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Survey: Surface Doubles Interest in Windows 8 Tablets Among Window IT Pros

According to an online survey conducted by Redmond magazine, 63.2 percent of respondents said they were "very interested" in Microsoft's Windows 8 Surface tablet.

This result represent a huge jump in interest, as only 30.5 percent of respondents said they were "very interested" in a tablet device running Windows 8 prior to Microsoft's Surface announcement.

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Microsoft will be rolling out Windows 8 and Windows RT versions of Surface. So far, Microsoft has alluded to small differences between the two operating systems, although the Windows RT version is expected to run mostly "Metro-style" mobile-like apps. However, respondents seemed most interested in the x86-based Surface Pro version running Windows 8. According to 76.2 percent of those surveyed, the "ability to run the full version of Windows 8" on a tablet was the top announced feature most looked forward to.

This ability to run a full version of the desktop OS on a tablet makes the Surface potentially appealing as work machine -- much more so than its Android and iOS competitors, according to survey respondents.In fact, almost half (49.2 percent) of respondents said that the primary use of a Windows Surface device would be for "work-related tasks." Second was "media consumption" at 28.2 percent, followed by "content creation/production" at 22.6 percent.

A Redmond magazine reader comment (from "Mary S.") highlighted these expectations.

"When Microsoft comes out with a tablet the company will have businesses in mind, and it will build in the ability to secure the tablets. People will be able to use the Microsoft Office suite the way its intended, and it will be more stable and more powerful than the iPad was ever intended to be. The iPad is great for the consumer market, but has no real business value that we've been able to ascertain. I expect the Microsoft tablet will be able to provide business-level capability when it arrives, and I'll be able to secure it through Active Directory."

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Microsoft has already confirmed that the Surface Windows RT devices cannot be joined to a domain and won't be directly manageable through Active Directory -- two factors that could limit their enterprise worth. However, these capabilities will be available in the Surface Pro devices.

The storage capabilities of Surface devices seemed to be a concern among respondents. According to the poll, 39.3 percent of respondents said they were "most likely to purchase" the 128 GB Surface Pro and 32.1 percent said they were interested in the 64 GB Surface Pro version. Far behind were the two announced Surface RT models, with the 32 GB version garnering 12 percent and the 64 GB model receiving 10.2 percent of respondent interest. Surprisingly, only 6.4 percent of those surveyed said they were most likely not to purchase any of the announced (at the time of the survey) models.

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When asked what unannounced factor would most greatly influence them in  purchasing a Surface device, the No. 1 answer of the respondents was the cost.

"Pricing is pretty important in the decision-making process," commented one survey participant.  "I'm really rooting for Microsoft on this one and hope that the tablets are very competitive in pricing in comparison to the iPad. On that, I am referring to basic iPad vs. the basic Surface. I understand that some Surface models have larger storage, but the consumer doesn't always care. They will see it as apples to apples, if you will. They won't care that the Surface has greater storage, so therefore costs a little more. They will go with the cheaper option and better ecosystem of apps at launch. MS needs to price with that in mind. They need to entice consumers (corporate and otherwise) to take the risk."

Microsoft recently announced the cost of the Surface Windows RT models, and it has priced them competitively with Apple's iPad tablet. The model with 32 GB of storage will start at $499 (without a keyboard cover) and the 64-GB model (with a keyboard) will be $699. Touch-cover keyboards can be purchased separately for $119 or there's a more traditional type-cover keyboard for $129.99.

Pricing details for the Surface Pro models have not been released. However, Microsoft has previously stated that they will be competitively priced with Intel Ultrabook laptops.       

Microsoft's Windows RT-based Surface tablets are set to arrive concurrently with Windows 8's launch on Oct. 26., with the x86-based Surface Pro tablet arriving approximately 90 days after that.

 

About the Author

Chris Paoli is the site producer for Redmondmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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