You know the phrase “slow and steady wins the race”? I wonder if that was Microsoft’s philosophy over the past few years since Apple’s introduction of the iPad in March 2010. More than two years later, Microsoft has announced their new product that aims to compete with, or even kill, the iPad: the Microsoft Surface tablet. Weighing in at a mere 1.5 pounds but equipped with USB drives, a kick stand, and more, Microsoft has covered their bases – not only does the Surface compete with the iPad, but it competes with the Apple’s Macbook Air too. What does this mean for Microsoft and the future of tablets, AND more importantly, what does this mean for field service technicians?
Once at the leading edge of innovation, Microsoft now lacks the ingenuity that was behind the concept of the App Store and the development that goes with it. But from the user’s perspective, the Microsoft Surface may just be the perfect fit for field service employees, particularly field service technicians. The Surface will give techs greater flexibility while out in the field including attaching credit card readers, printers, and more meaning that they can provide a wider range of services to the customer. The user interface promises ease of use and the kickstand and attachable keyboard/protective cover provide the user with more versatility than the iPad. Early reports, such as TechCrunch’s reviews, are claiming the Surface is proving to be more productive than the iPad. The verdict so far? The iPad is an entertainment dream and the Surface might just be the business tablet that organizations are looking for.
It is too soon to tell if the Surface will be a true competitor of the iPad. There is still much in the air, like price, durability, and more. But its utilitarian look and feel will give those people that suffer from a lack of productivity on the iPad a new gadget to fall in love with. It may also help businesses such as field service organizations embrace the never-ending mobility frenzy. It is clear that Microsoft took their time developing their version of the tablet with good cause. Their solution? Give people what they don’t already have rather than competing with what exists. Perhaps that is why RIM failed in this area.
Stay tuned for more updates on the Surface as Microsoft releases them. And happy mobile computing!