As usual, Microsoft is pretty late to the game and has been struggling to gain a decent share of the market since few years. These delays cost them huge and has provided an opportunity for Google and Samsung to flood the market with cheaper devices. Apple polishes an existing technology to such an extent that it appears to be invented by Apple. They are an expert in that and hence they appear to be innovative in the minds of people. The world, as it stands today, has been hypnotized to a great extent by Apple and I don’t see this phenomenon ebbing out in near future. The success of i-Devices are a combination of technical excellence, brilliant marketing methods and also being at the right time at the right place. Microsoft is nowhere to be seen in the Tablet market. And Microsoft is slowly but steadily loosing relevance. However, for the software giant, the launch of Surface 2 is a breath of fresh air.
We all know how Microsoft fared with Surface RT and Surface Pro. Lets not even talk about it. But Microsoft is a company which never gives up. Traditionally they have been like a sine wave – they get down but fight all the way back to the top. I don’t understand what made them overlook the drastic changes happening in the technology arena. The CEO Steve Ballmer is not the only person to blame – what was his team doing ? I do admire Ballmer’s passion and commitment. But there are things he has missed and missing them had proved to be disastrous. Probably there was an overkill of process and methodologies that hindered creativity to a great extent.
The Surface 2 Pro and Surface RT’s 1,920 x 1,080 resolution is a small step in the right direction. Also the display is fine tuned to enhance the colors. The tablet users do not want a compromise on experience which Microsoft have seemed to realize – a bit late though. The new Surface 2 feels lighter and is powered by 1.7 GHz nVidia Tegra 4 processor. The Surface 2 Pro is a bit heavier but it includes the top of the range Intel Haswell i5 x86 processor with full blown version of Windows 8.1 – which means your existing desktop applications would work fine on Surface 2 Pro. The Haswell chips are designed for high performance, low power consumptions and a much better battery life. An x86 is Microsoft’s playground. Microsoft has also worked much on the aesthetics by fixing the persistent problems with Kickstands in previous generation of Surface. Also there are several attractive colors to choose from. Additionally, Microsoft bundles Surface RT with Office 2013 – that is an instant value addition. The Pro comes with 512 GB (max) of flash storage. Both the versions of Surface come with 200GB of free cloud storage (Skydrive) for two years. The battery is expected to last quite long than its predecessors. Microsoft is confident that Surface 2 RT could run the whole day on one charge. This surely is an attractive offering that could lure the home and enterprise markets – if the marketing gets it right this time.
The price is where Microsoft seems to have a problem with. The Surface 2 comes at $449 and Surface 2 Pro would retail at $899. The 512 GB flash upgrade would most likely be over and above this amount. The Surface 2 Pro places itself in the league of iPad though offering more features than iPad. But still most prospective customers would be happy over a price cut. Where tablets are concerned, Microsoft does not command a brand loyalty as much as Apple does and it makes sense not to price it in the same league even if Surface 2 Pro offers more.
I would personally prefer working with Surface Pro than working with iPad. The reasons are plenty and I feel it would be much more productive and satisfying working a Surface. iPad is a good tablet though, but just that I like Surface better.
Right now, looks like Microsoft has a killer in its hands – the Surface 2 Pro. It is an awesome product with amazing productivity. All said and done, if people are sane enough, Surface 2 Pro would grab a great foothold in the tablet market. What Microsoft needs is a price cut and a fantastic marketing campaign explaining people as to why Surface 2 / Pro would be much better than any of the tablets they had owned.