Microsoft enters tablet fray with its Surface device

By Stuart Sumner
19 Jun 2012 View Comments

Microsoft has launched a tablet device called Surface that will be available later this year in two versions, one running on an Intel architecture, and the other on ARM.

Further reading

The Intel version will run the full Windows 8 operating system, while the ARM variant will run Windows RT, a slimmed-down OS.

Microsoft said Surface is designed for both work and play, and it will be hoping that the device will make a big dent in Apple's iPad sales, at least among business users if not consumers.

However, Jan Dawson, chief telecoms analyst at Ovum, believes that Surface fails to blend the mobile and desktops worlds together, and may confuse the marketplace.

"[Surface] doesn't yet live up to the promise of encompassing all the benefits of the tablet-optimised environment and the classic desktop approach and apps.

"In theory, it delivers all the benefits of both the tablet-optimised environment and the classic desktop approach and apps, but in reality the versions available to try at the moment are a horrible mishmash of the two worlds that is likely to be confusing for the consumer."

He added that Microsoft risks upsetting its partners by releasing its own tablet, just as its traditional hardware partners such as Dell are developing their own designed to run Windows 8.

"On the hardware front, what does it say about the tablets Microsoft is seeing from its OEM partners as it gets ready to launch Windows 8, that they felt they needed to launch their own tablet? Either they are not happy with the devices out there, or they are not satisfied with only taking a licence fee from selling Windows-based tablets. Either way, it is a huge vote of no confidence in its OEM partners, who should rightly feel slighted.

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