Microsoft’s new tablet – The Microsoft Surface – My conclusion – Vaporware

Yesterday Microsoft announced that they would be making their own Windows 8/Windows RT based Tablet.

It will be called the Microsoft Surface.

At a pretty spectacular and intrigue filled event at Milk Studios in Hollywood California, the software giant unveiled the tablet and gave us a few details.

Microsoft Surface Tablet

Microsoft Surface Tablet

Here’s what we know

*A lot of this comes from Microsoft’s official announcement*

  • There will be two types of device – Windows RT and Windows 8 Pro
  • The devices are light – between 1.5 to 2 pounds – ** This may change based on config and manufacturing**
  • They have a 10.6″ screen
  • They will have USB ports: USB 2 for Windows RT and Windows 8 Pro USB 3
  • They will have built in stands – very useful
  • They will both have Touch Covers and Type Covers.
  • The Windows 8 Pro Surface Tablet will support a digital pen as well.
  • They are thin – 9.3mm – slightly thinner than the new iPad
  • The Windows RT version will come with Office ’15’ applications
  • The Windows RT version will come with 32 and 64GB, Windows 8 Pro will also have 128GB optional.

Here’s what we don’t know

  • Pricing – How much will this cost?
  • Availability – When can we buy this?
  • Battery Life – How long will each battery last on a charge?
  • Hardware Partners – Who will make this?
  • How well will Windows work on a screen that small?
  • How well will Microsoft Office work on a screen that small?
  • Geographical Availability – Microsoft’s official word is “Both (Surface tablets) will be sold in the Microsoft Store locations in the U.S. and available through select online Microsoft Stores.” Will they also be sold in other stores and outside the U.S.?
  • Will Microsoft Office be free or preloaded for a premium price?
  • Any video conferencing using the cameras?

and much more….

My take on all this

Microsoft do this all the time and it’s heartbreaking. They set up a really exciting concept and when you scratch the surface (pun intended), you see less than you thought was there.

From a marketing perspective, this was a dream event. They got the tech community excited about a new Microsoft product and paradigm. It was kept secret (except from Ina Fried apparently) and revealed in breath taking fashion.

Today is the day after and this falls perfectly into the dreaded IT category.

Vaporware.

I don’t say this to be derogatory but more in the clinical sense of the word.

Wikipedia defines vaporware this way

….The term also generally applies to a product that is announced months or years before its release, and for which public development details are lacking. …At times, vendors are criticized for intentionally producing vaporware in order to keep customers from switching to competitive products that offer more features.

This is more vision than tangible substance.

It’s a great step vision wise but does absolutely nothing to give Apple pause or change anyone’s mind the day after.

In order for the Microsoft Surface to mean anything, we need way more details than we have now.

In addition, we need to know what if any changes have been made to Windows 8 to make it more user friendly and intuitive.

This is a multi-part puzzle – part hardware and part software.

If Windows 8 remains the same as we saw in the Windows 8 Release Preview and the Microsoft Surface tablet is great and cheap, it won’t matter worth a damn.

I’m looking forward to seeing more.

That’s me.

What do you all think?

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