Microsoft’s Surface might be worth the $499 price tag. It certainly has lots of nice features. Here they are:
The Surface has a detachable top cover. It can be converted into a keypad or users can opt in for the built in screen keypad. The removable cover that can be connected to the tablet using a remarkable magnet, strong enough to hold the tablet upside down! Compared to the iPad’s 9.5” height and 7.3” width, the Surface is 10.8” x 6.7”. This gives it a wider and thinner rectangle which in turn makes it a better fit for movie playback. It has stereo speakers and its front and back video cameras are 720p high definition. It has a memory-card slot to expand the storage, a video output jack and a USB 2.0 jack. Any USB device can be easily connected to it: keyboard, mouse, flash drive, speakers, hard drive and so on. The battery lasts up to eight to ten hours. The screen is a very sharp 1,366 by 768 pixels. The Surface uses Windows 8. The Start screen is a patchwork of colorful, interactive tiles. You tap one to open an app, swipe down on one to “right click” it, swipe across to reveal more pages. Each tile is also a tiny dashboard, showing your next appointment, latest Facebook post, today’s weather and so on. It is fast, fluid and fun to use.
Who gives a sh*t?! (I hope you skipped reading the previous paragraph).
Consumers no longer care too much about features. The quality of most products is now so good that most people find it difficult to pick one camera or screen pixel count over another.
What we really care about now is the extras. Apps.
And that is where Microsoft is a long way behind the market. Apple has 700,000 or so apps. Google’s app store has 675,000. Surface has maybe 10,000.
In the early days, consumers will weigh this up in their decisioning especially as there is no price differential buying a Surface or an iPad. In fact, you can get the iPad Mini for $329.
This leads to another point: a tablet that has a keyboard in the cover is ostensibly a very clever feature. However I am not so sure consumers will decide to make a purchase based on this feature alone. We all have laptops. We are buying the tablet for another reason. It is a content consumption device. Not a workstation. I don’t see tablets replacing laptops anytime soon despite the fact that I now use my tablet as much as I use my tablets (yes, I have a few). When it comes to banging out complex multi sheet spreadsheets a tablet won’t cut it even if it has a keyboard.
As a consumer, I welcome the competition. It is only going to lower the price of tablets and speed up the pace of tablet adoption. And as a business owner in the space (we serving advertising to tablet users), more tablets in more hands should mean more business for us.
Nevertheless it’s going to be a long uphill climb for Microsoft’s Surface.
What do you think?