The last week of October will be a big one for Microsoft. Aside from the upcoming announcement about the launch of Windows 8 on October 26, the tech giant is also poised to release their flagship tablet – Microsoft Surface – the day before.
There are two versions of the tablet; one will be running on Windows RT (the one that will be launched on Oct 25), and the other will be running Windows 8 Pro, which will be launched in a later date. The RT version, of course is the light version of the Windows 8 while the second will be their premium model.
Microsoft has high expectations for their latest venture in the tablet arena, but there are valid concerns about how it will perform against the established iPad and the multitude of Android tablets currently in the market.
Some of those concerns include:
With the launch of the Windows Surface RT almost on the same day as the official launch of the Windows 8, there might be confusion on what the RT is and what Windows 8 is all about. Casual consumers might think that Surface will be running on Windows 8 because they do not really have an idea of what Windows RT is really about. And with the Surface Pro, which will be the one to actually run Windows 8, to follow, it can only add to more confusion about the differences in the Operating System.
It is an old problem for Microsoft. Where are the apps? The Windows store is still lacking compared to the Google and Apple apps marketplace; for business users who needs certain apps like RingCentral, this will be a turn-off. And with the RT version, this is something of a bigger concern. Unlike previous Microsoft based tablets, which are just tablet versions of the PC, the RT will instead be a closed system. This means fans that purchase the Surface RT model will only be able to get apps from the Windows app store. RT will only run apps that are approved by Microsoft. The closed system worked for Kindle Fire HD because they had an extensive media ecosystem and online store, Windows does not have that yet.
How fans will react to the stylish new tablets will also depend largely on how it will be priced. With Microsoft planning to charge $50-$80 license fees on every Surface sold, can the RT version still be sold within the price range of Google Nexus and Kindle Fire HD? If it will be priced higher, what will be the justification of choosing it over the mentioned two? For the Pro, it is rumored to be in the price range of a full-on laptop. Will consumers be willing to shell out that amount of money for it when a lot of its functions can also be done by the RT version?
These are just three of the major concerns Microsoft should be worrying about before its launch. Surface RT and Pro are fine tablets, but hopefully, Microsoft is not overestimating its potential.