Microsoft's Surface tablet
Despite Microsoft's best efforts on Monday to demonstrate why Surface is different, it's a crowded market out there.
All of the first-tier players like Samsung, Amazon, Sony, Lenovo, Acer, Asus, and Motorola (not to mention a Google-branded device that is expected) have already saturated the Android tablet market.
So, it's a tall order for Microsoft and Windows 8.
That said, the rollout of the 10.6-inch (16:9 widescreen HD) Surface tablets on Monday succeeded at the very least in showing that Microsoft has come up with a good idea.
The catch with tablets is the lack of a physical keyboard, which doesn't appeal to some consumers. And keyboard docking solutions to date have typically not been very elegant, with a few exceptions.
Microsoft's 3mm pressure sensitive cover doubles as a keyboard and trackpad and connects to Surface with a "single" magnetic click, according to Microsoft.
And price. It's hard to win either way. Go low and you have to cut corners, strip out features. That ultimately gives the product a bad rap. Go high and, well, the problem is obvious.
Microsoft appears to be leaning toward the higher end of the market, with pricing rumored to start at $599 for RT (ARM chip-based) models. Intel-based versions with 1,920x1,080-pixel displays could run a lot higher.