Microsoft Surface Tablet Features, Release Date: As October Event Approaches, Why is Company Silent? Apple iPad Showing Weakness, Says Research
With Microsoft's enigmatic media event fast approaching on Oct. 25 -- likely the unveiling of its new Surface tablets - many consumers are beginning to wonder why the company isn't busy generating excitement for its latest products. Today, new research findings echo that sentiment. The time for Microsoft to strike couldn't be much better. Apple's iPad has lost 29 percent of its share of the tablet market over the last year due to the introduction of new lower-priced tablets, according to a report from Pew Research Center.
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The survey found that while 81 percent of tablet users surveyed in 2011 reported owning an iPad, now just 52 percent have the device. Nearly half, 48 percent, now own an Android-based device, and about half of those devices, 21 percent, are Kindle Fires, the survey found.
Pew Research Center found that iPad owners do stand out in one area from Android owners, iPad owners reportedly use their tablets more often in general, and more often for reading news. Apparently, Android users are more likely to use social networks and follow news that comes from friends and family.
This is a big opportunity for Microsoft. The market conditions are clearly moving in the company's favor. Nearly a quarter of U.S. adults, 22 percent, now own a tablet device, double the number from 2011.And nearly a quarter of those who don't have a tablet, 23 percent, plan to get one in the next six months.
Microsoft's Surface, and Surface RT tablets should fill the major void still lingering in the market of a device that can do more than just media consumption.
But with Microsoft's rumored unveiling of the Surface tablets just weeks away, why is the company so silent? Books & Review commenters have echoed the sentiment.
"I am ready to get behind Microsoft on this but here it is October 1st and still no pre-order, let alone price for the Surface. As a current ASUS Transformer Prime owner (which I want to sell to get a Surface), I am ready to go with their Windows 8 Transformer if Microsoft doesn't get off their duff here. It is time to generate the excitement for Surface...now!" said garak0410.
"Yeah it's cutting it close to the release date without even pricing. I know so many people that want this SOO badly, they are just waiting to hear the price point to decide if it's worth it," added user Nathan Jervis.
Microsoft is still not sharing the specific venue, time, or agenda for the New York launch. And while Microsoft officials divulged that there will be a Manhattan holiday pop-up store opening this fall, they declined to say whether it would be open in time for the Windows 8 launch.
A month ago Microsoft Surface street art appeared in New York. The Microsoft Surface street art features a colorful keyboard below the word "surface."
We're guessing Microsoft was either hoping that its low-profile advertising campaign would get people talking about its new product, or maybe there's just a graffiti artist who is psyched about the Surface Tablet.
Regardless, it's the only kind of buzz we've seen the company trying to possibly generate for the Surface. The street art hasn't been commented on let alone confirmed by Microsoft, so, we hardly have anything to go on in that department.
Microsoft Surface Features
The RT sports a HD screen (1280 x 720), while the Pro has a 10.6-inch Clear type Full HD (1920 x 1080) screen with 16:9 widescreen.
That means they are among the biggest tablets in the market. If you are not satisfied with the typical 10.1-inch tablet, you can go for the Surface tablet. Along with the touch keyboards with the device, you can turn the machine to a small notebook.
The Surface tablet comes with five Touch Covers. Well, you can pick up any one while purchasing the machine. Different from typical keyboards, the Surface keypads provide brilliant typing experience thanks to their touch-based surface.
The Surface tablets mount both front and rear cameras. The front camera, named life cam by Microsoft, makes the tablet perfect for video chatting through Skype or other services. Using the rear camera, you can capture images and video clips.
Microsoft puts forward better memory options with the Surface tablets. The device comes in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB options. The 128GB is available only with Surface Pro. Further, you can expand the memory using external memory sticks thanks to microSD card slot. That is, you can store enough data including music, software items and video in external clips.
The 3mm Touch Cover can be connected to your Surface tablet with a single magnetic click, so, now you can type text and send messages quite easily.
The Surface's tablet housing features a revolutionary kickstand. Along with fully functioning keyboard and track-pad, the integrated kickstand helps you place the gadget in both portrait or landscape modes.
According to Bloomberg, Surface will only be able to go online using a short-range Wi-Fi connection. This is a stark contrast to Apple's iPad 3, which has a 3G option, and a faster LTE connection.
Media tablets powered by new Microsoft operating systems Windows 8 and Windows RT will have an impact on the overall market - just not this year, according to market intelligence firm ABI Research.
Windows-based tablets will commence shipments at the end of October and capture an estimated 1.5 percent of total tablet shipments for 2012. Pricing for Windows tablets will be a key consideration for end-user adoption.
If priced aggressively towards current Android tablets, Windows tablets could see 2013 shipments increase 10-fold year-over-year. But if they're priced like Apple's iPad offerings, Windows tablets may only double or triple shipments in 2013. Growth in the total available market is expected to come from businesses adopting tablets, which is expected to be a strong area for Windows 8.
Microsoft CEO admitted recently Surface tablets would be priced to compete with products like Apple's iPad, and Amazon's Kindle Fire HD. Ballmer said Surface tablets would likely sell from "probably $300 to about $700 or $800″ depending on whether they're equipped with Windows RT or Windows 8 Pro.
Ballmer also made clear that Microsoft has no interest in getting into a price war with Amazon or Google by offering low-cost 7-inch Surface tablets because he wants people to see the Surface as a professional device that can be used for work as well as media consumption.
"If you say to somebody, would you use one of the 7-inch tablets, would somebody ever use a Kindle to do their homework?" Ballmer asked rhetorically. "The answer is no; you never would. It's just not a good enough product. It doesn't mean you might not read a book on it."
Ballmer's statements confirm earlier whispers of the Surface's two-tiered pricing, with the more expensive Windows 8 Pro-based tablet likely selling for around $800.