Well it has been a few hours since the mystery was solved and I think a lot of folks in the tech industry are still in a semi-state of shock with what Microsoft announced in Los Angeles today.
The rumors have run rampant since the secretive invites were sent out to the tech press four days ago and ultimately the idea of some type of tablet announcement settled in as the popular choice. I am just not sure that a Microsoft branded tablet was what most thought would come out of it.
I have been checking out Twitter, the various live blogs and increasing coverage of the event across sites just to get an idea of what we are seeing and I am impressed so far with the reactions.
First let me start out and say I am most impressed with the level of secrecy and stealth this project maintained through development, production, testing etc. No Microsoft Surface tablet prototypes were left on bar stools or anything like that. To not have any employees mention it, tweet about it or anything like that is very impressive.
As for the name I like it as it is different in this market. I know Microsoft has previously used the Surface name with their large format wall mounted and table sized interactive tables but in reality this project could hide behind that name as it was being worked on without drawing any suspicions to it. Just in case your curious the product formerly known as Microsoft Surface is now called Microsoft PixelSense.
A lot of people are talking about the impact this direction will have for Microsoft when it comes to OEM’s that typically build Windows hardware for Microsoft’s flagship OS. With Microsoft moving into the hardware design and manufacturing side of things they now have the ability to really tailor the hardware to the OS in ways that simply were not possible on other manufacturers machines. In the long run I am not sure this has any impact on OEM’s developing their own tablets for the market like they do now. Maybe it will force them to be more creative instead of letting Windows tablets be an after thought.
This move also adds another level to my own belief that Windows 8 is a transitional OS that is blending the conventional desktop Windows environment with the new Metro based, touch focused interface.
As Patrik Löwendahl wrote earlier on his blog in a post entitled Windows 8 just got more context – Surface for Windows the blend between tablet and pc, Microsoft is also merging together hardware that can function as a desktop, laptop and tablet and Windows 8 is the OS that is going to glue that experience together.
I strongly believe that someday we will have desktop systems, both in our homes and in the Enterprise, that are docking stations ready to accept our Windows based tablets. Walk into your office and plug into the dock and suddenly your monitors light up with the desktop image and the full size keyboard and mouse are ready to go. You will have full network connectivity as well as your data in the cloud.
When it is time to travel, either from your office to a meeting or a trip cross-country, you will simply grab your docked Windows based tablet and head out the door of your office. Your files will be available either in the cloud or through your organizations wireless connectivity.
This is the future we are heading towards and these tablets and others like them will be part of the catalysts that will drive the change and personally I am ready for the ride.
Looking for coverage and more info on the new Microsoft Surface tablets?
Here is a list of resources for you:
- Official Microsoft Surface website (Microsoft)
- Announcing Surface: New Family of PCs for Windows (Microsoft)
- Live: Microsoft unveils new Surface tablet computer (GeekWire)
- Video: Microsoft Surface keyboard/cover in action (GeekWire)
- Microsoft’s Surface Tablet Takes On Apple’s iPad (All Things D)
- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on Where Microsoft’s New Surface Tablet Fits in PC Ecosystem (All Things D)
- Microsoft Launches New Surface Tablets With Windows 8 (All Things D)
- Microsoft Surface Touch Cover has a full multitouch keyboard and touchpad (The Verge)
- Steve Ballmer on Microsoft Surface- ‘we want to prime the pump’ (The Verge)
- Microsoft Surface with Windows RT hands-on pictures and video (The Verge)
- 10.6-inch Microsoft Surface tablets announced, powered by Windows 8 (The Verge)
- Meet Microsoft’s Surface tablet (c|net)
- Hands-on- Microsoft’s Surface (pictures) (c|net)
- Microsoft Announces Surface Tablet (TechnoBuffalo)
- Microsoft Surface Tablet Will Get Smart Covers With Built-In Keyboards (TechnoBuffalo)
- What’s the Difference Between the Windows RT and Windows 8 Pro Surface Models (TechnoBuffalo)
- Microsoft Surface Tablet Hands-On Video (TechnoBuffalo)
And finally let me close this out by sharing the marketing video for the new Microsoft Surface Tablets: