Reissuing the brand name for their tabletop computing experience, Microsoft yesterday announced the familiar Surface for Windows. In two varieties: an ARM based Windows 8 RT (read lite) version, and a beefed-up x86 based Windows 8 Pro (read full) version; the two tablets can go one of two ways.
A few interesting revelations in this well publicised and anticipated launch, not least the Apple-like cover with a decidedly un-Apple-like keyboard; but what wasn't said may be more important here. Reading between the lines of Redmond's launch, very little was said about hardware specs. Aside from the standard connectivity features, and a mention of an Intel i5 processor in the daddy (Pro) version, nothing much was said.
That's nothing said about clock speed, RAM or battery life, meaning one of two things – each with very different implications. Option one, and the one Microsoft would like us to think, is that the focus of these products is on experience and quality rather than big numbers with little meaning. This is the Apple route, with a tendency to look at what you can do rather than what you do it with.
The other, more negative possibility (and the fact that when writing about Microsoft we default to skepticism speaks for itself) is that the absence of facts means an ill-defined product. Battery life of less than 6 hours, a lack of essential RAM and an underwhelming clock speed would mean a horrible experience in the real world, particularly with the Pro product.
Remember, the Pro version is theoretically capable of running literally anything, so when you spend the better part of a grand on this tablet you'll be right to expect it to run everything. Nothing would be more frustrating than an experience that lacks the raw power needed to run some of the demanding programs built for Windows; except perhaps an experience that's over too soon.
We can't conclude anything at this point, but if history teaches us anything; it's that Microsoft is capable of creating hardware experiences that can delight or disappoint. Let's wait and see what Redmond is really capable of with these potentially wonderful products, and hope there's something worth getting excited about after all.
Here are some pics to enjoy. And a link to the Surface site: Note the conspicuous dual camera (3D) setup on one of the tablet pics here... we think it's just bad Photoshopping, but take a look and decide for yourself.