Why the Microsoft Surface “all-purpose” tablet matters in the business environment

Microsoft-Surface-TabletWhat happens when you find a good product or service? Usually, the product is marketed and becomes over-saturated with various brands.  You, guessed it!  That’s exactly the story with tablets and smartphones.  Your world’s most famous company “Apple” continues to dominate the “mobile” world with sales of its iPhone 5 / “new” iPad device and its packaged with iOS software platform.  (Honorable mention to Google’s Android OS) As a business /technology end user – I was able to demo a first generation  Microsoft Surface tablet (starting at $499.00)- just prior to the holiday season.  While I expected a full blown Windows 8 tablet, (PRO version)  I had to pleasure to test Windows RT. (designed for the mobile environment.)  Yes, the operating system did have some limitations, but the business will appreciate it features that move you beyond the consumer “iPAD” experience.  The WOW factor wasn’t the Windows 8 “look and feel”, but the Surface comes equipped w/a special edition of MS Office 2013.  (IE: Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, and OneNote – note taking on steroids) Finally, the fat Desktop Office client on a tablet.

The iPAD is a successful, but a limited device – the Surface provides the business users access to:

  • Read e-mail and attachments
  • Create / Edit files
  • Search for e-mail and files in document management systems
  • Track edits and changes
  • Run MS native desktops apps
  • Digital note taking with stylus and/or keyboard
  • All Day Battery Life
  • USB/HDMI easy access

The Surface offers you the “all-purpose” tablet for business and pleasure.  While the iPad is great for consumers – the absence of a true e-mail client and requirement of various third party apps for a word processing editor has always been troublesome for me.  In Spring 2013,  Office 2013 will be available on the iOS and Android platforms.  Microsoft still dominates the software desktop client world.

The areas of limitation are obvious – It’s all about app development!.  Microsoft has been behind with its closed ecosystem, but new app  are available in the online Windows Store.  After purchasing a Surface – it’s best to check the Windows Store on a daily basis for available downloads.  You expect apps to immediately be available from the the larger corporations, and shortly after from the smaller private developers.  It’s also unclear how Microsoft plans to educate consumers on the difference between Windows RT and Windows 8.  You’ll need to wait for the PRO version for the legacy application installation / overall support and your beloved retina display isn’t an option.  WiFI only – 4G LTE isn’t available.

It appears that Microsoft got this one “right”.  The Pro version (starting at $899.00) will be released within the next 60 days (Full copy of Windows 8) Surface provides capability for gaming, music, movies – while being engineered to do some serious work.

Now that Microsoft is finally in the game with its tablet – the next few months should be interesting!


  1. ellen

    I have yet to see one of these ‘in person’ and am really curious about them. Does this have a USB port or anything yet? Thats kind of what I am waiting to see in the tablet market is something like that so you can work back and forth with it and a laptop/desktop.

    • Ted

      Yes, it comes equipped with USB 3.0 support

  2. Tim

    I bought a dell laptop with windows 8. I don’t like it and going to send it back. I like the look of the surface but a lot of reviews I read early on said they were slow.

    • Ted

      Tim –

      You should go to your local store — I went to Staples and tested this the Surface out again for an additional hour. Its the Windows RT version, but the WIFI only seemed sluggish. The sales rep was knowledgeable and identified the public WIFI was questionable, but didn’t seem clunky. We need to remember it’s a 1st GEN product – so anything is questionable. My recommendation is probably wait for the WINDOWS 8 version of the MS Surface. (legacy support / USB / MS OFFICE 2013 ? ability to join a corporate domain — nuff said for me)

      Still waiting on the explosion of APPs…. Developers, Developers, Developers.



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