Will Microsoft Surface Pro Scratch The Surface In Making Microsoft A Relevant Player In The Tablet Game?

By Jimmie Geddes email: j.geddes@mobilenapps.com | Jan 18, 2013 03:34 PM EST

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Microsoft has reportedly only sold about one million Surface RT tablets since its launch in October. At the time Microsoft announced the Surface, it also announced two Surface tablets that looked virtually identical but were anything but.

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Is it ever a good idea for a company to announce two seemingly identical products and announce two different launch times? This has the potential to make consumers wait for the "better" device and put off purchasing the one that will be available sooner. This could be the reason Microsoft has only seen one million Surface RT tablets sold. Surface with Windows RT is designed to run on ARM processors, like most smartphones and tablets. The OS only supports installing apps from the Windows Store and not the kind of apps that run on the full desktop version of Windows. This is very confusing to customers and was the main reason Samsung recently cancelled launching its Ativ Tab with Windows RT in the U.S.

When Microsoft announced the Surface RT and Surface Pro, it said the Pro version would ship approximately 90 days after the RT version. The Surface Pro is the tablet that most consumers expected the Surface RT would be but quickly found out they are two completely different beasts. The Surface Pro is what you would expect in the type of tablet that can run the full desktop version of Windows 8 and all of the applications that are available to run on Windows. However, it has a starting price of $899 compared to the $500 Microsoft is charging for the Surface RT. The difference in price makes all the difference in terms of the type of Surface experience you will get.

The Surface Pro is more of a computer than the Surface RT, complete with a Windows desktop and support to run all older Windows desktop applications. The Surface Pro features a 10.6-inch ClearType Full HD 1920 x 1080 display, has an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB/128GB internal storage, a USB 3.0 port, microSDXC card slot, Mini DisplayPort, 720p front- and rear-facing cameras, and included pen-input.

It remains to be seen whether customers will choose a more expensive Surface tablet running a full version of Windows, over tablets like the iPad and Android tablets which both run mobile operating systems. The Surface Pro is what the Surface RT should have been. Microsoft had what could have been the perfect plan by offering a tablet that differentiates itself from competitors but made the misstep of announcing the less capable Surface RT at the same time it announced what could and should have been a real game changer in the tablet world, the Surface Pro.

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