BLOG: It's going to be a busy few months ahead for Microsoft. The computer software and hardware giant has some really interesting products coming out leading up to 2013. Here are just a couple.
Last week Windows 8 was made available to software developers and IT Professionals that subscribe to Microsoft's MSDN and TechNet programs. This enables early adopters to prepare for the wider public release on October 26. I've been using the release version of Windows 8 for a week now, and it has certainly been an interesting experience. Users familiar with the standard Windows Explorer interface might get a shock when they launch their shiny new Windows 8 PC, or upgrade from an earlier version of Windows.
It is clear that Microsoft are aiming at 'tablet' users with this new version of Windows, and it's no surprise that on the same day that Windows 8 is launched in October, Microsoft will also release a new product to the market - Surface, a tablet computer.
The Microsoft Surface will be released in 2 versions, the "Surface RT" and "Surface Pro". The "Surface RT" will be released in October, run Windows RT and have an ARM processor (like may other tablets and smartphones), and the "Surface Pro" will run Windows 8 and have an Intel i5 processor (like entry laptops). The "Surface Pro" won't be released until January 2013. It is yet to be known whether it will be a worldwide release, or initially available only in the US.
Windows RT is a version of Windows 8 that only runs on ARM-based devices. The ARM is a type of processor commonly used in tablets and smartphones. Big names such as Lenovo, Dell, Samsung, and Asus will be producing devices that run Windows RT. These devices will include tablets, tablets with dockable keyboards, and laptops. It will be interesting to see how these devices will compete with Microsoft's own "Surface RT".
I can see these devices taking on the Apple iPad, innumerable other 'Android' tablets, low-end laptops, and UltraBooks (really light laptops). The price is going to have to be very competitive with the iPad to make any headway into Apples dominance of the tablet market. Rumour has it that Microsoft may even sell them at $199, making a loss on every sale to buy market share and stimulate application development. A number of peripherals have also been announced for the "Surface" series such as covers and keyboards. Browse over to surface.com for more information.
Have you used Windows 8 yet? Would you buy a Microsoft brand tablet? I think I'll keep hold of my iPad for the time being...