By Ian McKendry
Real estate agents around the country are finding more and more utility from computer tablets that are incredibly mobile and have large displays, making them easy on the eyes.
To date, Apple’s line of iPads has dominated the tablet market, but in June, Microsoft announced it was throwing its hat in the ring and intends to go toe-to-toe with Apple in the tablet market by launching its own tablet called the Microsoft Surface.
Microsoft is not known for making hardware, instead relying on their dominant operating system, but early indications are that the Surface will be a serious contender.
While certain details about the Surface are not yet known, such as cost and an exact release date, Microsoft has given us an idea of what to expect.
Breaking Down the Surface
Microsoft will be releasing two different versions of the Surface. One will run Windows RT and the other will run the yet to be released Windows 8 operating system. Windows RT is a stripped down version of Windows designed for devices like the tablet while the Windows 8 version of the Surface will be a fully functioning PC.
Both versions of the Surface will feature 10.6” displays but the Windows RT version will be slightly thinner at 9.3 mm and lighter at 676 g than the Windows 8 version which will be 13.5 mm thick and weigh 903 g.
For comparison, the iPad 3 has a 9.7” display, is 9.4 mm thick and weighs between 652 g and 662 g depending on which version you get.
The Retina Display on the iPad 3 will be more vivid than the Cleartype HD displays featured on the Surface. However, the ClearType Full HD display on the Windows 8 Surface will still be impressive at 1080p.
Where Microsoft went a step further than Apple in terms of adding bells and whistles is adding a kickstand and a very thin keyboard that bonds to the tablet. The keyboard will come in a variety of colors and options including a Type Cover and a Touch Cover. The Touch Cover does not have any actual keys and is flat while the Type Cover will have keys that can be pressed.
Microsoft also went to great lengths to give the Surface a sleek “watch quality” and “elegant” feel to compete with the solid build of the iPad.
Comparing the Two
Consumers will have to decide for themselves which tablets they prefer and price point and brand loyalty are likely to be important factors. After all, while most computer users use Microsoft Windows on a daily basis, Apple has built a dedicated following with innovative, easy-to-use products. From what we know about the Surface so far is that Microsoft is trying to bridge the gap between PC and tablet by making a tablet that is as powerful as a desktop computer. However, that is likely to come at a cost.
Apple also has some advantages in terms of being a veteran in the tablet industry with a strong supply chain and boasting over 200,000 apps at the iTunes store.
While the Surface may end up being more of a business workhorse, if you are waiting on the latest and greatest real estate app, it is likely to be released for the iPad first.