So Microsoft has just announced the prices for their new 10" Surface tablet. This baby is running Windows RT on an NVidia CPU with either 32GB or 64GB of Flash storage. It's priced at $499 to compete with the iPad and in some ways it even beats Apple's crown jewel.
As great as this tablet might be, I'm not going to get it right away. I know I have a reputation for coming up with a reason to not get whatever device was just announced. This is not one of those posts. Instead, let me share with you 4 valid technical reasons not to rush out and $500.
- It's running a new version of Windows.
Snide comments about Microsoft aside, my past experience with MS products has shown that you should always wait until they've released the first major update for any new version of Windows before using it. This saved me the headache of using Windows XP until 2005, and it kept me from using Vista entirely (Win7 was the major update).
- Where are the hardware reviews?
While I am pretty sure that MS has already handed out review units, no one has said anything yet. We don't have any real info about the hardware, software, or how well the device is put together. And no, the milliseconds that each blogger spent with the Surface tablet at the launch event months ago isn't enough to tell us anything.
- Where are the apps?
One of the downsides to Windows RT is that the Reduced Technology requirements come at the expense of software comparability. So far as I know you cannot run Win7 apps on Windows RT. The same goes for apps written for any earlier version of Windows. That means that the thousands of existing apps, including the dozens you are using now, can't be used. The selection of apps is gong to be darned limited.
Sure, we're probably going to see a bunch of companies announced apps for Windows RT late next week. But I want to see the announcements first, and I also want to wait until the bugs are worked out.
- What's the catch?
Call me a pessimist but I am still waiting for the other shoe to drop. This is a totally new OS and a totally new set of hardware. What don't we know yet? There's bound to be some unknown downside to Windows RT; I want to know about it before I buy.
Don't get me wrong, this is Windows and the Surface tablet is pretty close to the ideal tablet convertible concept which I have been wanting for years now. I expect to buy one eventually, but I am also cautious about putting down $600 for something which might not work out.
There are going to be other Windows tablets coming this fall, including at least one from Microsoft. For all I know that one might be better.