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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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Reader Comments:

Fri, Nov 9, 2012 Mike Mos

We plan to use it for certain tasks at our organization, mainly customer facing. It's a solid tablet. I would rather pay more for the Suface than get a tablet like Amazon's. I like the RT but bummed we can't join the domain. InTune is a mess as far as I'm concerned. I've been playing with it but it's taking more time than I have to configure it. We really need a way to connect to our Cisco firewall as well. It will decide whether we adopt this or not. While I might like the Pro, we won't be getting them for what we want to do. We are still testing them.

Wed, Nov 7, 2012

The surface is already much more usable than any other tablet out there. (I have them all. I have gravitated away from them all except the surface). Why? 1. It runs Office. Spreadsheets land documents ook and work like they are supposed to and not some goofy variation. 2. Domain join is not a big issue on the RT because you can still connect to a network resource by providing domain credentials. 3. Apps are almost a non-issue because the surface tablet has a true Remote Desktop App to connect to your domain computer where your business apps are and it has full IE. Yes, there are a few apps I would like to see but none are showstoppers at this point. Most people who will complain about the lack of apps are looking for "Angry Birds". 4. I can use USB! I can plug in drives, mice, keyboards etc. 5. I can print! it recognizes not all of my printers but it does recognize my latest HP printer which prints from Office perfectly. My two biggest complaints are first the angle of the display when propped open is way to low and secondly flash doesn't work properly even though it says it should. Summary, if you want a table for work, get a surface. If you want a tablet for play get an ipad. I believe over time, you'll see more apps on the surface but you won't see true office usability on an ipad.

Wed, Oct 17, 2012

All of that interest now squandered due t the ridiculous pricing of the WinRT Surface. Not that it was the one even remotely worth considering, given it only runs WinRT application no one's going to build, but because it means the Inte version, the version with any chance of actual relevance, will be obscenely overpriced - both now destined to fade to black, joining Zune and Vista in the rogue's gallery of abysmal Microsoft failures.

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