Not only has Microsoft become one of the premiere app developers for iPhone and iPad, the company isn’t afraid to take on an industry leader with ever improving hardware (and, maybe someday, the software that runs on the new hardware). Here’s the latest iPad killer.
What’s Not To Like?
Over the past year or so Microsoft has gained some market traction with the Surface Pro tablet, as well as a rash of plastic coated Windows tablets by other manufacturers. Translation: Marketshare up.
The latest Microsoft product to capitalize on the tablet market that Apple built is called the Surface 3. Not Pro. Just 3. And, on the surface (pun intended) this model looks competitive, though it’s not an apples to Apple comparison (yep, another pun).
Surface 3 runs Windows 8.1 and comes with a one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal, which includes Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage; where the company pins hopes to a profitable– subscription-based– future.
Starting at $499, Surface 3 customers get a device that is heavier and larger than an iPad Air, but with a 10.8-inch, 1920x 1280 HD display. Battery life? About 10 hours. The base model has 64GB of storage and 2GB of RAM.
As is often the case with iPad and Mac wannabes, Surface 3 bristles with bullet point specifications. USB 3, miniDisplayPort, microSD card reader, all the latest Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, plus a more robust Intel Atom CPU.
Even if all those ports and goodies make for an overweight and hefty device, what’s not to like?
Here’s the problem as I see it. First of all, Surface 3 isn’t really a tablet; at least, not a tablet like iPad Air is a tablet and the standard bearer for the, uh, um, tablet standard. Surface 3 is more of a thin notebook without the clamshell keyboard. It’s much heavier than an iPad Air, and it doesn’t run tablet apps– it runs Windows with a touchscreen.
It might be fair– or at least arguable– to say that Apple’s iPad has more tablet applications than a Windows PC has apps, therefore, certainly more apps for iPad than a so-called Windows tablet notebook hybrid without the keyboard.
But $499 with a Microsoft logo and the Surface brand likely will gain the Windows maker some additional marketshare in the tablet arena, even if Surface is more notebook than tablet. Will Surface 3 kill the iPad? No. Will it make an iPad or iPhone-like dent in the universe? No. But it’s a respectable device so long as you don’t look too closely, and you can stand using a Windows touchscreen. Keyboard not included.