Microsoft's new Surface tablet is yet to be released, although this hasn't prevented the trite predictions from some quarters that the new device will never be able to compete with the current undisputed tablet king, the Apple iPad.
The sleek iPad, in each of its incarnations, has comfortably seen off challengers from all sides - from the spheres of enterprise IT as well as casual consumer users and new media types.
But Microsoft's most recent dive into the hardware world is the latest effort in the tablet and hybrid-laptop range, running the company's own eagerly-awaited Windows 8 operating system. And it can mount a serious challenge to the iPad - particularly in the realm of enterprise IT.
The Surface running Windows 8 Pro will be released approximately 90 days after the RT version of the tablet due at the end of October, and although slightly thicker and heavier than its sibling and the iPad, will have the same battery life as the Apple device and will also be available in a 128GB version.
The Metro interface looks an absolute treat, and with the new cloud-focused Microsoft Office 2013 nearly with us then it seems the tools are in place for IT and business chiefs to give the tablet serious consideration for the right price. And even if you're an IT worker that's scared of the cloud, there's always the USB drive.
In the Hybrid Ultrabook mould with its kickstand and integrated pressure-sensitive cover that doubles as a keyboard, the Surface is also more than just a tablet. You could even say it's 120% tablet. That means it could backtrack by 20% and still completely be a tablet.
Whether the Windows 8 devices, and a Microsoft-built tablet in particular, can capture the attention of the BYOD brigade remains to be seen. Whether they project the right image for the shiny salesman and his shiny sales suit and tablet is a different matter altogether, although perhaps this isn't the market Surface tablets and Windows 8 devices are aimed at.
'Cool' people, in inverted commas, might not camp overnight to buy a Surface, but the enterprise IT crowd will be taking note of a possible game changer that can challenge for enterprise device supremacy.
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