Windows Surface RT Tablet – Full of Surprises?

Microsoft surprised the Tablet industry by giving a preview of their upcoming Surface Tablets with Windows 8 Pro & Windows 8 RT. But Microsoft Surface was not a 7″ Tablet, as predicted by analysts earlier. Therein lies the catch – Is there another surprise waiting for us?

We all know that Microsoft has invested heavily in Nokia. We also know that they have recently made an investment/partnership with Barnes & Noble. What Windows 8 Tablets might these companies be working on?

Can Microsoft Surface Tablet compete with Kindle Fire & Google Nexus 7?

Microsoft has already clarified that there will be two versions of Microsoft Surface Tablets and one will run Windows 8 Pro on Intel chips while another (cheaper) model will run Windows Surface RT on ARM chips. The Surface RT Tablet will include a limited but functional edition of MS Office.

With reports coming out that Microsoft is planning to charge $85 for each Windows Surface RT OS License from the OEM’s and the fact that Microsoft’s strategy has predominantly been to make money from its OS and Office software, it is quite unlikely that Microsoft will subsidise Windows Surface RT for Microsoft Surface. Competing with the free Android OS on price is definitely going to be very difficult for Microsoft.

Looking at it practically, Microsoft Surface with Windows RT might sell at around $250 – $350.

However, it is possible that Microsoft may subsidize the hardware cost and make a digital content/Cloud Office 365 monthly subscription mandatory.

Can it then beat either Amazon Kindle Fire or Google Nexus 7 and create an impact in the entry-level tablet market?

There’s a chance. However, it’s very hard for it to compete effectively with $149 and $199 Tablets (assuming Nook Color and Nook Tablet 1 and Kindle Fire 1 will be $149 by end of the year).

Microsoft Surface might be more of a replacement for Netbooks and might compete more successfully with Apple iPad and similar tablets. This is especially true for the full-fledged Windows 8 Pro & Intel based Microsoft Surface. It can run all x86 PC-based applications and can replace the PC/Laptop for certain applications.

Microsoft Surface RT has more of a challenge since the low-price, high-value Tablet Market has lots of competitors willing to sell Tablets at close to zero profits. Competitors who hope to sell books and apps and movies and music down the line to these Tablet owners. This makes it tough for Microsoft’s partners since they only make profits from the device. They don’t have follow-on sales. How can they compete on price?

Microsoft is the only Surface RT tablet maker that can actually compete on price. The question is – Will it?

We think it will. However, it won’t be the only Windows 8 Tablet competing in the high-value, low-price segment.

What does Microsoft’s investment in Barnes & Noble mean for the Tablet market?

The recent partnership between Microsoft and Barnes & Noble mean three things to the Tablet market –

1. B&N’s content (eBooks) can use Microsoft’s global presence (and top billing in Windows 8) to reach a wider audience. This is a much-needed boost for B&N, which the company would have struggled to achieve by itself. This in turn will feed back to the Nook hardware side and lead to stronger Nook Tablets (probably).
2. Windows 8/RT will be the OS of choice for future B&N Tablets. It’s going to happen sooner or later. B&N has its own app store but it’s small. Future Nook Tablets can use Windows 8 Store and get 50,000 to 100,000 Apps.
3. Microsoft now has access to future B&N Nook Tablet customers to sell its digital content/subscription services. This is a big deal. Microsoft already has the most dangerous horse in the race with Xbox (almost as dangerous are all the existing Windows PCs). As it adds more channels (Surface RT, Surface Pro, Nook Tablets, Windows 8) it will grow stronger and stronger.

What is Nokia doing?

Many were surprised and puzzled when Nokia did not figure among Microsoft’s preferred OEM list for manufacturing Windows Surface Tablets. Given its billion dollar investment in Nokia, it would have made a lot of sense for Microsoft to involve Nokia more.

Many people think Nokia will be offering Windows 8 Tablets.

We think this is very likely. Nokia specializes in making phones for both rich people (relatively) and for the people who can’t afford smartphones. Why wouldn’t it do the same for Tablets?

Microsoft and Nokia would sell their Tablets in parallel

Nokia is not manufacturing the 10″ Surface tablets because it is probably working on its own 6/7″ Windows Tablets. Nokia and B&N are probably going to be the Windows 8 Tablet makers that compete with Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire. Perhaps using a Mobile+Tablet hybrid model.

This hybrid device may not feature Windows 8 RT Tablet OS. It might feature Windows 8 Mobile version, which would cost considerably less ($15-$25 per license). Nokia might even release a foldable tablet that can be carried in one’s pocket but can be unfolded to become a tablet!

Nokia and B&N might be the Windows 8 Tablet Makers (along with perhaps a few others) that compete in the low-price, high-value Tablet Market.

Microsoft then would not have to subsidize Surface Tablets to compete in the low-end tablet segment.

It is possible that we can expect a 7″ Tablet from Nokia with voice and 3G capability based on Windows Phone OS 8. It might have Barnes & Noble services integrated into it. Nokia can include a 1080p screen and Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 chip inside. It could still ship the device at a very competitive price.

Reference: TechCrunch articleIdea credit: Rahul Shekhar, Manipal University.

Switch’s Thoughts: This is a very interesting idea. Personally I feel Microsoft would be doing both. It will let Nokia and B&N ship their 7″ Tablets using Windows 8. It will also ship Surface RT for $199 with some sort of subscription baked in. The whole idea of Windows has been that you can get one standard OS you’re familiar with (Windows) in ‘a device of your choice’. Choice is great for users. There are people who’d prefer a 10″ Tablet with a keyboard. There are people who would prefer a 7″ Tablet from Nokia or B&N. Microsoft wants all markets.

Surface RT is going to bring a lot of surprises to the market. An old Romanian saying goes – When two fight, a third wins. Perhaps that’s what’s about to happen as Steve Jobs’ ThermoNuclear War from the Grave keeps Apple and Android OEMs busy arguing about rectangles and icons.

Surface vs iPad vs Kindle Fire

Microsoft announced the launch of their new Windows Surface PC which will run Windows 8 software on the 18th of June, 2012. The company’s chief executive, Steve Ballmer, explained the launch of the Surface PC by saying that he wanted to give Windows 8 software “its own companion hardware”. Although a lot is still unknown about the Microsoft Surface Tablet, we thought we’d dive into a Surface vs iPad vs Kindle Fire review of features and strengths. Microsoft Surface data is based on the Microsoft announcement and site.

So, how does the Microsoft Surface compare to the Apple iPad and the Kindle Fire?

Surface vs iPad vs Kindle Fire – Top 3 Surface Strengths

  1. Microsoft Office: One of the biggest strengths of the Microsoft Surface tablet will be the ability to use Office on the tablet. This could effectively make the Microsoft Surface a great option for professionals. It’s not known how competitive the Surface will be on price (currently one of the many Microsoft Surface unknowns) – However, even a $1,000 Tablet+ that supports Office would find a lot of traction in companies.
  2. Built in Keyboard and Pen Support: Microsoft Surface has an inbuilt full keyboard and is offering two versions – a flat keyboard and one where the keys actually depress. The Microsoft Surface also has both touch screen and pen options. You also do not have to fiddle around switching between the two – the screen switches to Pen Mode automatically when it detects the pen close to the screen.
  3. Expandable Storage: Microsoft Surface will have an SD card slot allowing users to increase storage on their devices. Kindle Fire and Apple iPad do not have this capability. Apple does have adapters that you can use – However, this is an extra expense over the cost of the tablet and one more thing to carry around.

While a lot is unknown about the Microsoft Surface it promises a Tablet Plus – a Tablet and Laptop hybrid that lets you work and play. Office will be a huge advantage and the keyboard and pen are important additions.

Surface vs iPad vs Kindle Fire – Top 3 iPad benefits

  1. Connectivity between Apple devices: Apple has always done a brilliant job of making sure their various devices work well together. The iPad is no exception and it fits in very well into existing Apple device owners’ lives.
  2. App and Content ecosystem: The iPad App store is the largest Tablet App store by far and has little real competition. There is no reason to believe this will change. While Surface Pro brings desktop application support it is more expensive. The Surface RT model will not support X86 apps and thus will have a much smaller range of available apps. Kindle Fire has just a few thousand Tablet apps and even fewer ones built/optimized for it. The iTunes ecosystem is also very strong.
  3. Proven product in its 3rd generation (4th by end of year): The iPad has been in the market for years. Currently it has more than 90% of web traffic amongst tablets (Comscore) and 70% of market share (various sources – all unreliable to varying degrees). Unlike the Surface, the iPad is a known and familiar device. Surface – the hardware is completely new. Kindle Fire – still a first generation product.

Apple iPad brings a stable third generation device that is the best Tablet and is backed by a strong content ecosystem and the best range of Tablet Apps. It also is very well integrated with existing Apple devices.

Please Note: Depending on how much importance you give to screen resolution and what you think of Retina Display vs Kindle Fire IPS display vs the as-yet-unknown ClearType HD display, we might add the Retina Display as an iPad advantage.

Surface vs iPad vs Kindle Fire – Top 3 Kindle Fire benefits

  1. Cheap Price: Amazon’s strategy is based on making money from selling content for the Kindle Fire and not from the Fire itself. Amazon therefore comes in at a $199 price point which is very hard to compete against. If you want a cheap tablet, then the Fire and the Nook Tablet are the better options. Please Note: We are assuming that the Microsoft Surface RT will be more comparable in price to the iPad than to the Kindle Fire.
  2. Content: E-books and Amazon Music and Amazon Movies combine to form one of Amazon’s strengths. With books there are good offers and lots of free books. Amazon Prime, a paid subscription service, includes free 2 day delivery for all orders from Amazon’s website and free streaming of movies, tv etc from a somewhat limited database. You can pay for a more extended service that gives you access to the full Amazon streaming content.
  3. Amazon Cloud: Amazon’s cloud web storage platform is the best available (arguably). Users of Kindle Fire get free storage for their digital content and limited storage (5 GB) for music.
Kindle Fire’s main benefits are the low price and the strong connection to Amazon services.
Shared Benefits
  1. Light Weight: This varies across the three devices but they are all light and portable and relatively compact. Kindle Fire is the lightest at 413 gm (14.6 ounces). Apple iPad is next at 662 gm (1.46 pounds). The Microsoft Surface is the heaviest (relatively) and will be 676 gm for Surface RT and 903 gm for Surface Pro. They are all light and can be easily carried around with you.
  2. Good Screens: Though screens vary they are all good screens. The exact details for the Microsoft Surface are not yet confirmed. The iPad has the best screen thanks to the Retina display. Kindle Fire is the smallest at 7 inches (multi-touch display with IPS technology and anti-reflective treatment, 1024 x 600 pixel resolution at 169 ppi, 16 million colors). Apple iPad is significantly bigger at 9.7 inches (LED-backlit glossy widescreen Multi-Touch display with IPS technology, 2048-by-1536-pixel resolution, 264 pixels per inch). The Microsoft Surface will have the largest screen at 10.6 inches (ClearType HD Display, details unknown).
  3. Battery Life: The battery life on all three devices varies but it’s good given they are Tablets. Battery life is 7 to 8 hours on the Kindle Fire, 9 to 10 hours on the Apple iPad and Microsoft Surface is supposed to have battery life comparable to the iPad (though there is no concrete evidence of this).
All three tablets are light, have good screens, and have good battery life. They are portable and relatively compact.
Shared Flaws
These flaws go hand in hand with the very nature of being a tablet. Personally, I would get around to buying a Surface, Kindle Fire, or iPad only after getting –
  1. A PC (not least because I like the idea of having a DVD drive, the option of a very large memory, the option of a more powerful and customizable OS).
  2. A smart phone (and not just for the ability to make calls but also for the fact that i can just pop it into my pocket and have my hands free).
  3. Maybe even an e-book reader (this is more debatable but I really do like the long battery life).

The flaws of the Surface, iPad, and Kindle Fire are:

  1. Not quite a PC: PCs can be configured to user requirements far more than a tablet. With Tablets you have very little choice in terms of the processor, OS, memory etc. They also don’t come with DVD drives and are not suitable for serious gaming.
  2. Not quite the convenience of a smart phone: Tablets are bulkier than smart phones and won’t just fit into a pocket. Not all tablets have cameras and even the ones that do aren’t as convenient to use as smart phone cameras (I’ve seen someone try to use an iPad to take a picture of the Manhattan skyline on a river cruise, let’s just say that I wouldn’t recommend the iPad for that!).
  3. Not the battery life of an e-book reader: An E-book reader has its battery life measured in weeks. Tablets just handle 8 to 10 hours of use before needing a charge.

Of course, if you are looking for a Tablet just to check email and surf the net and play a few casual games, then these flaws don’t really matter much.

Microsoft Surface promises to address one big flaw Tablets have i.e. the difficulty of doing productive things and creating things on Tablets. However, we’ll have to wait and see if it can deliver.

Let’s dive into a deeper comparison of Surface vs iPad vs Kindle Fire.

Surface vs iPad vs Kindle Fire – Top 23 Areas of Comparison

  1. Price: As mentioned above, the Kindle Fire at $199 definitely wins out over the $499 Apple iPad when it comes to price. We are not sure of the price for the Microsoft Surface yet – the general consensus is that it will be similar to that of the iPad.
  2. Expandability and Possible Uses: Surface comes with a built-in cover, built-in key board, a pen, a built-in stand, a slightly larger screen that the Apple iPad (substantially larger than the Kindle Fire), and more options for connectivity and configurability. The Microsoft Surface seems to be the clear winner on this front. I would put the Apple iPad as second because of its larger screen size over the Kindle Fire, larger in-built memory and wider range of in-built apps.
  3. Reading Books: Kindle Fire is most convenient to hold and the tight integration with the Kindle store makes it the winner her. Having said that, if the main intention behind your buying a tablet is using it for reading e-books then an eReader is a better option. If you are set on a Tablet, then it’s a toss between the greater accessibility to e-book content on the Microsoft Surface and iPad (books from all stores) vs. the advantage of size and weight of the Kindle Fire that makes it truly something you can hold and operate one-handed over long periods of time.
  4. Looks: I would give it to the Apple iPad. Apple certainly knows how to put lipstick on the prom queen. The touch cover on the Microsoft Surface does tempt me to give it a win over the Kindle Fire (which looks a bit boxy).
  5. Ease of Use: Don’t know how easy to use Surface Tablet will be. The benefit is that it’ll be Windows (albeit Metro is something most Windows users are new to). Kindle Fire is very easy to use. iPad is also very easy to use. The winner is probably iPad with Kindle Fire a close second. Surface’s ease of use – We’ll only know in October.
  6. Weight: I don’t think there is much in this with all appliances being lighter than 2 pounds. If this is a concern for you, then the Kindle Fire is the lightest at 14.6 ounces (413 gm), mostly because it is smaller than the other two tablets. The Apple iPad at 1.46 pounds (662 gm) is next, followed by the Microsoft Surface at 676-903 gm based on OS.
  7. Screen and Screen Size: iPad’s Retina display wins this. With Full HD display and the larger screen size I think the Microsoft Surface wins over Kindle Fire. The Kindle Fire has a much smaller screen than the other two – which is both an advantage and a disadvantage. The smaller sized Kindle Fire makes it lighter and easier to carry because of its compact size – but you get less screen estate for movies and surfing. Also even though all three can be held one-handed, this is most realistically achieved with the Kindle Fire. Kindle Fire is the smallest at 7 inches (multi-touch display with IPS technology and anti-reflective treatment, 1024 x 600 pixel resolution at 169 ppi, 16 million colors), Apple iPad is next at 9.7 inches (LED-backlit glossy widescreen Multi-Touch display with IPS technology, 2048-by-1536-pixel resolution, 264 pixels per inch), and Microsoft Surface has the largest screen with screen size of 10.6 inches (ClearType HD Display).
  8. Camera: The Microsoft Surface has not mentioned any intentions of having an inbuilt camera and the Kindle Fire does not have one so even though I don’t recommend using the Apple iPad for this purpose, this one is clearly won by the Apple iPad.
  9. Connectivity: The Microsoft Surface wins this clearly. It will come with a MicroSD slot along with a USB drive. Apple iPad allows for USB connectivity however Apple makes you mess around with USB adapters. Kindle Fire doesn’t support USB devices. I would put that last in connectivity.
  10. Configurability: Microsoft Surface wins this. For starters you can choose between Windows RT and Windows 8 Pro. Surface allows for more in-built memory and also has a SD Card. Please Note: 64GB maximum for Windows RT, same for the Apple iPad, only 8GB on a Kindle Fire, 128 GB maximum on Windows 8 Pro. Windows 8 Pro also comes with a Pen.
  11. Battery Life: We don’t currently know what this will be for the Microsoft Surface however is estimated to be similar to that of the Apple iPad, which has 9-10 hours of battery power, higher than the 7-8 hours of the Kindle Fire. The battery life on all three devices varies by the amount of Wi-Fi usage. The battery life for all three is actually good given they are tablets.
  12. Software: We don’t know much about Microsoft Surface except that it will be available in two versions – Windows RT and Windows 8 Pro. Windows 8 Pro is new software that we can’t really comment on. Windows RT is a version of Windows 8 modified for mobile devices. Apple iOS5 software powers the Apple iPad. Like Kindle Fire this restricts the device to using Apple approved content. iPad does have more apps and thus the Apple iPad wins over the Kindle Fire in software. Kindle Fire uses its own version of the Android OS. However, it is a heavily skinned version and does not allow access to non-Amazon approved Android compatible software.
  13. Memory (In Built): Apple iPad offers more choice (16, 32 or 64GB) versus just 2 options for the Microsoft Surface (32 and 64GB on Windows RT, 64 and 128 GB on Windows 8 Pro) and no option on the Kindle Fire (8 GB on device, unlimited free storage for digital content on Amazon Cloud and 5GB storage for music). Microsoft Surface does have the option for 128 GB of emory with the Surface Pro. Despite Amazon’s Cloud service I’d put it at the bottom. Microsoft Surface and the Apple iPad are comparable (especially given the possibility that by October there’s an iPad 4 model that has 128 GB memory).
  14. Memory (Expansion): Microsoft Surface is the only device that has a MicroSD slot.
  15. Content (Free): Kindle Fire apps need to be Amazon approved and this severely restricts access to the number of free apps available. Microsoft Surface Pro will probably have more choices than iPad since it can access desktop software, then the iPad with its large market of apps, then the Surface RT with its new Tablet Apps Store, and finally Kindle Fire.
  16. Content (Paid): Amazon Prime is available on Kindle Fire however it comes with an annual fee of $79. The main benefit is free 2-day shipping. You also get a free book a month and free video streaming, based on a somewhat restricted library of books and videos). Amazon does offer some very good deals on books and sometimes on other media content. Apple iPad again has a big advantage when it comes to Apps. With Surface Pro and Surface RT we probably would have a repeat of the previous point i.e. Surface Pro offers more than the iPad and Surface RT offers less.
  17. Video Streaming: All devices are fairly comparable on this front. NetFlix has an app for streaming movies, TV shows and videos on Kindle Fire. NetFlix has a similar app for streaming on the Apple iPad. Microsoft devices like Xbox do allow video streaming – it would be reasonable to think Netflix and other video streaming services would be available on the Microsoft Surface.
  18. Browsing: In terms of Speed the Apple iPad Safari web browser is one of the fastest mobile browsers. The Amazon Silk browser on the Kindle Fire is also good but not as fast as iPad’s Safari browser. Somewhat curiously, the browser performs better when its “Cloud Acceleration” feature is switched off. The iPad’s Safari browser does not support flash content like that on YouTube which Amazon’s Silk browser does. The iPad’s bigger screen gives it a big advantage. iPad gets the edge over Kindle Fire and has an overall better browsing experience. Microsoft Surface is expected to run a version of Internet Explorer and it might provide a browsing experience similar to the iPad.
  19. Email: Considering that Office (which includes Outlook) will be available on Microsoft Surface, it probably will make for the best email experience. Apple iPad has a number of apps available for email besides the built-in mail app and provides a good experience. The Kindle Fire comes with a decent in-built Email app. However, Surface will be the clear winner if the version of Outlook it ships with has anywhere close to the capabilities of the standard desktop Outlook.
  20. Enterprise: Microsoft Surface, with in-built office on both versions, is the clear winner here. Apple iPad has first movers advantage – However it can’t run a full Office suite of programs like a PC/Mac. That makes it less competitive/practical. Kindle Fire isn’t really competitive in this area because of the very restrictive nature of its OS.
  21. Apps Ecosystem: Apple iPad is the clear winner here. The Apple app ecosystem with over 225,000 apps is the largest and the apps are generally cheaper. There are also a lot more developers in the market building apps for Apple. The Apple iPad comes with a large number of essential apps built-in.  Microsoft Surface, one would expect, will come built-in with essential apps. However there are not as many developers or apps available for Microsoft Surface RT. Surface Pro will piggyback on the existing desktop application market. However, how many of those will be optimized for tablets? Kindle Fire, since it does not allow access to the Android market, is limited to the Amazon app store which is very small at about 31,000 apps.
  22. Customer Service: Amazon, Apple and Microsoft are all considered to be companies providing great customer service (unless you need to cancel a Xbox Live membership). Amazon does win here since they go overboard for customers.
  23. Stores’ Customer Service: Apple stores in most places are almost seen as destinations to visit. The number of employees and the energy level is very high. Microsoft has only recently started opening stores. In general the stores are close to pre-existing Apple stores (a good strategy to try to get some of the competitor’s footfall). However they are far fewer in number and with fewer employees and not quite the energy level of Apple stores. Amazon doesn’t really have any stores. Apple clearly provides the best real life customer service.

Now, a quick look at Surface vs iPad vs Kindle specifications.

Surface vs iPad vs Kindle – Technical Specifications

Technical Spec Microsoft Surface Pro Microsoft Surface RT Apple iPad Kindle Fire
Price Unknown – Rumored to be anywhere between $799 and $1099. Unknown – Rumored to be $499 or so. $399 for the older iPad. $499 for the latest generation base model. $199. There are sometimes sales at $149.
OS Windows 8 Pro Windows RT iOS5 Android (adapted)
Browser Internet Explorer Internet Explorer Safari Silk
Weight 903gms 676gms 662gms 413gms
Thin 13.5mm 9.3mm 9.4mm 11.4mm
Screen
  • 10.6in
  • ClearType HD Display
  • 10.6in
  • ClearType HD Display
  • 9.7in
  • LED-backlit glossy widescreen Multi-Touch display with IPS technology
  • 2048-by-1536-pixel resolution
  • Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating
  • Support for display of multiple languages and characters simultaneously
  • 7in
  • multi touch display with IPS technology and anti-reflective treatment
  • 1024 x 600 pixel resolution at 169
  • 16 million colors
Battery 42 W-h 31.5 W-h 9-10 hours (42.5 W-h) 7-8 hours
Memory 64GB, 128GB 32GB, 64GB 16GB, 32GB, 64GB 8GB, unlimited on cloud for digital content, 5GB for music
Connect.
  • MicroSD
  • USB 2.0
  • Micro HD Video
  • 2×2 MIMO antennae
  • MicroSD
  • USB 3.0
  • Mini Display Port Video
  • 2×2 MIMO antennae
  • USB Adapter
  • USB 2.0

Surface vs iPad vs Kindle Fire – Best Suited For

  1. Microsoft Surface Pro (and price is a big unknown here) is best suited for professionals. If they are already using Microsoft Office at work this will allow them to use a Surface Pro instead of a comparatively bulky laptop. The larger in-built memory and MicroSD card also make it more suitable for professionals and business use than the Apple iPad. Finally, Microsoft has very strong Enterprise and Business presence and understands that market very well.
  2. Microsoft Surface RT (and again price is a big unknown here) is best suited for people looking for a good iPad substitute. It is a cheaper option than the Pro and well-suited for people who don’t care too much about the Pen, slightly higher screen resolution and larger in-built memory option the Surface Pro provides. It is also suitable as a laptop substitute for people who do not require a DVD drive and primarily use their laptops for browsing the internet, posting on social media sites, checking emails and editing/uploading pictures from smart phones or cameras.
  3. Apple iPad is best suited for people who want to go with the most stable, proven option and those who already own a number of other Apple devices and want to be able to sync them up. It is also suitable for people who make regular use of the Apple apps and iTunes ecosystem. It is the ideal choice for people who want a tried and tested product.
  4. Kindle Fire is best suited for people looking for a cheap tablet and who don’t care too much about device storage and range of apps. It is also suitable if you can take advantage of Amazon Prime with its main benefit of free 2 day delivery for an annual fee of $79. It is also suitable for people who mainly want to use their tablets for reading books – yet, want a device that can do a bit more than an e-book reader.

Surface vs iPad vs Kindle Fire is an interesting comparison. We don’t yet know the full details of the Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets. The iPad 4 will be out by October 2012 (probably) and a new Kindle Fire will be out by then too (almost certainly). We’ll update our Surface vs iPad vs Kindle Fire review comparison as new iPad and Kindle Fire models are released.