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Microsoft has unveiled its own tablet computer to compete against Apple’s iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Blackberry Playbook, Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime and Motorola Xoom 2. Microsoft’s new tablet will be released to coincide with the release of its revamped Windows 8. Microsoft is yet to release information on pricing of its tablet. The Surface has bigger screen than the iPad. The Surface pro packs Intel’s core i5 chip, making it one of the fastest tablets on the market. Microsoft’s cover and keyboard could bring tablets closer to replacing laptops for most casual users.

Currently the number one rival to the all-conquering iPad is the Galaxy Tab. The 8.9 inch version can comfortably fit into your pocket, but the iPad cannot. The slightly smaller size is also a better fit for reading books, browsing the web and checking email. Unfortunately the steep price tag has deterred many from purchasing the Samsung’s pocket tablet. Blackberry promised a true multi-tasking between apps but it lacks 3g feature hence its slow adoption. It’s also interesting to note that the Blackberry Playbook also had a huge price tag.

Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime runs the latest version of Android with metallic spun finish design. The Eee Pad Transformer Prime has been trimmed down in both size and weight coming in at an impressive 8.3mm thick and 586g, making it thinner and lighter than its main rival the Apple iPad 2.

Motorola Xoom 2 was the first Android tablet. Though the Motorola Xoom stood out as the first big tablet push with backing from Google, it didn’t turn out quite to be pinnacle of Android tablets. It was soon surpassed by the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 as a huge competitor to the iPad 2, while the Asus Eee Pad Transformer showed that Android tablets could really excel.

The tablet competition is on and its good for the consumer! In the coming months, lots of existing tablets will receive huge upgrades to stay in the competition. The rivalry will have a huge impact on price and that is good for the consumer as well. Microsoft Surface may offer a very competitive and attractive price to get consumers interested in its tablet.

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Thomas Oppong is the founder @Alltopstartups.