While it’s annoucement came vieled in mystery, on June 18th Microsoft confirmed that later this year there will be two Microsoft Brand tablets. One is the Microsoft Surface, which will run Windows RT, and the other is the Microsoft Surface Pro, which will run full Windows 8, though it seems that it may be a special version of Windows 8 specifically for the Surface. I could expound on the specs of the device, because they are certainly impressive. Today though, I’m focusing on what I’m excited about with this this new line from Microsoft, and it’s viability for student ministries.
The Surface packs a lot into a package that is slimmer than the iPad, yet since it can run office and all of the apps in the Windows 8 Store, offers the basic functionality of the PC. The Surface Pro has a similar form factor. Just a bit thicker than the iPad, it can provide a full computer experience. This is significant to me because, in my experience when I am using an iPad I can only use it to a point, then I am going to need to put it down. iPads do a lot, some even use them to do real work. But for all iPads are, a full laptop they aren’t without using some kind of remote desktop software like Splashtop. The Surface Pro can be more of a multipurpose device. Due to it’s design, I can use it as a tablet, a laptop, and even a multimedia center. It will allow me to do more on the go while taking less with me. This finally could be the fulfillment of what Bill Gates was dreaming of. Unlike the iPad, which despite being a legit device is still technically running on a mobile operating system, this is a full Windows OS. It looks like Microsoft might finally have a tablet that has a decent chance of consumer market adoption.
Windows RT has a lot of potential. Like the iPad, it isn’t a full OS. Since Windows sold millions of computers when they had Vista, regardless of how well or poor Windows 8 does, there should be a big enough market-share to make it worth developing apps for the Microsoft’s app Store. While personally I am interested in device unification, the question that really matters here is which makes more sense for those involved in Student Ministries? At this point it is too early to tell, but I think the Surface Pro is a safe bet. While it will cost more, there is no need to worry about if it can do everything. However, just as the iPad got to a point where you could do most things with it, as the Windows 8 Store grows, I think we can expect to see the Surface get to a point where it can do what you need it to do on the go as well.
Over the next few days I am going to take a look at the operating system that the Surface Pro will run (there really isn’t a way to test out Windows RT yet). I’ll discuss my experience with Windows 8 and we’ll go over some of the major features. This should allow us to collectivly better gauge how vialbe of an option it is, or isn’t for the work we do in student ministries. As far as the Microsoft Surface family is concerned, I think the future of both devices for Student Ministries is very promising.
What do you think? Would you want a surface? Do you think it would be useful?