Saturday 30th August 2014,

Editorial

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Microsoft Surface Will Dethrone The iPad!

By Argam

My viewpoint might not appear in accord with yours.

I guess you’ve stumbled upon many articles trying to convince you that the Microsoft Surface tablet is not good and will definitely fail. But I think this is a revolutionary device that will dictate the direction at which the PC/tablet world will continue developing. No matter what everyone thinks, Microsoft dominates in the market, and if you still stick to Android not noticing what’s happening around, I think you should have a look at the OS market share graph, according to which Windows OS (including versions 7, XP, and Vista) has 91.77%. I guess this number is enough to convince you the Surface is not just another tablet powered with Windows 8, but it’s the future of all tablets.

Earlier we saw other hybrid tablets (like the Asus Transformer Pad), but none of them was able to beat the new iPad, which has been changed a little compared to the older versions, honestly. This means either the manufacturers have done something wrong or Android has no such power to beat iOS. I personally tend to think Google couldn’t promote Android well enough to compete with Apple in all mobile markets including smartphones, tablets and so on. Of course, I can’t say Android is not popular or something like that — after all, this OS had 68.1 percent share in Q3, 2012. But this number will change a lot after Windows Phone 8 is launched, which is scheduled to take place on October 26.

This version of Microsoft’s operating system is revolutionary in all terms — it replaces tabs with tiles (earlier the original menu bar was replaced with tabs). The latter is the most beloved feature of the Windows Phone OS, and the latest changes will help Microsoft attract more and more users. Moreover, the Redmond-based software giant is going to launch its first tablet in two versions — one will run Windows 8 Pro, while the second will be powered by its slightly alerted variant called Windows RT, which is designed to support ARM processors.

Like Google’s Nexus range smartphones serve as exemplary Android handsets for other manufacturers, the Surface shows how a real Windows 8-running hybrid tablet should look. Other top manufacturers have already announced their own models including the HP Envy x2, Asus Taichi, ASUS Transformer Book, ASUS Vivo Tab, Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga, Samsung Series 5 and Series 7 Slate, Dell XPS Duo 12, Toshiba Satellite U925t, Acer Iconia W510, and so on, but I think neither of them looks as engaging as the Surface. Can’t say what’s the main reason of it — call it marketing or reputation, but the Surface looks as if there is nothing superfluous in its design and specs list.

Both versions of the Microsoft Surface sport 10.6-inch HD displays, an integrated kickstand, a 3mm pressure-sensitive Touch Cover that senses keystrokes as gestures will come in different colors, a full-size USB port and a 16:9 aspect ratio angled at 22 degrees. The main difference is the processors they sport — the Windows RT variant is based on an Nvidia Tegra 3 processor and will come in 32/64GB built-in memory, while the Windows 8 Pro-running model utilizes Intel’s Ivy Bridge platform and has 64/128GB of native storage. This slate has many features to boast, but I won’t deepen into describing them, I would like to talk about their screens now.

Microsoft has explained why the Retina Display found on the new iPad is not as cool as the screen of the Surface. It turns out we should take more seriously the Modulation Transfer Function (MTF) instead of display resolution and pixel density when reviewing or comparing displays. MTF is a combination of both contrast and resolution, and this indicator shows our eyes react when the resolution increases. When it happens the eye’s sensitivity actually decreases, and contrast helps it to distinguish pixels making it way easier to perceive images. Microsoft also recommends us to take into account three things:

1) pixel rendering (ClearType technology),

2) a high-contrast, wide-angle display, and

3) optically bonding the screen “with the thinnest optical stack anywhere on the market“.

As you see, the new iPad that has won the hearts of many geeks thanks to its display has nothing to show off in this area. Moreover, I want to note one more thing, which is very important — the new iPad is always compared with the Surface running Windows RT, which is actually weaker than the one powered with Windows 8 Pro. And though I understand those comparisons are based on the fact Microsoft has revealed prices for this version only (the other one will hit the market later), I want to ask you — do you imagine what will happen when it is released? No one will remember the iPad, I guess.

Well, I can talk for hours about the selling points of the Surface that give actual advantages to this handset, say the Intel processor or the next version of Microsoft Office that now includes 15 apps, but you can meet all of these features and more in a new promo video released by Microsoft. Meanwhile I will introduce you to the price policy the company will run.

The 32GB Surface costs $499 that is $100 less than the new iPad at the same capacity memory, while the 64GB model with the keyboard is adequate with the 64GB iPad, though the latter has no accessory to come with. If we compare the keyboard+32GB Surface variant, which costs $599, we will find it costs just like the 32GB iPad. But let’s take into account that 50% of iPad users also purchase an iPad cover and ~15-20% of iPad users buy a keyboard, so they pay ~$700 for a tablet + keypad in average.

That’s why Barrons thinks Microsoft will be selling 3 million of their tablets in Q4 and 9 million units in 2013. Of course, this number is less impressive than Apple’s 3 million units sold during the first weekend and 12 million sold iPads in the first quarter of its launch, but I can’t remember any predictions made by analysts referring to Windows Phone OS to be so positive.  So I guess this is the time when we can see how Apple’s rival for ages, Microsoft, can overthrow the Cupertino-based giant.

User Profile

With a major in Information Systems and with much interest in mathematical models Argam is anyway in love with all types of gadgets and has "professional" interest in Android. Training really hard in a gym is his daily duty, but Argam loves playing vampire video games, watching horrors and draws as well.

User Name: Argam
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