While nearly a week has passed since Microsoft announced its Surface tablets, details about the slates remain sketchy. What isn’t sketchy, though, are the strong opinions of technology watchers about the new devices.
Without doubt, the Surface tablets — one line running Windows RT, the other running Windows 8 — have their fans and detractors, but most acknowledge the move will be a game-changer for Microsoft, whether it’s successful or it falls flat on its face.
Sure, Microsoft has made hardware in the past with mixed success, but Surface is something different, Joshua Topolsky argues in The Verge. “The announcement of the Surface shows that Microsoft is ready to make a break with its history — a history of hardware partnerships which relied on companies like Dell, HP, or Acer to actually bring its products to market,” he wrote.
“That may burn partners in the short term,” he continues, “but it could also give Microsoft something it desperately needs: a clear story.”
How clear that story will be remains to be seen, however. The iPad is a single product. Surface will be two products running operating systems designed for different processors. That’s bound to create confusion among some tablet buyers.
On the other hand, Microsoft’s new tablet designs could bring a level of rationality to the non-iPad market that has been unseen thus far, contends Joanna Stern, of ABC News.
“Other hardware manufacturers will still make Windows 8 tablets, laptops, desktops, and crazy computers but Microsoft’s Surface will be the reference design; it is the pinnacle of how Microsoft envisions its software and the hardware working together,” she writes. “It sets the bar higher for the HPs, Dells, and other computer makers of the world.”