Microsoft is poised to release the Surface Pro and this is set to be an interesting step forward for business use of tablet devices.
With the Surface RT and Surface Pro, Microsoft has repositioned itself as a “devices and services company” as it perceives the market has shifted. Steve Ballmer has acknowledged that the Surfaces RT and Pro are just the beginning of the Surface family of products.
Reports are that the Surface RT has not met great demand and, quite frankly, I am not surprised. With the RT, it was not designed for business and could not connect to the work domain easily.
The Surface Pro is a whole different proposition. It is not just the RT with different software loaded; it is a fully blown PC with Windows 8 Pro on it ready to do a hard day’s work. I can see a lot of businesses will be keen to adopt this technology.
Please excuse my technical rant for a moment…
Microsoft has worked hard to pack a lot in to this new Surface. It is about 230 grams heavier and 13.46 mm thick versus the RT at 9.39 mm. However, it packs a full on Intel Core I5 processor and a fantastic screen offering 1920 x 1080 resolution.
This is plenty to let the performance sing. The pen attached via a magnetic strip on the side is also nifty and allows good control, flip it over and it erases nicely. Battery life should be about five hours’ work time.
OK, so it’s not a laptop and it has the limitations of screen size that will drive us a bit nuts compared to our PC screens. However, the functionality of this device is set to change the way businesses use mobile computing.
Now all of the above technical information is according to reports I have read and I hope they are correct. But the point here is that there is about to be a step change to mobility in that we will have a tablet device that works like our PCs do, that can be taken anywhere and used quickly and effectively with our standard business applications on them. No more compromise between form and function.
Yes, we can also use apps to do cool things on this platform but we don’t need apps to mimic our fully blown software from the office. We can just load up each of the tools we need to be productive anywhere.
I am now keen to talk to any business that has wanted to be more mobile but has been restricted by technology not being portable enough.
In the finance industry, consultants can now go to clients with a full suite of software products ready to access the right information or forms. The service industry can better manage time sheets and on-site data collection to reduce the amount of re-work done in the office. Maintenance people can now update maintenance schedules and call on spare parts inventories faster than ever before. Real estate agents can list and sell properties faster with less time required in the office updating computer systems and creating online advertising.
We certainly don’t need to be in the office to field all those emails anymore. That can be done in real time from any table top or, excuse the pun, surface.
So if you think you could be improving your staff productivity by improving mobility, there is a major reason to engage in a strategic conversation now to be ready for this new, beautifully engineered platform when it hits the market later this month or early next.
David Markus is the founder of Combo – the IT services company that ensures IT is never an impediment to growth.