L, C, A Article - Scratching the Surface


 By Sam Richardson

 A sleek outer body, with cutaway edges and a beautiful HD display; Microsoft’s Surface will soon (although they didn’t tell us when) be available to the masses. This foray into the already overcrowded but heavily dominated area of tablet computing really is a statement of intent from Microsoft. They want their market share back, and are going about it the right way.

 Along with the release of their very own tablet offering, Microsoft will also soon announce the release plans for the radically changed and upgraded Windows 8. This new version of their operating system will face its largest alteration since its inception, with the focus very much moving towards touch screen computing.

 The Surface is thin, light and has a screen cover that makes the iPad’s Smart Cover look like a dunce. Why? Because of the keyboard it has on it. This added function along with the nifty kick stand on the back of the device effectively creates an impressive Netbook whenever needed. When the keyboard and kickstand are not deployed the Surface looks quite stunning; black glass with only a small Windows logo visible- and no ‘Microsoft’ to be seen. Turn it on and the vibrant 10.6” screen fills most of the front display but leaves half an inch on each side so that it can be held with ease.

 The Windows logo isn’t just for show. It acts as the ‘Start’ button- if this seems familiar to a user of any of those Apple products people always rave about (yes I know I am one) then that is because it is exactly like the ‘Home button’ you are all so used to. Aren’t the nice folks at Microsoft nice for giving us something we’ll already be familiar with? The Start menu is vastly different from what you might think a Windows Start menu should look like. With large boxes with all of your favourite Apps and all of your social media and messaging information right on the Start menu.

 The trump card for the Surface may come in the form of a USB drive, a MicroSD reader and a Micro HDMI port. Apple users are crying out for these functions and Microsoft may be able to steal some of the huge share that the iPad currently holds.

 Overall it is some surprise that Microsoft has bothered to create their own tablet, but it has done a more than decent job of it and must be applauded for this. It is a well designed tablet crammed with clever functions that make it very practical. They must get the price right and must also ensure that battery life is good.
 If Microsoft can convince a wide audience that Windows 8 is a comparable operating system to iOS and Android, then we may have a fight on our hands.

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