Surface adoption by enterprise low as Microsoft unveils new tablets

Microsoft still faces a long road convincing enterprises to choose its Surface tablets over the Apple iPad, according to analysts.

Microsoft announced new Surface tablets and Australian pricing earlier today. The devices feature similar designs to their predecessors but have upgraded specs and new accessories. Businesses are more likely to be interested in the Surface Pro 2, which runs full Windows 8.1 and therefore can run most exisiting Windows apps.

Like before, the Surface Pro 2 has a 10.6-inch screen with 1920x1080 pixel display. The processor has been upgraded to a speedier fourth-generation Intel Haswell. The base model includes 64GB storage and 4GB of memory but for more money can be increased to 512GB storage and 8GB memory.

Microsoft has said the Pro 2 has a 75 per cent longer battery life than the original, which lasted about five hours. By attaching a new Power keyboard cover, battery life increases to 2.5 times the original Pro, Microsoft said. Microsoft also revealed a dock that adds three USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0 port, a mini DisplayPort, Ethernet and audio input and output.

Microsoft noted at its press conference that the number of apps in the Windows store has expanded since last year’s Surface launch from 10,000 to 100,000 apps.

Locally, there has so far been little enterprise adoption of the original Microsoft Surface RT and Surface Pro, analysts told Techworld Australia.

The Surface tablets have had “a little bit of impact” among Australian enterprises, said Telsyte analyst Rodney Gedda. However, the Apple iPad is still the dominant device and Samsung is also ahead with its Android tablets, he said. Microsoft has “a long way to go to catch up with Apple.”

“We have not seen any significant deployment [of Surface] from the enterprise sector across all industries in our region,” said Forrester analyst Bryan Wang, who covers Asia Pacific.

However, Forrester has seen increasing adoption of Windows 8 tablets by OEMs like Dell and HP in the enterprise sector, especially by the manufacturing and healthcare industries, Wang said.

“With the new Haswell processor for better performance and battery life, we expect the adoption of Surface Pro 2 may increase in the enterprise sector, thanks to the new accessories announced last night,” he said.

“Early adoption in Asia Pacific may come from customers from professional services and many start-ups.”

“It’s a technology bump,” but Microsoft has its work cut out to convince enterprises to choose Surface, said Gedda. Microsoft “definitely has big plans for the [enterprise] space. It’s not giving up anytime soon.”

Microsoft still lags behind Apple and Android in terms of sheer quantity of apps, but Surface will run business apps like Office that other tablets won’t, he said. “If it produces quality devices and quality software, there’s no reason why enterprises won’t take it up.”

Gedda predicted that enterprises interest in tablets will continue to increase in the year ahead. “The business is market is just seeing tablets as another device that can be used for specific applications.”

Follow Adam Bender on Twitter: @WatchAdam

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Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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