FAQ: what we don't know about Microsoft's Surface tablet

If the saying 'What you don't know can kill you' is true, how much danger are Microsoft and its customers in?

By , Computerworld |  Consumerization of IT, comparison, ipad

That means the Pro could miss the holiday season if, for example, Windows 8 doesn't ship until the second half of October -- as did Windows 7 in 2009 -- which would push the Surface Pro launch into January 2013.

How long will the tablets' batteries last between charges? We have an idea, but it's just a guess.

Microsoft spelled out the watt-hour (Wh) capacity of the two tablets' batteries, but oddly, made no claims about how long those batteries would keep each device running under average conditions. (A 10Wh rating means the battery can produce one watt of power for 10 hours, or, say, 10 watts of power for one hours.) The Surface's battery is rated at 31.4 Wh, while the Surface Pro's is 42.

Some back-of-the-envelope comparisons between the Surface and new iPad (42.5 Wh), and between the Surface Pro and the 11-in. MacBook Air (35 Wh), results in rough -- very rough -- estimates:

Surface Windows RT: 7.5 hours

Surface Windows 8 Pro: 6 hours

How long will it take to charge a Surface? We know you're shocked, but we don't know. Microsoft hasn't said, and like the battery lifespan, didn't include that information in the too-short spec sheet.

There weren't shots of the case or ports -- by the way, the images on Microsoft's website weren't even photographs, but according to the company were "design renderings," or in other words, Photoshop images -- to show us whether there was a dedicated power port or whether the single USB port would fill in instead via a link to, say, another computer.

What's the screen resolution? We're not sure. Microsoft called the Windows RT tablet's display "ClearType HD," which isn't even as descriptive as Apple's "Retina" marketing label. The Windows 8 tablet, meanwhile, was tagged as sporting "ClearType Full HD" screen. Whatever that is.

The speculation consensus is that the Surface has 720p, or 1280-by-720-pixel resolution, while the Surface Pro boasts 1080p, or 1920-by-1020-pixel resolution.

For comparison, Apple's new iPad has 2048-by-1536-pixel resolution, last year's iPad 2 offers 1024-by-768-pixel resolution and the 11-in. MacBook Air 1366-by-768-pixel resolution. And the new Retina-equipped MacBook Pro, though, sports resolution of an amazing 2880-by-1800-pixels.

Why didn't Microsoft start taking orders? We think we know this one: Because it hasn't yet decided on prices. If it had made up its mind, Microsoft would have been smart to set prices and use Monday's buzz to pre-sell the tablet. People would have likely hammered Microsoft's servers trying to order one (or more).


Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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