With so much talk of Windows tablet knocking about for so long , there's now finally a whole bunch of stuff rolling in about it in terms of full hands on assessments of what people reckon of the RT version. Here's what I make of it all ... 

Mistakes they made: Included the slip cover keyboard with review units? People were bound to complain about it, although the tablet was supposed to be a tablet with a "modern poppy feel" it can't shake perceptions of optionally potentially being used as a work orientated device too that people want to seriously type on (despite the fact it was supposed to be a tablet first and foremost). Maybe if they hadn't supplied a slip cover case with integrated keypad people might have been more inclined to hook up a USB or Bluetooth keyboard of their own?

Microsoft are promising an optional cover with a more substantial feeling integrated keyboard at a later date for seriously hammering out words on. Sure it might add more bulk to the device but it might be an idea not to get too hung up on that and just work on making a keyboard for it that "pro" typist will like to cursively type on. There's always the option to use either in terms of which cover people want to use (or none at all). At the same time its worth remembering… it’s first and foremost a tablet… and as long as the onscreen typing experience in terms of responsiveness parallels or excels other popular tablet options that partly sell on it then there should be less to complain about.

Application support - that’s a big fail already out of the blocks due to the serious lack of it compared to other platforms in the same category from a marketing standpoint. Apple and Android were already well positioned due to the fact that their apps made for their phones (which were essentially mostly mini tablets) already existed in abundance, most of which also worked on the larger tablets too. So although most of the apps weren't technically for the larger tablet devices they at least still functioned on them in an oversized play school visual kind of way, particularly on the iPad. It wasn't till post launch of the tablet devices did we see actual appropriately visually scaled apps made specifically for the larger screened tablet devices start to trickle in. But I guess in the initial stages if the Windows RT tablet has a solid ability to...

- Browse the full internet
- Get mail
- IM on all the major IM platforms and video Skype
- Word process (when used with an external blue tooth/USB keyboard or an optional click clack cover keyboard designed how "wannabe" and "pro" typist would like it to be at a later date)
- Easily store, organise and view pictures on
- Easily store, organise, listen to music and watch video on whether locally stored or streamed
- Run a solid equivalent to full blown office on it
- Have a fast and smooth native remote desktop feature for other computers on your local network running a Windows OS for couch access (it could be simplified even further by having an additional small and light app that you install to the various windows computers that home users want to remote access the content or desktop on).

…  then I guess there shouldn't be to much of a problem if more app development is to follow. It’s a shame it doesn't include 3/4G support with the price, if it was included it would be easier to roll out on subsidized pricing  plans through mobile providers. If you think about the price of the device without the standard slim cover with integrated keypad, its roughly the same unsubsidized price as a top end/corporate user targeted pocket sized Android phone or blackberry. Its certainly less than the iPhone  or the iPad. Come to think of it, even with the slip cover keyboard its still within that unsubsidized pricing bracket.

It might be an idea to allow it to run certain Windows phone apps on it too? At least those that don't require mobile network capability to function. Unless that is they're going to include 3/4G mobile data capability too with the final devices? (I doubt it though)

Here's the full specs:

Surface for Windows RT tablet

Processor: Quadcore NVIDIA Tegra-based ARM chip
Weight: 676 grams
Thickness: 9.3 millimeters
Display: 10.6-inch ClearType HD capacitive touchpanel
Battery: 31.5Wh
I/O: microSD, USB 2.0, Micro HD Video, 2x2 MIMO antennae
Software: Windows RT + Office Home & Student 2013 RT
Accessories: Touch Cover, Type Cover, VaporMg Case & Stand
Capacity: 32GB / 64GB
Availability: "Around" the Windows 8 launch

Announced pricing is set at $499 for the tablet itself and $130 for the optional cover with integrated keypad. However with any traction in terms of wider user adoption I could see third party developers coming up with alternate cover and keyboard options too. If you're on the shores of the UK they price tags look more like 399GBP for the tablet and $79GBP for the cover with integrated keyboard.

What?! I can't run Ableton on it?! - damn. 

The main achievement…


Ask yourself what does the term notebook bring to mind in the more regular sense? Take a look at your laptop, then take a look at the Windows RT tablet with or without the basic keypad cover. Now take a look at your regular A4 notepad. The Windows RT platform could be seen as a new beginning to address all the issues of resource demanding/processor cycle hungry coding bulk for a "full sized Windows machine" that software engineers have perpetually complained about. It only needs developers to get on board. Even with any potential future release of a "pro typist" designed keyboard cover for it, I should think it would still out do some of the most anorexic ultra portables on the market today in terms of form factor. 

I personally think most people would get more out of the full Windows 8 running version of the Windows tablet. I just reckon the RT version might have a much harder slog without the same type of broad full blown app support as its full Windows 8 "legacy app" capable sibling. There's also the fact that relatively low priced waif Air touch screen ultra portables are now entering the market from the likes of Samsung too with full legacy app support too. Sure they might have Windows 7 pre-installed but most will mostly likely have been purchased during the period for which the offer to upgrade to Windows 8 for $15 was out. Not to mention there are other deals beyond that to upgrade to Windows 8 pro for $25, or you could even just buy the full Windows 8 pro at the none promotional price of $40 from the MS store as a download.