Microsoft is definitely thinking ahead when it comes to its Surface tablet. At a TechEd event held in Amsterdam today, the company has said that it believes tablet sales will overtake PCs within the next year. Antoine Leblond, vice president for Windows Web Services, spoke about how touch interfaces will become the dominant platform in the coming years, and that tablets will outsell traditional PCs for the first time.
“Touch is coming to PCs and that’s going to change the way UIs are designed very dramatically, just like the mouse did,” Leblond said at the event, going on to detail how Microsoft’s new Metro interface has been specifically optimized for touch operations. Still, the company won’t be shunning those keen to cling to laptops and PCs: “[Metro] works equally well on a desktop or a tablet.”
Microsoft introduced two Surface tablets at an event its event in Los Angeles, one based on the ARM architecture while the other runs on Intel’s low-voltage Ivy Bridge processor. The ARM version will be running Windows RT, while the Intel variant will run full blown Windows 8. The company was keen to point out the magnesium construction of the device along with the integrated kickstand, and impressed those in attendance with the introduction of a cover that doubles as a keyboard.
Manufacturing partners apparently aren’t quite as impressed. Details of the Surface tablet reportedly weren’t revealed to them until the last minute, with an executive at Acer believing the tablet is nothing more than an attempt to spark interest in Windows 8 tablets among OEMs. A report from an analyst has also detailed how Microsoft looked at OEM partners’ tablet lineups yet went ahead with the Surface announcement, something which is said to have changed the dynamics of the relationships between the company and its partners.