Microsoft Surface 2 brings excitement, new features

22 October 2013

Microsoft's latest tablet, the Surface 2, is set to be released to the public this week, and many tech experts and Microsoft users have been highly anticipating the product's launch for several months. After noting that it would return to the traditional Windows OS interface, loyal Microsoft consumers were generally optimistic about the potential improvements for the company's latest tablet offering.

It's all part of Microsoft's attempt to further integrate its family of products to create an extremely satisfactory user experience. Over the last few years, the software giant has taken steps to make its programs easier to access across a variety of devices. The firm's business collaboration tool SharePoint 2013 now features more mobile capabilities than past versions ever did, and Microsoft has made social networking tool Yammer available across a number of its programs. As a result, IT executives have been placing a premium on Microsoft training for job applicants.

The Surface 2 should only increase the need for the ability to effectively manage Microsoft devices in the office, as its useful new features may boost Microsoft tablet adoption rates.

An iPad competitor
According to Fox News, the Surface 2 will be priced at $449, making it a cost-effective alternative to Apple's iPad. The source noted that the improvements Microsoft made for the tablet make it "a worthy iPad rival."

One feature the Surface 2 has that the iPad lacks is USB ports. Also, the source noted that the Surface 2 comes with a MicroSDXC slot that allows users to expand the device's memory. The iPad, however, does not come with any additional memory expansion ports. This could prove to be a major benefit for enterprise users of the Surface 2 who use USBs and memory cards to easily save and share files with other employees or personal devices.

Another advantage of the Surface 2 is that it comes with a standard HDMI output slot that allows a user to plug the device directly into a high-definition television. This makes is possible for Office users to make PowerPoint or Excel file on the tablet and display the document in a meeting via a conference-room television. Those programs do not require an additional investment, as the Surface 2 has a copy of Office 2013 included in the price, a major perk for professionals.

Admittedly, it is possible to connect the iPad to an HDMI television. However, Fox News reported that iPads can only do so with an Apple adapter that costs $50.

Windows 8.1 compatible
The source noted the Surface 2 uses the Windows 8.1 OS. After the initial launch of Windows 8, Microsoft received significant feedback from users about how to improve the OS. Many of those user-friendly suggestions were analyzed and included in Windows 8.1, which was released last week. Much faster than Windows 7, the new platform brings back Microsoft's long-used "Start" menu, which will excite many Microsoft customers.

Fox News reported that the Start screen applications are not only useful, but they are fun and easy to access. Engadget highlighted the fact that the Windows Store includes more than 100,000 apps, including some incredibly popular ones such as Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Dropbox and other programs.

The source stated that Microsoft appears to be making strides with the Windows Store and even speculated that the app market will be even more expansive in the coming months and years.

Microsoft education is key
The Surface 2 could very well change the landscape of the tablet market, especially among enterprise users. For this reason, IT professionals should consider taking Microsoft certification courses that pertain to software company's mobile-enabled programs such as SharePoint, Lync and Office. It could give IT workers the edge they need to land the jobs they want.

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