There’s no denying that more and more people now owns a tablet computer. In the last quarter of 2012, a survey found that the rate of tablet ownership rose seven percent from the previous quarter. The rate of people intending to buy a tablet computer also went up as 3 out of 4 online consumers who were surveyed said they expect to make the purchase in the future.
Among businesses, there is also a significant rise in the use of tablets over the last few years. Business usage has exceeded expectations, growing at a faster rate than consumer usage. Businesses are also pushing in the envelope in terms of how tablets are used. While the average consumer uses a tablet for internet surfing, emails, reading and playing games, businesses conduct conferences, perform financial transactions and create client presentations, among many other needs, using a tablet.
A relatively new entrant to the tablet market is Surface, the first tablet series developed by Microsoft and released on June of 2012. There are two versions of Surface – Surface RT which has an ARM processor and Surface Pro which has an Intel processor. You can install new applications onto both models via the Windows Store but you can only install third-party desktop applications on Surface Pro.
Surface Windows RT is already installed with Office Home & Student 2013 RT Preview that has touch-optimized versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote. On the other hand, Microsoft has made their Windows 7 programs available to work on the Surface Pro. Users will be able to use the full MS Office Suite and other business applications from the Windows Store.
With the availability of the Office Suite applications on this tablet, Surface has made it possible to produce content with much ease using a tablet since the apps you would be using are the same ones you’re running in your laptop or desktop computer. Surface also has a very useful file system that allows you to download a file and save it to a folder and then access it later using several programs, much like you would be able to do in a real computer. Surface tablets also come loaded with Windows Mail and Messaging that can be set up with Google like Mail, Contacts and Calendar.
The Surface offers a new and very productive way to use tablet devices, which is designed to appeal to business users. However, there are some disappointments like a poor battery life and the need to work on a proper surface for keystrokes to register reliably. Only time will tell whether this much-praised device will greatly increase tablet usage among business users.
Stephen Valle is a retired business professional who coaches companies on team building, leadership training, and business technology.