Microsoft Surface hits store shelves

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Nicolas Dmitriev, staff writer

A surprise move by the software and internet service giant Microsoft has many consumers puzzled and interested by their new tablet the Microsoft Surface.

The most unexpected thing about this new tablet is not the product but Microsoft’s move into the tablet market. For many years, Microsoft has been only a software and video entertainment developer. In recent years, though, Microsoft has bought out Skype, multiple game developer studios, unveiled a phone operating system and pushed to compete with the giant Google by heavily promoting their search engine Bing.

It seems with this new tablet and other very recent actions, Microsoft is pushing to be a bigger picture on the market, perhaps looking to compete with Apple and take the top spot in the market for computer tablets. But this move could also turn out to be a set back to their recent advances?

First revealed in June, the new tablets launched on October 26. The concept of these tablets look fresh for the eyes in Microsoft’s heavily advertised commercial show off the matching color keyboards. The commercial applied emphasis to show the consumer the kick stand cover and the clickable keyboard, and most importantly a satisfied crowd of users. But the question remians how satisfied will the real consumers be?

The tablets come in two variations. A Surface for Windows RT will release with the general availability of Windows 8, and the Windows 8 Pro model will be available 90 days later. Both will be sold in the Microsoft Store locations in the U.S. and available through select online Microsoft Stores.

The current Windows RT version will come in specific pricing packages. The tablet will initially come in three variations: 32 GB for $499, 32 GB with a black Touch Cover for $599, or  a 64 GB with a black touch cover at $699. The touch covers are essentially the keyboards that clip on the bottom of the tablet. Black, white, red, magenta and cyan are the colors that you can choose for these touch covers, if you prefer a more classic typing experience with moving keys which will cost approximately $129.99.

The windows 8 pro variations of the tablet will have the 3rd Generation Intel Core i5 Processor with Intel HD Graphics while the rt will have the limited CPU power of the Nvidia Tegra 3. Both the windows rt and windows 8 pro variants will have the following 4GB RAM—Dual Channel Memory,42 W-h battery, and Two 720p HD cameras with microphone. These specifications seem impressive but only to he limits of a tablet as most modern laptops are equipped with an i7 processor in comparisons to the i5 of the surface with windows pro 8 and surfaces rt Nvidia Tegra 3.

Comparing to the surface, the fourth-generation iPad has the same Retina display as its predecessor, packing 2048 x 1536 pixels inside a 9.7-inch display. The Surface with Windows RT comes with 32GB of storage, twice the amount inside the basic iPad 16GB. In addition, the Surface includes a microSD Card slot for expansion, something the iPad doesn’t have. The Windows 8 Pro additional will start with 64GB.

An additional feature that’s unique to the Surface is its USB port, which accommodates everything from USB drives to printers and cameras. Customers will have the ability to make their choice withouth the effect of the better price as both the fourth-generation iPad and the Surface with Windows RT cost $499.

Microsoft surely made an impression, but do they really make an impressive product. The Surface may be something new to the eye but it really isn’t much more than a slightly upgraded tablet with a fancy over-priced keyboard. If you’re not looking to replace your laptop, tablet, or not interested in a tablet, it wouldn’t make a worthy purchase this Christmas season.