A short roundup of the known stats of the Microsoft RT and Pro models vs the iPad. Strange that the industry is quite disputed on whether or not the Surface is something actually credible. What struck me for a predominately software based company, no actual software was displayed or really demonstrated during the demonstration. For every idea and solution pushed forward just as many questions are raised. Who will develop for Arm when an easier Windows platform exists?

Theres plenty of speculation to how Microsoft’s hardware partners could react to the Redmond company producing their own hardware. Me personally I have no sympathy for technology giants. Ever since the 1st public demonstrations of Windows 8 were made and the big deal being made of the Metro interface there seemed to be a limbo like state. Waiting for someone to do something to fill an obvious gap.

Are manufacturers really going to feel that put out? After all their role is to manufacture, shipping out low-cost high-volume units and for the foreseeable future this business model isn’t likely to change. You only have to look at the product lines and business acquisitions to see that they don’t always have the ideas. Dell purchasing Alienware being the prime example. Don’t forget that whoever making the hardware wasn’t named and you can be damned sure MS haven’t gone and built their own manufacturing facilities.

New iPad Surface RT Surface Pro
Processor Apple A5x NVIDIA Tegra-based ARM Intel Core i5 (Ivy Bridge)
Weight 652 grams 678 grams 903 grams
Thickness 9.7mm 9.3mm 13.5mm
Display 9.7″ led IPS Retina 10.6″ ClearType HD 10.6″ ClearType Full HD (1080p)
Battery 42.5Wh 31.5Wh 42Wh
I/O 30 pin dock micro SD
USB 2.0
Micro HD Video
2×2 MIMO antennae
micro SDXC
USB 3.0
Mini DisplayPort
2×2 MIMO antennae
Software iOS 6 + app store Windows RT
Office Home & Student 2013 RT
Windows 8 Pro
Accessories Smart Cover
Dock connectors
Touch Cover
Type Cover
VaporMg Case & Stand
Touch Cover
Type Cover
VaporMg Case & Stand
Pen with Palm Block
Capacity 16GB/ 32GB / 64GB 32GB / 64GB 64GB / 128GB
Availability Now “Around” the Windows 8 launch (fall 2012) “Three months after” the Windows 8 launch this fall
Pricing $499to $829 (USD) $400 to $700 (USD) Ultrabook Based Pricing

Now, if only Microsoft would let members of the press go “hands on” with the thing.

So what is Windows RT?

Think of it as Windows 8 but without the windows and ill only run on an ARM processor. The best way to think of this is in the style of the Windows phone and its metro interface. What you see is what you get as there is no conventional desktop behind the Metro interface as with Windows 8 professional.

So what can you run in Windows RT?

You’re going to be stuck with applications that are solely designed for Metro. Also with Windows RT Nobody is quite sure yet whether these Metro applications are only going to be available from Microsoft equivalent of the App Store or if you’re going to be able to install them from any other source (side loading).

If you really want to get a feel of what Windows RT  will feel and look like,  download the demo of  Windows 8 Windows 8 release candidate and then see if you have a friend with a Windows mobile phone and I’ll give you a comparable experience of what Windows 8 RT is going to feel and run like.

Windows RT runs only on arm-based processors. What is an arm-based processor? The simplest way to explain this is to think of it as a chipset designed for the mobile phone market. Head over to Qualcomm as they have some great information there about system on a chip architecture.

Windows RT comes pre-installed and will not be available for purchase.

First Thoughts.

It’s a compelling product and a bold move for Microsoft. It was the demonstration was okay but not spectacular the one thing you don’t want to happen is to have your demonstration unit lock-up in the middle of a live display. I’m not sure if Microsoft were trying to be intentionally vague but there are still a lot of questions remain to be answered. Battery life, launch partners, will there be an application store but worst of all and this was the main feature that they were trying to sell above and beyond the actual tablet hardware. Why on earth was nobody allowed to do a demonstration of the keyboard in action?

Yes, there may have been a lot of talk that people can type up to 50 words per minute on one of the 2 keyboards but I don’t recall seeing this in action even in the pre shot video footage being displayed.

I’m torn between between thinking were Microsoft being purposefully vague or thinking that there seemed to be some genuine nerves going on there.  The last thing you do when a demo goes wrong is looked panicked, keeping composure seems to be an artform in itself.

Does anyone recall the criticism levelled at the new iPad when it was announced it was going to be heavier than its predecessor? The Pro surface comes in at almost a third heavier so I wonder how that’ll feel after a few hours usage compared to the iPad.

Right now the Microsoft surface is an intriguing product and I’m looking forward to the reviews where people can actually go hands-on with the device.

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