Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Microsoft brings Apps to the PC and the first "Microsoft Computer”

Hello everyone,

Microsoft is scheduled to release Windows 8 for October 26th, 2012, and with it the launch of their very first Microsoft branded PC called a “Surface Top” or “Surface Tablet”. Microsoft plans to fiercely compete with Apple for market share using their new upcoming Surface Top.

What does this mean for libraries? The Microsoft Surface Top combined with the new Windows 8 Operating System will be a gem to have in any library. A primarily App based Operating System; Windows 8 will attract mobile-adept patrons of all ages. The Windows Surface Top will be mainly used as a touch screen device, but it will support a keyboard and mouse. This will be an excellent alternative to Apple’s iPad, with most of the features of other similar tablets and fully functional desktop computers. Libraries will be able to incorporate touch screen computers for patron use at an affordable price.

The Microsoft Surface Top will launch with two configuration options: the Windows RT Surface Top and the Windows Pro Surface Top. The Windows RT Surface Top is Microsoft’s new configuration and will mainly be for limited or simple tasks. It will not be compatible with any x86 (32-bit) legacy applications due to the Nvidia Tegra ARM Processor. Such x86 applications include Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Visio Professional, and numerous other enterprise level software. Windows RT will not have native support for Remote Desktop which is used for training, software installations, sharing applications, and other collaborative tasks, but such support may be found through web based remote access tools and 3rd party apps. Windows RT will require software (or Apps) specifically written for it, already such software (Apps) have been written for Windows RT in the Windows App Store. Windows RT will come with its own unique version of Microsoft Office called Office Home and Student RT. Microsoft is working with software developers to port over legacy applications into the new Windows RT format, so you should see applications like Adobe Photoshop become available some time after the Surface Top launch. The Windows 8 Pro Surface Top being an Intel i5-Core Processor will be able to use x86 based applications just like a normal PC.

The major differences between the Windows RT Surface Top and the Windows 8 Pro Surface Top are the following: The Windows RT Surface Top won’t provide support for x86 applications, and the screen resolution is only 720p. Meanwhile, the Windows 8 Pro Surface Top will provide x86/x64 application support and have an awesome screen resolution of 1080p.

Windows RT vs. Windows 8
Windows RT contains many of the same features as Windows 8:
 •Fluid, intuitive, and easy-to-use interface design that you can easily customize.
 •Built in apps like Mail, Calendar, Messaging, Photos, and SkyDrive with many more apps available in the Windows Store.
 •Internet Explorer 10, for fast, intuitive browsing.
 •Touch-enabled so you can interact with Windows in a whole new way.
 •Mouse and keyboard–enabled so you can be as productive as you need to be.

Windows RT also includes some different features:
 •Windows Update and Windows Defender are always on and up to date making your PC more secure.
 •Device encryption provides advanced data protection to help keep your information secure.
 •The PC can turn on instantly with connected standby.
 •Office Home & Student 2013 RT Preview is pre-installed.
Some features aren't included in Windows RT:
 •Windows Media Player
 •Windows Media Center
 •HomeGroup creation (you can join an existing HomeGroup but you can't create a new one)
 •Domain join

Windows RT Surface Top (Configurations may vary)
CPU: Nvidia 1.4GHz Tegra Quad-Core Processor
Weight: 676 g (est. 1.5 pounds)
Thickness: 9.3 mm
Display: 10.6” ClearType HD Display
Resolution: 720p (Anticipated Resolution 1366 x 768 pixels)
Energy: 31.5 W-h
Connectivity: microSD, USB 2.0, Micro HD Video, 2x2 MIMO antennae (WiFi)
Included Products (Apps and trial software): Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 RT Preview (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote); Windows Mail and Messaging; SkyDrive; Internet Explorer 10; Bing; Xbox Music, Video, and Games.
Included Accessories: VaporMg Case & Stand
Optional Accessories: Touch Cover, Type Cover
Storage (Solid State Drive): 32 GB, 64 GB
Windows 8 Pro Surface Top (Configurations may vary)
CPU: Intel 2.7GHz i5-Core Processor
Weight: 903 g (est. 2 pounds)
Thickness: 13.5 mm
Display: 10.6” ClearType Full HD Display
Resolution: 1080p (Anticipated Resolution 1920 x 1080)
Energy: 42 W-h
Connectivity: microSDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort Video, 2x2 MIMO antennae (WiFi), 3G/4G Support (Still need confirmation if 3G/4G LTE will be supported)
Included Products (Apps): Windows Mail and Messaging; SkyDrive; Internet Explorer 10; Bing; Xbox Music, Video, and Games.
Included Accessories: VaporMg Case & Stand, Pen with Palm Block
Optional Accessories: Touch Cover, Type Cover
Storage (Solid State Drive): 64 GB, 128 GB
Now that I’ve captivated your interest with Microsoft’s new upcoming computer, I’m sure you’re wondering, “What will this cost?”. Well, Microsoft just released the price of the Windows RT base model starting at $499.99 (other configurations are priced at $599.99 and $699.99). A week ago, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said pricing would be in the ballpark of “$300 to about $700-$800”. The price for Windows 8 Pro Surface has not yet been released. My opinion is the Windows Pro Surface Top will have a base cost of $700-$800 and up to $999.99 based on the configuration you choose. This should give Microsoft a chance at seizing a respectable share of the Tablet market.
Here is a brief overview and tutorial of Microsoft’s new Surface Top.
Look for Microsoft’s Surface Tops October 26, 2012!
Kind regards,

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