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Microsoft Surface Isn’t a Threat to Google [Opinion]

Yesterday Microsoft unveiled their new tablet, Surface. A reimagination of the original Surface concept, Microsoft’s new tablet combines Windows 8 with a slew of ideas borrowed from multiple devices. Does Microsoft’s latest foray into the hardware space threaten Apple, Google, or Amazon?

While Microsoft hasn’t announced important details about Surface like battery life or pricing, it’s safe to say that the hardware alone is intriguing. While Surface doesn’t look like an iPad (it’s made with magnesium instead of aluminum), its keyboard cover and built in kickstand position it in both the consumer and professional space. In fact, the color options for the keyboard covers look eerily similar to Apple’s Smart Covers. Make no mistake about it – Microsoft wants to go head to head against the iPad because they know that the iPad is slowly eating computer sales left and right.

Microsoft has a key advantage over the iPad, however, in that Windows can do things that the iPad can’t. Microsoft’s success may ride not only on battery life and price, but on emphasizing those differentiating features against the iPad. If Microsoft wants to win in the tablet space, they need to take sales away from Apple, not Amazon or Google.

That leaves Amazon and Google to compete for the low end. It’s no secret that Android tablets haven’t sold well. The only marginally successful tablet compared to the iPad has been the Kindle Fire, which is free of Google services.

Based on the rumors, Google is done trying to challenge the iPad head to head and I don’t blame them. It takes a lot to challenge an incumbent in a space and Google wasn’t able to deliver. If the rumors are to be believed, Google thinks its best bet is to steal the bottom end of the market from Amazon and leave Apple the pricier side of the market.

From Google’s standpoint that makes sense. Google doesn’t make money selling hardware; Google makes money selling ads. The best way to sell ads is to get a device with Google services in front of as many people as possible. Apple, on the other hand, makes money selling hardware. If Microsoft is gunning after the iPad, that leaves space for Google to dominate the rest of the market with a cheap, powerful tablet that offers a better experience than the Fire.

At Google IO I’m expecting Google to blow the Fire away and ignore the iPad and Surface. Google needs to get their ecosystem in place before they can really challenge the iPad; taking down the Fire won’t take much. Taking down the Fire puts Google in control of Android tablets again and warns other OEMs against forking Android. If Google can control their OS and get developers to make killer Android apps, Google can go for the iPad and Surface.

Microsoft is making huge bets on the company with Windows 8 and by competing with its OEMs. Meanwhile, Google is in the process of befriending OEMs with the new Nexus program and playing the long game against Apple. Surface looks like really compelling hardware, but without pricing and killer Metro apps it will fail in the market. Microsoft has zero credibility in the tablet space. They don’t want to risk fighting for third space in tablets like they are phones.

Google has the money and the resources to play the long game with Apple. Google has a much better relationship with consumers in mobile thanks to Android. If Google can harness that relationship from Android in conjunction with Google services and hardware, they may have a shot at killing the Fire first and the iPad later.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Lee/68134073 John Lee

    You actually think this is a threat more to the iPad than Android tablets? Come on, be objective.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      Objectivity doesn’t exist, but yes, I do think it’s more of a threat. Android tablets aren’t competitive right now. Whatever Microsoft does won’t change the fact that Android needs a better tablet OS, more apps, and better content deals/distribution to succeed against the iPad.

  • http://twitter.com/dubius David Du Buron

    As a future buyer of a tablet, I have to say I think there is a threat. No matter how awesome iOS and Android get, they are still “dumbed down” operating systems by comparison to Windows and MacOS. The thought of getting something that is a real computer to carry around for work and home as opposed to what is effectively a toy (let’s face it, everyone puts down their Android Tab or iPad when they get back to their desk) is extremely appealing.

    For just $400, where I was looking more at a Transformer Prime before, the Surface is a great cheap option as well as the must functional option.

    Lastly, if the mobile war has taught us nothing, we know developers make the OS. Windows 8, if it really does support out of the box all past Windows 7 software, then we know who will come out of top in terms of software/apps.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      Re-read my post. Long term this does pose a threat to Google, but not right now. I don’t think Google is going after the high end right now. It doesn’t make sense unless they can get better apps to compete with Apple and MS, Jellybean has a significantly better tablet UI, and Google has better media deals. Until then, I think they’ll focus on the low end. Without those improvements they’ll continue to lose to the iPad.

  • angermeans

    I really enjoy reading your posts Ron. Keep em coming. With that said doesn’t Google competing for the low end mean it is losing. I mean I admire MS for actually taking on the iPad and simply going for low end does not mean you win it means you lose. No one (outside of us of course, I will be picking up the Nexus tablet for sure) will be bending over backwards to pick this tablet up. Apple has simply priced every other manufacturer right out of the market and there is no end in sight of the iPads dominance.

    The reason Android has failed as of yet is the same reason that Android will start to pinnacle out and start either keeping up with its market share or slowly losing it (lets face it we all knew they couldnt keep this up forever). What I mean is it isn’t Google at all that is causing this it is the Android OEMs that care for nothing more than selling its current phone to as many people as possible. We are seeing these companies not respect its customer base and the original 2 year plans that many early android adopters are now coming up and after 2 years of bugs on Motorola phones, no real competitive updates for 8-12 months (if at all), and promised features that never came and the general public are looking elsewhere. Google really needs to tighten the reigns and as excited as I am for this Nexus tablet means nothing in the whole battle for market dominance. You cant compete on the low end and call it good and every PC vendor in the known world has seen this since the release of the iPad. This is only the beginning of Apple’s dominance and it is no longer just for a small niche market of tablet owner, but more of a post PC era where people are buying these instead of grabbing laptops. The world is dieing for a company to innovate and stop waiting for Apple to make a move and then try and beat it. I just dont understand why Google wont give it some time and find the right equation for eating into the iPads market share. They did it with phones and it wasn’t overnight. If they had just given up and decided to only compete in the low end we would all not be sitting here. What I am getting at (sorry if this doesnt read well I just got off 14 hrs of work and school) is that Google’s Android is far from ok when deciding not to compete and ignore the market leader all together and a year of overpriced tablets (ahem Motorola with both its Xoom and Xyboard), promised features that came way to late (again Motorola’s tablets especially its Xoom), no real deals from wireless companies and instead only offering WiFi options (all of the ASUS Transformer line), features that dont work at all (again ASUS and its WiFi problems and dongles), very slow updates (all of the OEMs esp Moto and Sammy), and worst of all an unfinished product that should never have been released when it was (all Honeycomb tablets including the OS). This doesnt cut it we need a polished product and we need not ignore the market leaders and instead deliver a cheap product to compete.

    This whole thing scares me to death as it really looks that in a year or less we wont have any high end Android tablets in the market and we cant rely alone on MS to compete and keep Apple innovating (look at the Zune for hells sakes). Something to think about and this is coming from an Android enthusiast that is frusterated at what Android has become and these OEMs are ruining a good thing. Its a joke. I think the One X is a start and so is the rumor of the 5 Nexus phones (although I feel for some reason all we will see if unlocked Motorola Blur and Samsung Touchwiz devices with the Nexus name being washed into nothing).Google needs to do something big.

  • Michael

    I think this will be way better than Android tablets!

  • Droid4LifeDawg

    Nice Right-up, I personally don’t see Microsoft failing with this at all. I see this as A PC lover’s dream. Finally there is a Tablet/PC we have been waiting forever for that. An IPad Killer (Who really cares) have we forgotten “I’m a PC and I’m a Mac” there will always be those that love both OS and still coexist. I’m just glad that there is now going to be a Tablet/PC, I Love Android, but I was in Love with Windows long before Android came around.

    And you’re right, Google has nothing to worry about this Tablet/PC the Android Tablets seemed to be to Limited, I want an extension of my Desktop experience and that is where this Tablet/PC will come in very useful. Some of us don’t play games all day, yeah I got the XOOM when it first came out and though they made me wait so long for an upgrade, I was actually bored with it once I realized it was nothing more an Entertainment device.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joe-Buck/100003482949493 Joe Buck

    no android maker has anything that can compete with the Surface

  • http://twitter.com/eagleseye David Joyal

    Exactly. Microsoft is targeting a segment that Apple has largely ignored with the iPad but that Android tablet’s haven’t quite been able to reach. I think they will do it well and will eat into Apple’s market share some.

  • Raven

    Call me old fashioned, but I personally do not want anything to do with Windows 8/Metro on my Windows computer. I am planning on buying one last Windows 7 laptop right before Windows 8 starts shipping standard and then waiting to see if they come out with something better in the future and using Android for all of my tablet needs. I really see Windows 8 Metro as being the latest MS Bob/Windows ME/Vista failure that will take yet another generation to correct. See you at Windows 9 or whatever the next naming convention is.

  • mcdonsco

    Agree and disagree…agree with the possibility of google just running the low end market, where i disagree however is where i think you’re missing the point here.

    The holy grail in mobile computing is bridging the gap between mobile devices and desktop devices and THAT is what Microsoft is doing here.

    The only question is, will they succeed? If they do i suspect android is in serious trouble at that point not Apple (see my post in the original surface thread from earlier today for explanation).

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      I’ve written about that middle ground many times. The problem is, ICS on tablets doesn’t do that. That’s why I think Google is going low end first to give them time to revamp for the high end.

      • mcdonsco

        Well that would be the best route for google to take to give them time to come up with something to compete in the higher end, but considering I just paid $599 for a Xyboard I’m not seeing anything worth getting on the low end right now.

        I know there are $100 & $200 droid tabs, but they are A) tough to find/get and B) the specs in terms of power / storage etc just make them glorified eReaders that are (from what I’ve seen) fairly bulky & heavy for an eReader.

        Maybe if manufacturers of droid devices focused on the eReader/Web Surfing aspects more; light and easy to hold for long periods of time with one hand, thin etc and less on “power” then google could survive in that low end market for a long while, but with companies like Asus, Samsung etc all focused on Android “Power” I don’t see them establishing enough of a low end market to take on existing $99 eReaders.

    • Robert Jakiel

      But the gap they are bridging with the Surface Pro is already being bridged by the new generation of Ultrabooks. The Windows RT Surface will be Metro apps only and seeing that there isn’t a huge ecosystem built around it I fail to see where this fits in. Also note that MS is supposedly releasing Office for iPad as well as Android. If that is true for the price of MS Office you now have the “Killer App” available for all platforms. Again I don’t see how either of the Surface tablets will dig into any marketshare at all.

  • Granpa

    I think it all depends on how Microsoft prices the RT. If the RT is released around $300, I definitely think it will put a hurt on Android’s tablet market, which is already not doing well. The fact that it can run native Windows apps is HUGE if it runs them well. Imagine my entire Steam collection of games on the go. What? Take my money!

  • Droidfan

    If it is as slow to boot up as my Windows 7 laptop and desktop…and I have to baby ongoing security issues….and it doesn’t have legacy connection to my existing Windows 7 software…and it costs as much as an ultrabook….OH…I guess I am not ready to make a real decision on this yet.

  • Silver Veloz

    I’m curious to see how this plays out when it’s released. I have a dual core, 4G Android Smartphone now, which pretty much does everything I need for mobility right now. At home I have a 17″ Dell Laptop as my home computer. I got it right before the switch to Vista. So, yes, I still have XP at home (I did reformat it back to stock and cleaned it up and it works great now). When I plan to upgrade to a new laptop or tablet in the future, I may consider something like this. Simplicity for home or on the go. I will be curious about pricing.

  • The Truth

    Some additional points to consider is that not only does Microsoft bring Office and other OEM’s, it creates a new market for peripherals and the “device driver” again. Ipads and Google tablets are fancy internet devices, but they are still largely for viewing of content. That’s their primary function. Most apps are entertaining for a few minutes, but none can fill the niche of the utility of Windows programs. I’m pretty connected with several ipods, ipads, google tablets (transformer) and android phones. But when I need to write a letter or send a long email, or install a batch program to root my devices (;-), it all comes back to the home base, which is Windows. you can’t beat the convenience of Windows. I mostly use a tablet for battery life, portability and convenience. That’s what a laptop used to be until iPad’s came to market. Now, Windows is leap-frogging the Ipad and making a direct threat at MacBook Air laptops, etc. The surface tablets can redefine the space and replace laptops. When you look at the cost of these tablets vs MacBook Air notebooks, it’s no comparison. It’s like comparing windows desktops to Mac desktops. Windows does more and it does it cheaper. Now it’s bringing peripherals and printing (without an app YEAH!) back to the forefront. Apple is not ready for this.

    • Robert Jakiel

      Ummm… hate to break it to you but the Surface that runs Windows RT (ARM version) will probably cost in and around what an iPad costs. The one that is based on x86 which is a Core i5 Ivy Bridge was said, by the presenter, to have the same cost as an Ultrabook. So this will in NO way threaten the iPad, MacBook Air or any Google tablet. As a matter of fact the x86 variant depending on price and cost of accessories may be DOA once the new Ultrabooks are released with Core i5 and Core i7 parts and touch screens. See the Acer S7 as an example.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      iWork is pretty versatile and we have yet to see Office for Metro. I’m not saying that Windows RT won’t be competitive, but I don’t think we can write off the iPad just yet.

    • Steve Wojciechowski

      Amen brother.

  • Robert Jakiel

    Everyone talks as if Google is in trouble and the Nexus 7 is a low end device. What folks fail to realize is that the reason Android handsets took off is due to the Nexus handsets and the ability to do whatever you want and develop on them. This eventually filtered down to other handsets and in the long run made Android so popular. The tablet space has NEVER had a Nexus device until now. Assuming that it launches with Jellybean and developers embrace it as much as they have the Nexus line of handsets it will only be a matter of time before the same thing happens and Android becomes the market leader in the tablet space.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      The DROID was why Android became popular, not the Nexus One.

  • TheRealCBONE

    Google just wants a vehicle for user information and ads. Microsoft wants licensing for their software. Apple wants to lock people into the Apple hard/soft ecosystem to get a cut of every possible revenue generating thing they do. Microsoft is coming at business types still even with Surface. Surface is not what the peeps wanted. They wanted and still want the new hotness (rhymes with You-morons-really-couldn’t-see-the-profit-potential-in-this?-Really?-ourier). The Surface tablets still look like “My Dad’s Work Tablet”. Google has nothing to fear from Surface.

  • florious80

    This article hits the nail on its head. Surface is in no way a threat to the Google/Nexus 7. Microsoft is aiming for a product that’s not focused on consumption alone, but rather, productivity. That comes with a higher price. I think Surface’s main enemy is actual ultrabooks, where they are designed for productivity and power without sacrifices in mobility. If Surface indeed came out as $1000 or more, I see it as a fantastic product for the few. I for one is looking for a consumption device (Nexus 7) that’s cheaper than an ultrabook. I’d use a real laptop/desktop for work. Although if the keyboard cover is really responsive, I can see ppl choosing this over an ultrabook…

  • bananatroll

    like any microsoft tablet/smartphone announcement I simply let this one pass me by. I mean who really cares? Ballmer and his merry bunch of men are creative, yes. But they do not have the ingenuity, perseverance or heart to create something that could ever make a dent in the Apple/Google mobile market.

  • Mei

    I see Microsoft Surface as more of a replacement for my laptop and desktop at home. I will still be using Android tablet for browsing, apps, gaming on the go.

  • socalrailroader

    That’s what Apple said when Android debuted, we all see where that went.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      It’s not a threat to Google now. In the future it may be. Microsoft is gunning for the iPad. Google will have to do the same eventually, but I think they are biding their time until they have a better product and ecosystem.

  • http://twitter.com/AthoraX athorax

    I feel like the windows 8 tablets are going to pull market share from both apple and google. Neither android nor iOS has true desktop level productivity at this point.

    • florious80

      To be honest, tablet was never a productivity tool for me. I do use tablets for work, but there’s no way I’d try to put a presentation together on a tablet. I think if someone bought a tablet to work on, then they are probably misled since these machines simply aren’t designed to do so. Tablets are great for music, movie, browsing, FB/Twitter, etc.

      • ABerry5

        tablets are CURRENTLY not productivity tools, technology and norms change.. and that is what is so damn ironic with apple fans on other blogs talking about how apple will dominate forever… (like they always have right? ;) things change, and they change quick, and IRONICALLY apple fans should be the first people to understand this

  • http://peoplewho.tumblr.com wireless G

    I was initially seduced by the idea of full-fledged Windows on a tablet too, but what W8 really represents is Microsoft’s effort to cram a new tablet OS (WinRT) down everyone’s throats under the guise of it being part of ‘real’ Windows. It may become that, but it’s not now — it’s a separate and incompatible tablet OS intended to make MS the new Apple, with its own ‘app store’ that it will likely suck 30% profit from, like Apple, and its own locked-down media sales.

    Apple created the model — iTunes for music and videos, App Store for software, and everything’s proprietary, locked down, and corporate controlled. Well I’m a Windows user now, but I’m not falling for this.

    Android may suck as a desktop OS right now, and not even be the best for tablets (though I like it fine) but it’s open source and even if Google pulled out tomorrow, everyone can access the code, and groups like Cyanogen would continue to put out great updates in the future. Google is a corporation seeking profits, of course, but they’ve done a great thing in making Android open, and I for one support the OS for reasons that go beyond its short-term quality in comparison to competitors.

    If we want to have open standards, side-loaded apps, music and movies that can be owned and played anywhere, 3rd party apps given all the privileges of 1st party, and generally an open architecture, now’s the time to rally around Android, rather than get behind Microsoft’s bizarro-world Apple strategy.

  • Winston Lang

    Opinions are like a-holes.

    By the waying, I will be buying a Surface. I never understood the need for tablets, but if I can run MS Office on it and it has a physical keyboard, count me in.

  • http://www.vgchartz.com SuperChunk

    I basically agree. I want a 7″ or so cheap tablet with that cover/keyboard for like $200 that I can use at home on couch or while traveling. However, I also want the Surface Pro as a laptop replacement as its ideal for that scenario with, by far, the best mobility. Throw Chrome on that bad boy and I have the best of both worlds.

  • JB

    I think this is going to be huge. Most people have a PC and tablet that will be running windows 8 is going to sell IMO. Sign me up!

  • Philip A. Kaiser

    Ron, excellent article. My opinion may differ a bit but I think it is for different reasons. The tablet market seems to have flowed into three camps as of late: the iPad camp, the beat iPad camp, and the “other” camp. I think the surface will nestle comfortably into the “other” camp but by adding another competitor into the market, this only removes market share from Google and Android. Someone whom would consider this product is most likely not a person from the iPad camp.
    On a related note, while I think this product shows excellent innovation and great tech, I still do not think it will do well. MS will price these between $600-$1000 with $1000 being for the 8Pro version and that simply will not do. In order to break into the market and stay competetive, they need to price these for an ultra low price to get in. Like our favorite phone, the Original Droid, it was priced lower-equal of it’s rival devices at the time, but in terms of features, it offered so much more. MS needs to recognize that and realize they need to build a buzz around themselves.
    While I would hope that this product is a success, I am still doubtful. Look at products like the Zune, the minidisk, the 3DO, BetaMax, and a plethora of items that offered more features than their counterparts at the time, they still lost out.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      If you count tablets as PCs (and I think we should), then Apple is the largest PC manufacturer. Surface (and Windows 8, for that matter) is all about fighting that trend.

  • http://www.toysdiva.com Toys Samurai

    As much as I want to believe in what you say, I just can’t. The fact that Google’s only remaining option now is to compete using prices, and against the Kindle Fire, just doesn’t sit well. See, Microsoft is not playing Apple’s game here. It’s reposition the mobile computing segment, and selling people a new generation of ultra sexy lightweight laptop PC. The Surface is not a tablet, but yet it’s ALSO a tablet. Productivity + entertainment ought to cost a little bit more, and you know what — people know that. The fact that there are still people buying laptop prove that there are still places for a mobile productive device. It’s just that right now, we don’t have a mobile device that can entertain you and make you productive at the same time. What Microsoft is doing here is to tell us all to ignore the tablet — to them, it’s a FAD. A tablet is a laptop PC, and now they have the ultimate one on hand.

    You are partially right that by positioning themselves at the ultra low-end, Google may not feel the pressure from the Surface. But think about it — they will have to sell at a loss at that price point, while the Surface can be sold at a premium. Is that really a comfortable position to put yourself in? And, how long can Google rides on that low end wave?

    Frankly, the tablet market isn’t looking bright for Android and not admitting that there are great challenges ahead will only make it fail faster and harder.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      Microsoft is absolutely playing Apple’s game. Take another look at those keyboard covers. Apple markets the iPad as a post PC device with which you can do everything your PC can (that may not be true, but that’s how it’s marketed). Microsoft wants to enter the exact same market with Windows 8 – a device and software that are touch oriented and lighter, but still lets you get your work done. The tablet is not a fad for Microsoft. Bill Gates has been touting the tablet as the future since 2002 (if not earlier). As for Google selling at a loss – they don’t care. They make money on ads, not hardware. If they can get hardware with their services in front of people then they’ll be set. I’m sure Google will attack the iPad again, but not yet. They need a better version of Android, media, and better apps.

  • RedPandaAlex

    I wonder how much Google’s ability to take on the Kindle Fire is going to be linked to their ability to flesh out their content selection for things like movies, music, and books. Sure, you can always just install the kindle app on your tablet, but will would-be buyers rather just buy an amazon product? Google needs a new killer app that’s linked to their services and not available in AOSP.

  • RedPandaAlex

    I think a lot of people getting excited about this are conflating the two new pieces of hardware. The Surface with Windows RT will be a totally new platform. That means totally new metro apps need to be developed for every service you want to use with it. That may or may not happen, depending on adoption. The Surface with Windows 8 will be priced like a higher end laptop and will only have a 10-inch screen. You don’t get to have your cake and eat it too.

    And all this is three to six months away, and the tech world changes pretty fast in that amount of time, especially when Google is involved.

    • Kernschatten

      Agreed. Could not have said it better myself.

  • Zemerin

    I do agree with everything you say. However, within time I can see Microsoft coming into the tablet market. The main purpose of Windows 8 is to bridge the PC and the tablet world together, something Apple has been progressively doing over time. If these things are competitively priced, then more developers will see Windows 8 being successful and useful, which means more apps to create. If Microsoft can create an app atmosphere like Apple and Google, then they are both in a lot of trouble.

  • Mike Cutillo

    Microsoft should dominate apps in theory. Windows = 90% of the market = billions of users. Apple has millions of users. If you were to develop an app, would you do it for a billion users or a million? Lets not forget the xbox integration which already exists and is bound to get better. I have an Ipad 3, win 8 slate, and a transformer prime. I look at this as a threat. and overall the consumer wins. I just want good tech. Edit: threat to google? not really, threat to android? Definitely.

    • Mike Cutillo

      I would also pay 1000+ for a pc/tablet/gaming capable device.

    • Adam

      I thought this when I first heard about a Microsoft tablet. The key issue is that the tablet OS is a completely different ecosystem than their desktop OS. I can’t buy a Windows tablet and install my PC software on it (unless you buy the more powerful Pro version). That really means that the Windows tablet is starting out with hardly any apps and no users. Obviously Android was that way at one time, but it will take a long time to convince everyone to program for Windows tablets.

  • Tweekex

    Great post Ron, I enjoy reading these. Personally, I don’t think the metro apps will have a HUGE impact on the sales of this tablet. A lot of people who are wetting themselves over the Surface are the people like myself who simply want a desktop experience (real photo/video editing, laptop performance, etc.) with the convenience of a tablet. This takes the cake IMO.

    • http://techonblogger.ward.pro/ TechRumblings

      Here here

  • Levi Wilcox

    If that thing really is made out of magnesium, god forbid it’s ever around something hot enough to ignite it.

    • http://twitter.com/starnovsky Stan Tarnovsky

      It’s probably some kind of magnesium alloy, a pretty common thing in materials.

  • chris125

    I agree. The ipad and surface are targeting different demographic

  • Masterminded

    I fully agree, in fact, chances are we will see dual-booting tablets running windows 8 and Android, and I imagine that we will be able to run Android apps on Windows RT via BlueStacks or something similar

  • Frankiezzy

    I don’t think Google wants the bottom end of the market, that would be left to OEMs, which is why Google bought Motorola Mobility to start creating top of the line hardware like Apple and now Microsoft. They want all market share, not just the bottom.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      They want it all, but that means getting content deals and the best apps. They’re surely working on both, but right now Apple dominates in those areas. I think that’s why they’ll focus on the low end for now while they continue to push developers to make better Android apps for tablets and work with content creators and distributors to get all media on Google Play.

  • http://twitter.com/radzuky Edgar Michel

    Price? That’s going to be huge. It could be the story between war with CrApple’s iPad or the war with OEM PC makers that carry Windows.

  • Dave Connor

    Apple is in a lag at the moment. Their product is nearly identical from one year to the next, while they play catch-up with features Android already has. Once they get their hands on MOT and begin optimizing the hardware, they will provide an experience equal to if not better than iOS.

  • Tlez

    I’m happy that fellow android users dont freak out over a good product.. I’ve been watching comments over at Gizmodo and Engadget and the snotty Apple cult has pulled up their turtlenecks and cast out the surface as DOA. Microsoft is about to unify their Xbox, PC, Phone and Tablet experience, its more than just a tablet, its a glue between the various markets they compete in. If you are a kid with an xbox, you are going to want to use smart glass and you will be able to do this. Windows phones are cheap, the Windows RT version of Surface will most likely come in around $299 to $399, acceptable for a family tablet. I see how my parents use their ASUS transformer, I cant believe I have my mother using android, but I do. This tablet will be familiar, fresh and easy for the average user and lets talk about this.. There are a lot of average users out there..

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      Within an hour of the announcement my brother was asking me what I thought because he loves the idea of more Xbox integration. That could be a huge selling point.

      • Just Some Dude

        if I remember the E3 announcement on the Xbox thing, you will be able to do the second screen thing on IOS and Android as well. I think Microsoft has the right idea when dealing with the Xbox. Let as many people intergrate as possible to sell more Xboxes. :) It’s cool I can use the new glass technologu coming out without having to actually buy new hardware.

    • RedPandaAlex

      See, I wonder about how much it’s actually going to be unified. A similar UI across their platform doesn’t necessarily mean a unified experience. There’s going to be a lot of heavy lifting left to its developers. We’ll see how hard it is for developers to develop for similar apps for Windows Phone, Windows RT, and Xbox that all sync with each other.

    • https://plus.google.com/110773438514346746273/ tjhrulz

      Funny you mentioning your mother using the transformer, my grandmother bought the Transformer a little while back and loves it.

    • nimbyist

      this. so much this. i agree i think the integration possibilities out there between people’s desktops, tablets, and phone (i hesitantly say this) will definitely be the selling point. What remains to be seen is pricing, differentiation between their tablets and laptop, and unfortunately, the lacking ecosystem for windows mobile. Still, i’m excited to see some shaking up of the playing field and how Microsoft will fare.

      • Tlez

        Currently I am deploying all three major players in the mobile OS arena. While the windows 7.5 market place may not be as vast, there is a certain love I have for my Windows 7.5 phone. Everything just works.. Its easy and all my content is in one place, built into the OS. Not to knock Anroid, but it really is fragmented and when put side by side with WP7.5, its a cluster. iOS, its Ok but it is actually feeling a bit old now… Its like eating plain cheerios every morning.. You keep pouring it in the bowl and it looks the same, tastes the same and while it does the job, its not really exciting.. Oh, they changed the box, cool.. No, still the same.

    • Tlez

      If you go back and watch the windows 8 developer preview conference, I think that Windows 8 allows all of the coding to be switched between metro, classic, phone with just simple coding changes and CSS. The youtube video is out there if you care to throw away 90 minutes of your life. If I remember the video correctly, all of the extensions and API’s to make applications move between the versions (RT/8 Classic/Mobile) are already there. The reason why this tablet is important to Microsoft is because it allows functionality outside of a tablet.. In the case of Xbox Glass, it becomes a content controller. Ultimately, the magic word here is Content.. Content is king and the company that can deliver the best product and feature the most content is the winner.

    • Steve Wojciechowski

      I completely agree with you Tlez. Android users, in my experience, are tech lovers and love a good product with a good community. I personally hate Apple not just because of their products (which are not superior by any means) but it’s the people that buy the products, and are so snobby that they can’t find it in their blackened heart to give props to good technology unless it’s Apple.

      I think it is incredibly awesome that sites like DL, Gizmodo and Engadget are giving this tablet a fair assessment, and in fact, giving it mad props – which it deserves. Get off your high horse Apples fans and learn to appreciate “innovative” technology.

    • ABerry5

      I am extrememly interested in this tablet.. if performance and battery life are up to par it could actually replace my need for any type of laptop.. I could have this and my phone period.. and with a core i5 wow… I don’t do any high end stuff only possibly infrequent 1080p video editing, and consuming 1080p content, that is it.. no games, but I suspect this would destroy anything currently out there with graphics (I know, we need to see what is no released from other mfg’s) but it will be very interesting

      I am also very proud that other Android fans aren’t acting like these apple fans and are actual fans of technology, we just prefer android, it’s so damn ironic they are talking about how microsoft has been dead for 10 years and nothing will bring them back.. because I SWEAR that story sounds eerily familiar ;)

  • Kimi

    Did you know about MSFT OEM Ecosystem before writing? Wakeup and Android tablets are sinking!!! APPLE rocks and MSFT is just joining the party… Bye Bye Google.. Google can only dominate on search which MSFT is already hounding.. Just matter of time!!!

  • Prime7

    Honestly, I don’t think Surface will be a threat to anyone. Look how well Windows Phone is doing, and it seemed equally compelling when it was announced.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      Phones are tablets are very different. Google has been successful with phones, not tablets. Microsoft might be able to pull off the opposite.

    • Mike Cutillo

      Windows 8 = windows phone 8. If they succeed with tablets the phone market will also succeed,

      • Brent Stewart

        Windows 8 is not Windows Phone 8. Windows 8 is a full blown PC OS with a Metro styled UX layered on top. WP8 requires apps that are compiled down as a Metro app to work. Windows 8 can run the same stuff that Windows 7, Vista, and XP run for the most part. Which means I can load up an off the shelf version of Photoshop CS on the Surface Pro. I surely can’t use that same install CD on a WP7 or WP8 device. Nope, I’d have to wait for Adobe to make a mobile WP8 version.

        • Matt Cooper

          not to put words in Mike’s mouth, but i dont think that is what he was saying…if i remember correctly, it takes very little to make a Windows 8 application work on Windows Phone 8 since (supposedly) both running the RT kernel. If Windows 8 is picked up in mass and acclaimed, you can bet that some of that is going to blow over to Windows Phone 8 by proxy.

          Not concrete evidence or anything, but at the hospital i work at, several of our nurses saw this on the news and were going crazy over it…then they realized that there are Windows Phones today and they are looking for package deals of Windows Phones and Surfaces… The tie in is there if it is successful.

        • Mike Cutillo

          Windows phone 8 will be metro without the desktop.

  • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

    Guess you have a Good Point there Ron. But It’s one thing if Google (specifically) with the nexus tablet goes after the lower end…but what are other Android oems doing? I don’t know if they’ll be following that same path… a lot think they can still challenge the iPad like Asus.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      I think that ASUS has a shot (the best shot of all the OEMs so far), but without a solid ecosystem and a better version of Android for tablets I don’t think they’ll find success.

    • Kernschatten

      Some of those Android OEMs are planning on being WinRT/Win8 OEMs also.
      Would love to know how the feel about Microsoft dipping into the hardware business.

      • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

        I don’t see that as an issue. I don’t think Microsoft is actually trying to compete with their oems they’re just getting the ball rolling and showing what’s possible (Like the nexus program).. but Windows is automatic Revenue… OEMs wouldn’t dare leave it behind.

    • florious80

      Interesting that you brought this up, LG just announced that they are leaving the tablet market….others may follow suit once Nexus 7 is announced (with a sub $200 pricing). I wonder if Google is doing this right.

  • Mr Waldo

    I agree. It seems that the average person is uncomfortable spending $600 on anything that isn’t an ipad, so google should def try to hit the $300 sweet spot

    • noc007

      I’m uncomfortable spending $500+ on a tablet. $300 I’d be willing with the right specs. $400 would require it to have pretty compelling specs. An iPad or MS Surface at either price just isn’t compelling enough.

      My budget is more in the $100 range, but I know that’s unlikely. I’d be willing to fork over a Benjamin for a Moto Lapdock 500. I’d like to see the Lapdock 100 at under $99 personally.

  • https://plus.google.com/110773438514346746273/ tjhrulz

    Ron I just want to tell you that I really do enjoy reading these, it is a great way to hear other geeks opinions. So keep writing these

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      I’m glad you like them! :)

      • https://plus.google.com/110773438514346746273/ tjhrulz

        I have to agree though that they are likely doing this to stop people from buying the iPad instead of a PC, I expect this to be PC price personally.

        Still I can not wait for next week.

        • http://twitter.com/GRZLA Grizzly Atoms

          If I had to wager a guess I’d say the RT version will be around $350 while the Pro version will be more around $700.

          I remember them saying that the Pro would be in the ultrabook range, and those aren’t very cheap.

          • https://plus.google.com/110773438514346746273/ tjhrulz

            I could see those prices especially because Microsoft may be able to undercut other OEMs that a doing windows based because Win RT is going to cost them $80 a piece (If I remember correctly)

          • michael arazan

            The price for this surface is going to be $999. Its Microsoft’s hail mary into the tablet world.I don’t see the average person justifying a thousand dollar price tag, but it is being compared to netbooks as well as tablets to try and occupy both areas.

      • https://plus.google.com/110773438514346746273/ tjhrulz

        Also on a side note Ron is everyone here at an.droid and droid life going to the I/O?

        • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

          I think it’s just Kellen and Tim.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chad-Ramey/743058655 Chad Ramey

        OK correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t Microsoft making a lighter version of windows 8 that is going to be able to run on arm processors say this new surface tablet ???? And would windows 8 consume less power on an arm based system

        • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

          Yes. Windows RT will run on ARM. It will consume less battery on ARM, but that doesn’t give us any indication of what battery life will be.