Microsoft Surface and innovation in the technology sector

Kayode Yusuf. The technology industry is in a constant state of flux and innovation is the key to survival in this sector; companies that want to stay on top of the game must constantly come up with innovative products, services and solutions that meets and exceeds the customer's expectations. Microsoft is the latest to do this by unveiling its new product, Microsoft Surface.

Surface is a tablet which aims to rival the dominant iPad from Apple Inc. Even though Microsoft Surface is a tablet, it is designed to be a cross-over product by meeting the needs of the existing tablet users and also catering to the needs of the traditional laptop PC user.

One of the selling points of the innovative Microsoft Surface is that it comes with a super thin keyboard which can be attached to the tablet by magnets; this keyboard also acts as a cover for the tablet. Two variants will be launched; Surface with Windows RT and Surface Pro with Windows 8 Pro. Windows 8 is the new operating system expected to be launched around October this year.

It remains to be seen whether this new product from Microsoft will succeed when it is finally launched into the market this fall.

My opinion is that Microsoft Surface may appeal to those who want to do more serious work on their tablets such as word processing and spreadsheet computations, however, those who use their tablets for web browsing, social networking, video streaming and e-mailing (most tablet users actually!) may not have an incentive to switch to Surface.

Also, curiously Microsoft is including digital pen functionality with the Surface Pro, but it remains to be seen how many users will be willing to use this given that most are now accustomed to the finger driven experience of the touch screen iPad.

Innovation in the technology industry is quite tricky because customers are savvy and sophisticated; hence only a thin line exists between success and failure. Apple is a great innovative company because Steve Jobs and his team had the intuition of getting it right most of the time. Steve Jobs had the vision of correctly determining what direction things would go in future.

He inspired most of the advances in smart phones and tablet technology today. He led Apple to being a strong and attractive company through constant innovation. With its shares on NASDAQ closing at a year high peak of $636.23 in April this year, there is no doubt that the key to success in the technology industry is innovation.

The excitement is high to see how much of a competition Microsoft Surface will pose, not just the iPad, but to other existing tablets in the market such as Samsung's Android-based Galaxy Tab and HP's Touchpad. Nevertheless, the move by Microsoft is a step in the right direction, it's better to be in the mix than to be totally annihilated.

Nokia for example was totally left behind by the iPhone, Android and the Blackberry. Now, even Blackberry (Research in Motion) is in dire straits, they are now hoping that their trump card would be the launch of Blackberry 10.

This shows how quickly companies can be left behind in this industry. On a final note, even though Apple has created a cult following of its products, especially the iPad, Microsoft Surface can still make a credible impact in the tablet space. Despite the fact that the full details of the two Surface products are not yet known, it is certain that interesting times await us; especially as these technology companies continue to titillate us with constant and exciting innovations.

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