It Looks Good On the “Surface,” But…

Microsoft, on Monday, introduced its new Windows 8-based Surface PCs/tablets. The product was introduced to a select media audience. Features include a cover that doubles as a keyboard, A “kick stand” that allows the user to prop the device up for easier viewing. Also included is a USB 2.0 port and, of course, Microsoft’s Office Suite. Microsoft is mimicking Apple’s distribution model by selling the product only through its on-line stores and the few brick and mortar stores that it owns. Price is a mystery or yet to be determined. Mobile capability, such as 3G or 4G is not defined, and the availability of mobile apps is not indicated as well. The media have taken a cautiously optimistic stand on the product, which will not be available until October, at the earliest, with the more powerful, PC-like, product expected in 2013.

The early blogs and media reports hail this as a tablet that can be used for business. Completely missing, from these individuals, is the comprehension of the concept of computing paradigms, which we wrote about six years ago. The  notion of continuing with a device with PC-like characteristics denies that the 4th paradigm, the internet appliance, is a reality. Apple ushered this paradigm into existence two years ago. The notion of continuing with the same software and the same input devices, including Microsoft’s “Digital Pen,” belies what the paradigm is really all about. That is, a complete change in the way things are done, data handled (note the cloud – not invented by Microsoft – is a big part of what the iPad is all about) and how that changes the way we do business.

I have been, purposely, transacting business on an iPhone and iPad for some time, avoiding my laptop altogether. Microsoft has tried to jamb Windows and Windows apps into everything. The Zune was not successful, and we have already written about how the partnership with Nokia is going – not so good.

The Media has declared the “Surface” as NOT a “me too” product, building its own hardware, the name “tablet,” and the marketing through company stores aside. That is probably true. The question will be, will I want one for me too? Probably not. So, on the “Surface,” things look good, but the probability of taking the wind out of Apple and Google’s momentum is minute.

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