The anticipated Windows RT tablet is entering the mobile technology market a few days and many customers are getting excited. Microsoft is looking to change the game with their device and frankly they just might do it. The Surface has some massive expectations set before it and its ability to deliver will make or break it. We are going to have an overview of the device as a whole followed by an analysis of some of its features and lastly, we are going to cover Windows 8.
The Surface RT
This thing is a great device, but it is clear that Microsoft wasnÔÇÖt just building a tablet. They proclaim the Surface RT to be a PC, and it is hard to argue seeing as its widescreen makes it a bit awkward to use as simply a tablet. It is longer than the iPad or the Galaxy Note 10.1 and that lends to the idea that its purpose is to be a convertible PC. Not only that, without the additional touch cover to lend it that PC feeling, the Windows RT tablet just feels incomplete.
The issue is that the OS Windows RT feels like a watered down version of Windows 8. It seems to be more of a cross between a desktop and a mobile OS. It has the same general feel and function as the radical new OS, but it is clunky and has quite a few problems. The touch version of Internet Explorer is slow and unreliable, and without apps like Facebook or Twitter being available in the App Store, you must rely on IE to get you to your favorite sites.
Despite all of that, the Windows RT tablet proves to be a very productive piece of mobile technology. It offers something that no tablet to date has, a desktop mode. It feels like you are using a laptop when combined with the Touch Cover, and allows you to utilize a Full Desktop Workspace like it was a laptop. It may take some getting used to and maybe the Pro version of the Surface is where the big change will be, but this beauty will be turning some heads.
The two magnetic covers that are designed for the Surface RT create an overall feel that is completely unique. It may be an off putting idea to spend an additional $100 plus after buying the tablet, but it is worth it. There are two covers that Microsoft developed for the game changing tablet. One is called the Type Cover and costs $129. This cover has small physical keys that make it feel like an actual keyboard similar to those used on Ultrabooks. The second version features touch sensitive buttons and is called the Type Cover. This version is costs $119.
These covers are great, but they lend to what may be a large problem for the Surface RT. When combined and propped up, the whole device is 10 inches deep. This means that it barely fits on an airplanes pull down trays. Not only that, the connection point is not rigid, meaning that without the 10 inches needed it feels awkward. They are perfect for use at a table or a desk, but barely functional on a lap or in a chair.
When compared to the new iPad, the Windows Surface really is found wanting. The resolution difference between the new retina display of the iPad and the Windows tablet is easily spotted when compared side-by-side. It even feels like the touch screen on the Surface RT is less responsive than it should be when it is in the desktop environment. With smaller buttons to tap and the like it makes things frustrating at times. Taking the way Microsoft has been marketing this mobile technology into account, this interaction with the desktop may not have been a priority. If you look at the marketing for the Apple and Samsung competitors, they push their touchscreen capabilities hard. Microsoft on the other hand shows their device with a keyboard and mouse.
A device is only as good as the software that runs it. Windows 8 is an interesting move from Microsoft and is a strong push into the post PC world of touch based interfaces, but it feels like they didnÔÇÖt fully commit. It is flashy, colorful and fun, but is it enough. Windows RT is a version of Windows 8 that is stripped down with the intent of running better on mobile platforms. This has led to a few issues. Windows RT and the Surface RT run on an ARM processor, which means that they need applications coded for this hardware. What this means is, until companies like Google push out a RT version of Chrome or the like, we are stuck with the native apps. Not only that, most of your favorite Windows applications like Print Shop Pro and the like cannot run on the RT version, to do that you need the Surface Pro that is intended to be released around the end of 2012 for around $1000.
Windows 8 is different. It is a bold move by Microsoft that shows a desire to be in the post-PC world, but it still holds onto its past with the desktop mode. It offers many new and innovative ideas, but getting used to the changes can be jarring. Many users have stated that it takes some getting used to, but Windows 8 offers more than the typical OS. This abrupt change may not be for everyone, but if enough users begin to make the change we could see something fantastic.
What I Think
If you ask me I feel that the Surface RT is a game changer, but more than that, I think that it is paving the road for the real showstopper, the Surface Pro. There are opinions on the device, both negative and positive. What you should pull from the many statements being thrown around is that the Windows 8 Surface tablets have a specific target audience and those that are part of it will be in love. This device isnÔÇÖt an iPad and it isnÔÇÖt a laptop or ultrabook. The Surface RT and the Surface Pro are looking to change the game. They are an appeal to users that want one device that can eliminate the need for both a laptop and a tablet. This isnÔÇÖt an iPad and it isnÔÇÖt made by Apple. Microsoft is on the move and this is simply the first window into what they plan to do.