After days of wild speculation – Microsoft finally unveiled their brand new Surface tablet computer line to the world. Finally, Microsoft are getting into the hardware business with their own line of personal computing devices… and I think it looks great.
There are two versions, one which runs Windows RT and another which runs Windows 8 Pro. The Windows RT version will hit the market as soon as the operating system is ready, which will no doubt be in time for the holiday season. The Windows 8 Pro version will follow shortly after that with extra features such as a digital pen and full backwards compatibility with existing Windows software.
The construction of the tablet looks to be very strong, and the style seems to aim it directly at users who demand more from their tablet computer. This means it is more of an iPad plus than a Kindle Fire in my eyes – though don’t be fooled in thinking that means it’s all work and no play. The newly announced Xbox Music service will be fully featured on the tablet, as well as Xbox SmartGlass – the upcoming remote control application for Xbox 360.
Both tablets are around 10-inch and take full advantage of the new Metro user interface with dual cameras, light sensors, accelerometers and a very innovative snap-on keyboard and case which is only 3mm (and available in different colours, naturally). Microsoft are hoping that their new Metro look and feel will capture the imagination of consumers in a whole new way.
At Branded3 our Windows Developers (myself included) have been preparing for the Windows 8 launch, watching hours of training videos and reading 100s of pages of Design Guidelines and Framework Documentation.
With the launch of Windows 8 and Windows RT, a whole new ecosystem of apps will be unleashed to the world via the Windows Store. Our recommendation is to make sure you are ready for it – so if you have got an idea for an app, or want your existing iPad app porting to Windows 8… get in touch!