Well I have to say I am very impressed.
Yesterday Microsoft had an event where they unveiled a new tablet called Surface. The thing is sleek, innovative and very very cool. Here’s the video Microsoft played to show it off.
I’ve had several thoughts about this, both from a tech perspective and a teacher’s perspective. Let’s do tech first.
There are two version, the RT and the Pro. The RT is a typical tablet type architecture. It will primarily run apps using a version of Windows 8. If that was all they did it would have been ok but the Pro version is a full on PC. It has a new Intel chip inside which will make it able to run regular programs like MS Office and even Photoshop. That is hugely impressive in such a thin case.
What is significant is both tablets come with USB ports and SD card readers. These are not designed for a “walled garden” like Apple likes. I have said before that the closedness of Apple is their Achilles heel. (see Apple’s Achilles Heel) This machine will be open, which I like. It remains to be seen if it matters at all to the rest of the market.
The other significant thing about the tablet is the keyboard and touchpad built into the cover. That is really cool and very innovative. It’s been a long time since somebody out innovated Apple, but Microsoft just did.
While the price hasn’t been announced yet it will make a big difference in how these will be adopted by education. Even so, I think the iPad is better for the current K-12 school model because of it’s closed ecosystem. Now once you get to college I don’t think the iPad is flexible enough for everything you might do, but then Apple agrees with me. They suggest getting a MacBook or iMac.
So I’m very impressed and can’t wait to get my hands on one.
Here’s some further thoughts via Engadget.