Microsoft Surface Tablet Release Date: Features, Rumors, Can It Change the Game?
With a new tablet being introduced or whispered about every day now, how do you distinguish your product and make a dent before you hit the ground? If you're Microsoft, you do the hippest, hip thing your cat-daddy think tank can hip: graffiti.
The company, which unveiled its new logo earlier this week, is apparently adding street art to several buildings in New York to advertise the new tablet before its October 26th release date.
The Microsoft Surface street art features a colorful keyboard below the word "surface." We're guessing Microsoft is either hoping that its low-profile advertising campaign will get people talking about its new product. Or maybe there's just a graffiti artist who is psyched about the Surface Tablet.
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Either way, Microsoft hasn't taken responsibility for the ads, at least not yet, but Microsoft does have a past with sidewalk art advertising. In 2010, the company used sidewalk art in Manhattan to promote the Windows Phone 7. The company also used randomly placed stickers to promote the MSN network in 2002.
It's only natural Microsoft is trying to create buzz, the company clearly wants to position the Surface Tablet as a revolutionary product. Of course, that has a lot to do with it's ties to Windows 8, which is being released simultaneously.
Windows 8, similar to Windows Phone 7, comes with a totally new interface, called Metro UI. Microsoft first introduced Metro in its Windows Phone 7. Later, advanced versions of the interface appeared in Windows Phone 7.5 and the newest Windows Phone 8. Indeed, the tile-based interface will add much grandeur to the look and feel of the Surface tablets.
Both models sport 10.6-inch Clear type Full HD displays 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 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. The Touch Cover can be connected to your Surface tablet with a single magnetic click. Now you can easily type text and send messages quite easily.
According to Digitimes, the Surface will have two-tiered pricing. The Windows 8 Pro-based Surface could be a stiff $800, while the Windows RT-based model will most likely only set you back around $600 dollars. It's worth noting that these initial pricing rumors set the Surface as a more expensive competitor to the iPad 3, whose retail price starts at $499.
The tablet is being toted as an "all-in-one" tablet.
CEO Steve Ballmer said last month that the new tablet could sully relationships with PC manufactures like Asus, Acer, and Dell, but Ballmer expects to sell millions of tablets after the Surface's debut in October.
Microsoft gave consumers a first glimpse of the Surface back in June, when it revealed that the tablet would run on the Windows 8 operating system. 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.
Speaking to Bloomberg, Ben Bajarin, an analyst at technology consulting firm Creative Strategies, said that the Wi-Fi-only status could clash with Microsoft's marketing attempts. "The way that Microsoft is positioning this product - that it's highly mobile but also has the functionality of a notebook - that customer might be more interested in working from any location and not being bound by Wi-Fi," he said.
Early August saw further rumors surrounding Microsoft's tablet ventures. This time, the rumors weren't so focused on the Surface but on its successor. A job advertisement posted in Microsoft's careers section suggested the company is already working on the follow-up to the Surface.
"We are currently building the next generation of devices and Surface needs you! The Surface development team is seeking a talented senior engineer to work on our next generation Surface. You will be responsible for overall system design and system bring-up/ enablement. You will be a critical member of a team that includes firmware, electrical, software, design validation and mechanical engineers; together, you will bring next generation Surface to life."
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% 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.