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Monday, June 18, 2012

Microsoft introduces the Surface tablets and leave a lot of questions

Microsoft held a press conference here in Los Angeles today. They supposedly borrowed ideas from Apple’s press events, but they missed a few of the important parts.

First, the conference took place at 3:30 PM here in Los Angeles. That’s 6:30 PM on the East Coast. I presume Microsoft didn’t want to rattle the markets. Otherwise, why not 10:00 AM like Apple does it?

Anyway, the Surface tablets look nice. I like the idea of a cover that doubles as a keyboard. MS also included a video port and a full-sized USB port.

Gizmodo has 5 unanswered questions for MS:

  1. Does this thing come with a cellular option? Wi-Fi is fine for hotel rooms, but a lot of places out in the field don’t have convenient Wi-Fi.
  2. MS told us the storage options, but didn’t mention amount of RAM, processor speed, or battery life.
  3. How much will this thing cost and when will you bring it to market? Again, vague answers. On cost, MS says, “competitive.” Competitive with the iPad and MacBook Air, presumably. And other Ultrabooks and tablets.
  4. As for when, they said they would bring out the Windows RT version with an ARM processor (similar to the iPad’s) when they introduce Windows 8. The Surface running full Windows 8 Pro with an Intel i5 Core processor (similar to the MacBook Air) comes out 90 days later. So it depends on when Windows 8 comes out. And so far, the most definite answer to that is “October.”
  5. How about the press trying out the keyboard? Microsoft said “No” to that, as this was a “look, but don’t touch” session.

I read Microsoft’s press release and looked at the pictures. Looks interesting. But where can I try one out? The Apple Store has branches just 20 minutes from me. The nearest Microsoft Store is down in Century City.

One question was answered today. The spec sheet for the Windows RT model mentions Office Home & Student 2013 RT. So MS has people working on Office for the ARM family of processors. That would include the iPad’s A5X. Could Office for the iPad be in the future? Stay tuned...

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