would also challenge Android-based tablet devices. In truth, though, the Surface devices are much more in line with Microsoft's long-standing concept of Windows-based PCs than they are with existing tablets. Surface devices may do well in business use cases, but don't write the iPad or Android tablets off yet.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer introduced the Surface devices on stage yesterday, and, in every way, they are pitched as devices intended not to stray too far from Windows PC conventions. For example, Surface tablets integrate a more traditional keyboard (doubling as a screen cover), rather than force-fitting a required touch interface on users. (Surface devices do work with touch, though.) This will, purportedly, make it easier for users to stick with traditional Microsoft Office applications and the keyboard-centric interfaces that they have. 


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