Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Will Microsofts Surface be a real drawing tablet?

Hello again,
this post will not be iPad related. This post will be about the new tablet from Microsoft (yes, I'm sorry for that) called "Surface" that was presented to the public in an event last monday.
So on first sight, it might be quite "off topic" but there is a fine detail that seems to be of interest here: The bigger pro version of the Surface tablet will come with a pen as an optional input device.

This pro version of Surface will run Windows 8 Pro, so as it seems, it will be a full pc in a tablet form. This would mean that you are able to run native windows drawing and painting software such as Photoshop, Painter, Sketch Pad Pro, Manga Studio etc. This in combination with a precise pen as an input device could really make a big deal.

By now, it is hard to get any more details about Surface. There are nearly no detailed informations available at the moment. So all interesting things like its price, battery life and especially informations about the pen still remain a secret by now.

All Information I can find regarding the pen are those: Surface seems to have two different kinds of "touch detection". The usual one for using your fingers and a second one that recognise the pen drawing on the screen. If the pen comes near the screen, the finger input is deactivated automatically, so you get a kind of palm rejection. Because of a quite thin layer of gorilla glass that covers the screen of the Surface, the distance between the pens tip and the screen is only about 0.7 mm. That would be great for drawing because such a small distance would give a similar feeling like drawing directly on paper.

Today a 47 minutes long video of the Microsoft Surface event was published. Unfortunately the pen is only shown for e few moments in action and what you'll see is only the use as a writing tool. If the pen would be a great drawing or painting tool I wander why Microsoft didn't point it out. So the video leaves more questions than giving answeres. Maybe this is the MS-version of trying to get a kind of Apple-like-hype for a new product :-).

Anyway, if the pen will work like expected, the Surface/pen combination could be like a Cintiq drawing tablet in form of a full featured tablett pc.

In my eyes this would be the first time, a competitor of apple comes out with a tablet feature that might be a real challenge for Apples iPad.

So maybe the rise of the Surface might bring Apple to the point where they might present there own pen input device for iPad. it shouldn't be a problem in regards of technology because last year, Apple already got patents for two different kinds of pen input devices that could be used for iPad. But with Apple patents you'll never know, if they will be turned into a real product or sleep forever in the drawer.

So I'm very curious about the details of the Surface tablet. If this product will not be a total flop like the Zune player, it might push the tablet market a bit further.

Let's wait and see. Regarding the availability of the Surface, the cryptic statement of Microsoft could be interpreted in the way that the "small" Surface version will come out at about october 2012 while the pro version with the pen that runs Windows 8 pro will follow three month later.

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