Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Microsoft Surface, the iPad, and an Act of God.




This week will see the release of the Microsoft Surface tablet and Windows 8 operating software that supports touch screen. To me, it's the technology equivalent to an 80's hair band releasing a new album. Does anyone really care at this point? Evidently, yes. Early reviews have been  glowing and the company reports sold out pre-orders in the first day.

Regardless, it will surely be a tough road ahead for Microsoft fighting to gain a foothold in this new tablet market. Its Internet Explorer by most accounts continues to lose market share in the web browser arena to Chrome and Firefox, and it's playing catch up to Android and iOS on cell phone operating software. Microsoft Office still dominates business offices but Google Docs is free.

Here's a phrase I thought I'd never say: I feel a little sorry for Microsoft. You see, Apple is expected to release its new iPad mini this week. Apple is the technology media darling and can do no wrong even when its products seem flawed or over-hyped. The iPad mini and other new Apple products will undoubtedly steal Microsoft's thunder. And I haven't even mentioned the Android tablet market. How do you pity for the world's largest software company? I'm not a dictator sympathizer but I am human and it's at the very least odd watching as a leader falls be it by guillotine, firing squad, or tablet.

Millions swear by them but I've decided to pass on the tablet. First, I'm too rough on my equipment and so the iPad or any tablet would not last with me. Second, it's an awkward size in my book. I caught flack from women friends after my article on the iPhone 5 being too light, too thin, too small, with no customization. Most say they love theirs. But none have man hands or a head the size of The Great Pumpkin.
If your question is to tablet or not to tablet, then consider the two reasons people get online. To consume (read) content, or create (write) content. I fall into the latter group. I craft more emails than I reply to. I write more articles than I read. I edit more photos and create more illustrations than I post on my Facebook wall or pin on Pinterest. Yes the tablets can add keyboard attachments but why not just get a laptop? The new Google Chromebook, is a lightweight laptop that costs less than all the tablets, excites me more.

So if you do much of your reading online, never drop your phone, wash your hands incessantly, have Veruca Salt syndrome that requires you to have everything new and have it now, have run out of infomercials to spend your expendable cash on, or write email that usually don't go much longer than "Thanks," "No problem," or "Call me" than a tablet may be right for you. Though I predict in about a year, you will be using said tablet as a $400 coaster in front of the exercise equipment in your bedroom that is now a $1,000 towel rack.

But don't listen to me. I never would have predicted a need or want for something in between a smart phone and a laptop. So with luck and time Microsoft Surface may make inroads into the tablet market, but it may indeed take an Act of God to put it back on top as the technology leader.

Article first published as Who is Praying for a Microsoft Surface Tablet? Microsoft is. on Technorati.


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