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Friday, October 19, 2012

Tablet Overload

It’s looking like October will wind up being the month of brand new tablets.  Two of the biggest names in computer technology, Apple and Microsoft, are both either releasing or announcing new tablets in the last week and a half of this month.

First is Microsoft’s Surface tablet which is set to go on sale October 26.  The Surface tablet will enter the market at $499 for its 32-gigabyte model, following up on Microsoft’s promise during the summer to be “comparable” to other tablets.  In comparison, Apple’s new iPad will cost you $499 for only 16-gigabytes of storage.  Unfortunately, one of the Surface’s most interesting and innovative features will cost you an extra $120 unless you bundle it with the tablet purchase.  It would then only cost you $599 total.  The new feature is a full keyboard that doubles as a super-thin cover.  The cover easily flips back and forth between cover and keyboard and it will come in a variety of colors, including red, white, magenta, and cyan.

The Surface tablet will come equipped with Windows RT.  Windows RT is a scaled-down version of the new Windows 8 operating system, which is also set to be released next week on the 26th.  Future versions of the Surface Tablet, set to be released early next year, will operate with a full version of Windows 8 and also include 64 and 128-gigabyte models.  Currently apps for the Surface will only be available through the Windows 8 app store.

Then there’s the iPad… again.  This time its coming in a pint-sized version as Apple is expected to announce the new iPad Mini next week.  While Microsoft is trying to penetrate the higher-end tablet market, the iPad mini looks to be Apple’s attempt to penetrate the smaller, and cheaper, tablet market.

Many believe the new iPad Mini will be approximately 7-inches in size (the current iPad is nearly 10-inches) and come with a price tag of under $300.  Current heavy-hitting 7-inch tablets, such as Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Google’s Nexus 7, both come with a cost of $199.

Apple typically announces its new products and then releases them for sale a couple weeks later.  If Apple continues this trend we could see the iPad Mini on sale as early as the first week or two of November.

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