Microsoft Surface RT Debuts a Day Late, a Dollar Short

Have you ever heard the old saying, ‘never buy the first of something’? Usually, the first prototype of a new gadget has a few bugs and kinks that get ironed out for subsequent generations. This is certainly the case with the first version of the much-anticipated Microsoft Surface.

Since Apple first put out the first Ipad in 2010, it has dominated the tablet marketplace with no real competition. Finally, this year there are other names worth mentioning: Google’s Nexus 10, and Microsoft’s hushed-up superproject, the Surface RT.

The product that Microsoft spent countless man hours and millions of dollars to develop, was supposed to compete with the Nexus and Ipad, yet falls unfortunately short of the others in most categories and in most expert’s comparisons.

The Surface RT starts off a leg behind as soon as you turn on the screen, with a screen resolution that is noticeably less sharp than both the Ipad and Nexus. The Ipad and Nexus boast resolutions of 264- and 300ppi respectively, while the Surface’s resolution is a disappointingly low 148ppi.

When it comes to media and apps, the Surface lags even farther behind. As far as gaming goes, the Ipad certainly has the best selection of games, and the best integration of the games to the tablet console. While Nexus offers games and apps available on the Android marketplace, those games are designed for phones and not necessarily tablets, so sometimes the crossover doesn’t go as smoothly as a true gamer would hope. All Ipad games are designed specifically for the Ipad, giving them the obvious edge.

In terms of apps, both Android and Apple have extensive experience and volumes of options available; while once again, the Surface is a distant 3rd. Microsoft somehow has to convince app and game developers that the Surface is a viable product that can compete with the big boys, or they simply won’t be able to.

In terms of media, Itunes certainly gives the Ipad an advantage in terms of music selection. Otherwise, all three allow you to access popular sites like Netflix, Hulu and Youtube. One major detractor for the Surface: it won’t be offering a Facebook app! Overall, in terms of media, the Ipad and Nexus have a monumental advantage by being connected to the Apple and Android marketplaces that were already bustling and full of customers when the tablets came out. Microsoft, already late to the party, has to now develop its own marketplace from scratch.

Another feature of the Ipad that the Surface will surely suffer without is the ability to connect to cell phone networks. Yes, many businesses offer wifi these days, but one of the major draws of a tablet computer is the portability: being able to do your work on the bus, at the beach, or the park – so, cellular connectivity is a big deal. The Surface does have a very handy USB port, which the Apple and Google products lack.

The Surface is still a wonderful product. Though deficient, the screen is still dazling, and like the others, the interface is sleek and easy to use. But, as you can imagine, these kinds of short-comings are putting the Microsoft Surface RT far behind the competition with consumers. While a whopping 14 million Ipads sold last quarter alone, only around 2.6 million Surfaces are expected to sell in the entire fiscal year.

If you are buying a new tablet for purely entertainment purposes, the Ipad is still the way to go. If you are a trusting Android user, and looking for the most bang for your buck, the Nexus 10 is a great product for the price. Those who are looking for a tablet to use for mostly businesses purposes, should wait for the Microsoft Surface Pro and take a good hard look at it before making a decision, especially if your company is currently running Windows PCs and is unlikely to switch. While the Surface RT leaves a lot to be desired, the blueprint is certainly there for Microsoft to carve out a niche for themselves in the tablet market with the Surface Pro and subsequent generations.

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