Well it’s official, Mircosoft is ready to lay the foundation for their own line of tablets powered with Windows 8. The recent Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing lays out the details and other information for the October 26th launch date.
Dates and Releases
In the filing, Microsoft provides the tentative date for its Windows 8 release and planned launch of Surface, their tablet offering.[blockquote align="center" style="style2"]The next version of our operating system, Windows 8, will be generally available on October 26, 2012. At that time, we will begin selling the Surface, a series of Microsoft-designed and manufactured hardware devices.[/blockquote]
The timing is no different than what we’ve been expecting for Windows 8 for some time now. With the addition of tablet availability just as the holiday buying season hits full stride, Microsoft is making sure they don’t miss out on their chance to firmly integrate into homes before the end of the year.
The preview releases of Windows 8 have stirred up very polarized opinions on the new operating system (OS). There seems to be a love it or hate it scenario unfolding from users who’ve sampled Windows 8. The new interface is clearly designed for touch devices and as such, those who expect to use a mouse and keyboard are less than excited about navigating the OS.
Here at GeekITDown, the consensus has been positive towards the new OS. Microsoft had to take a bit of a chance and leap into the new mobile-touch age in order to stay relevant and Windows 8 is a decent first step. The bigger question for Microsoft is whether their partners will continue to support them now that they’re creating their own line of hardware (Surface). Even Microsoft themselves acknowledge the fact in the SEC filing.[blockquote align="center" style="style2"]Even if many users view these devices as complementary to a personal computer, the prevalence of these devices may make it more difficult to attract applications developers to our platforms. In addition, our Surface devices will compete with products made by our OEM partners, which may affect their commitment to our platform.[/blockquote]
There’s no question Microsoft has the bank and power to kick start a new tablet like Surface. From a purely commercial standpoint, the tablet market needs a bigger competitor to the iPad and Surface might be the answer.
Beyond the tablet itself is integration with devices and the connectivity that users expect. Microsoft has already laid the foundation for this with SmartGlass. The announcements made at E3 2012 outlined SmartGlass and its functionality. The presentation was impressive and the potential puts pressure on others to step up their game. The SEC filing also intimates their commitment to connecting all devices and data into a single, universal access experience.[blockquote align="center" style="style2"]We invest significant resources in enabling and developing smart connected devices that offer a unified, seamless experience across a common platform. Whether a PC, Windows Phone, Xbox 360, or the newly announced Surface[/blockquote]
While many seem to think Windows 8 is a catastrophe waiting to happen, I think otherwise. There are certainly opportunities for Microsoft to improve the OS, but in a world where touch screens are in demand and mobility for tech gadgets is the norm, Windows 8 is the right fit at the right time for Microsoft.
Surface is a welcome addition to the tablet market. Apple continues to dominate tablet sales despite Androids big push into the market. Microsoft has an established, loyal base with a certain amount of trust factor behind them to cause some disruption. The integration, if done accurately and properly, gives Microsoft an overwhelming advantage over others in the market. Smart connectivity to Xbox, Windows Server and other devices should mean only a small learning curve for new owners and could be a huge benefit for existing Windows legacy users.
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