The design heavy Microsoft Surface tablet may be working out some supply and manufacturing kinks but it's certainly positioning itself to be a heavy hitter in the mobile workforce...and a small business cloud computing ambassador. Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, made quick mention during the July 9th World Partner Conference that Microsoft plans on selling "a few million" in the upcoming year. Believe it or not, this is a relatively conservative figure considering the iPad's opening year in 2010 dished out 14.8 million units worldwide. Now, maybe this is where most would get into the classic iPad vs "New Tablet on the Block" discussion but many of us already know what the iPad can and can't do. What's more important is the impact the Surface could have on the way companies engage in small business cloud computing technology and potentially improve the productivity behind their mobility. So let's take a look at a few features that make the Surface different and useful to the mobile workforce.
Casual User or Caffeinated Workhorse
The Microsoft Surface offers different versions depending on the intended use. While the Windows RT version offers the more traditional, basic and casual tablet experience the Windows 8 Pro version is the real jewel here. The Windows 8 Pro version is like the logical left brain with Angry Birds dominating the right. Mobile workers will enjoy the ability to run beefier software like Word, Excel and Photoshop because the Windows 8 version operates on an Intel chip like a laptop as opposed to the ARM processor found in roughly 95% of mobile devices. This does, of course, come at a steeper (and currently undisclosed) price tag but may be worth it to those who are looking to get things done outside the office.
Keyboard Cover for the Touch-Typing Challenged
Microsoft Surface offers a screen cover that doubles as a keyboard for those who aren't fans of touchscreen typing. Users have the option of the 3mm Touch Cover with the touch sensitive keyboard or the more laptop-like, 5mm Type Cover which features moving keys and a track pad.
Microsoft Office is included in both versions of the Microsoft Surface. Windows RT version users will use the scaled down, mobile app version while Windows 8 Pro version users will get the full program. This is certainly considered a biggie for mobile workers as iPad users have been anxiously awaiting the possibility of the native iOS Office app.
2 USB ports come standard with both versions of the Microsoft Surface. This makes available the highly sought after extra storage, printing capabilities and other external options that have yet come to market with other tablets.
If everything is what it's cracked up to be, the highly saught after features of the Microsoft Surface could prove to be one of the greatest gifts to the mobile workforce. And with it will come yet another boost to small business cloud computing services.