Microsoft has confirmed the arrival of its new tablet, dubbed “Surface” via press-only invitations to a launch event happening on October 25. Following the conclusion of the event, the tablets will actually be available for sale at Midnight PST via Microsoft’s website as well as the actual brick and mortar retail stores – 27 locations in the US as of this writing. The new tablet will be running Microsoft’s new operating system, Windows 8, and will come with a keyboard integrated into the built-in cover. Pricing is still not definite, but most analysts think the tablets will range in price from $500-800, making them slightly pricier than the current tablet champ, the Apple iPad.
What this means for you:
If you’ve been waiting for a “Windows” tablet with bated breath because your business is firmly entrenched in the Microsoft camp, or your IT department is slow to incorporate the beloved iPad into their technology implementations, I wouldn’t hold your breath that the arrival of Surface will change that timetable in the immediate future. Windows 8 is still very much untested in the corporate IT space, and the business world at large will be predictably slow in adopting it, as most businesses are only just starting to adopt Windows 7. Tablets, like laptops before them, represent a difficult challenge to most IT departments in terms of managing both the hardware as well as the data on them because of their highly mobile form-factor.
The arrival of a “Windows” tablet may allow for a more corporate style of tablet usage, with the underlying expectation that because the tablet is based around Microsoft technology, that it will be easier to manage from a corporate perspective and able to leverage existing investments in MS platforms. If you are the adventurous type and don’t already own an iPad or Android-based tablet, the Surface may be worth investigating, but don’t expect a robust app choice until (and if) the device can carve a niche into the existing tablet marketplace.