Take two tablets and call me in the morning

I used to find it amusing when I encountered people who carried two phones: one for work and one for personal use. Since the introduction of the iPhone and the smartphone as a lifestyle tool, I’ve seen that a lot. Typically you have someone carrying a BlackBerry for work, and either an iPhone or Android smartphone for personal use. Since everyone at Mobility PR has always had smartphones, and we were early adopters of iPhones (not to mention using the first Android and Windows phones), we know the power these phones have for business. Of course I understand the IT issues that lead people to carry two phones everywhere, but these two-smartphone people always amused me. Until Friday.

This past Friday I became a two-tablet person. Already an iPad devotee, I became the proud owner of Microsoft’s Surface tablet. I will say up front, the Surface still has a long way to go to become a threat to the iPad. But unlike the iPad, for me it’s a really strong business tool.

Yes, you can create documents with the iPad using Pages or Keynote, and when you’re connected there’s also Google Docs. I even have a really cool keyboard for my iPad. But the Surface has Microsoft Office. People will say it’s not the real Office, it’s only a lighter weight version. Duh. If I need the full version I have a laptop. But as far as I can tell so far, the Office 2013 RT version has all the features I need to create and edit documents. And I am more familiar with Office than I am Pages and Keynote, or Google Docs. Oh and by the way, 100 percent of my clients use Office, too.

The Surface also has a file system. I know the iPad does too. But the iPad doesn’t let you organize documents by your own protocols, and it doesn’t let you search for and find the right document then launch the app from it. For a person who is constantly working on evolving drafts of many documents simultaneously, organizing documents my own way is extremely helpful.

The Surface also has Windows 8 (again, I know it’s the RT version). Windows 8 is ingenious once you get the hang of it. I’ll admit it, that will take awhile. I had an advantage having used the Windows 8 preview. I used the Windows 8 preview on a desktop PC, though. But now that I’m swiping from all four sides of the screen, I am just now understanding its power.

Printing from the Surface was incredibly easy. It just found my wireless printer and printed, either at home or the office.

But the Surface offers precious little for me in terms of lifestyle applications. All of my music is on iTunes Match, which doesn’t work on the Surface. And I still haven’t figured out how to get my music onto the Surface. Or my videos.

There are barely any apps. Windows 8 RT isn’t the same as Windows 8, so my Windows applications won’t run on the Surface, and I need to go to a special app store for Windows 8 RT devices. Fair enough, but this app store’s shelves are barren. Even some apps that I know exist for Windows Phone are not available. Yet. I read that Microsoft is claiming there are 500 new apps per day being added to this app store. But so far they don’t include the apps I want, like DropBox, any of my travel apps, any of the social media apps I regularly use, or any of the apps I like for entertainment.

Should this app store offers me the apps I want, and I have every confidence it ultimately will, I can see me replacing my beloved iPad for an all-around-table built atop Windows 8 RT. I’m willing to be patient, because for the time being I have an awesome tablet for work and another awesome tablet for personal use.

John S