That sounds interesting. What is "much higher usability" -- by itself that statement means nothing.
Those are common features of android tablets (and kickstand and attachable keyboard are certainly available for iOS devices). What about their presence on the Surface makes the Surface notable for having them?
No one has anything as flat and integrated as the Touch Cover. No one. The Android tablets that do have kick stands are not the full width of the device; they're like little arms that extend, which prevents them from being useful in your lap, unless there is a newer Android tablet that I haven't seen, but I believe none of the mainstream ones have them built in anyway.
So, even though it came out after the new ipad it doesn't achieve the same resolution? That's a shame.
Yep. Given that the x86 model is 1080p, I suspect that doing the same resolution on the ARM chip was too taxing of the battery to justify it. They might have also made the decision before the Retina Display iPad was ever officially announced as well, which meant they went from beating the competition to being behind. Microsoft has to own up to this one, but the Metro UI does a very good job at hiding the lower resolution combined with ClearType.
Maybe you aren't aware that the lack of flash is a *feature*? Not everyone wants to have crappy flash apps whether its on a mobile device or not. My desktop systems are flash free since I have a choice in the matter.
I guess that means you're not running Chrome. But, anyway, I use Chrome on my desktops and I run FlashControl (way better than the other plugins) to limit Flash to websites that I choose, and that pretty much boils down to Hulu. I use tablets even more for entertainment than my desktops and Hulu is the last thing that I actually use Flash with, but I use it a lot (there is a Hulu Plus app, but I don't pay for Hulu, and therefore it serves no purpose for me on either tablet). So, as long as that's the only way to get Hulu, then Flash will unfortunately remain a feature. Once that door closes, or a better, legal alternative opens up to Hulu, then that won't change.
I will say, IE's biggest limitation is actually its general lack for simple plugin support akin to Chrome and Firefox, but mostly like Chrome. I wouldn't be surprised to see this coming with IE11, whenever that is, as that's the last real advantage Chrome has beyond WebGL, which I don't actually use, but plugins are a huge advantage that I miss, which is odd because I never really noticed missing them on my iPad with Safari (I suppose my only other plugin, AdBlocker in that case).
The Samsung Galaxy Tab is similar specs at similar price (even having flash, ugh!) with the advantage of a mature marketplace.
Only a true fan would dare to call Android's tablet marketplace mature. Unless something major happens, Windows RT-based apps will outnumber Android tablet apps by this time next year, and it will particularly out number them in the sense that you will actually be able to download one and know that it will work on your tablet.
Or, a new ipad is better specs and a mature marketplace for a similar price balanced by the lack of a USB port or SD card slot.
As you must be a technical user, it's stunning that you don't see the enormous benefit of having a USB port that can be used for anything with a working driver, and an expansion SD slot. I have already transferred files between machines using my Surface, and I am happy that I can plug in a mouse if I ever get tired of the mouse pad built into the Touch Cover. Shy of actual software development, which I tend to do on a desktop with dual monitors anyway, my Surface can completely replace my MacBook Pro. Technically, I can use the free Remote Desktop app to even enable that, but I hope that I am never in the need to do that.
I'm not certain that Windows will win in the tablet space, particularly because they do have the youngest ecosystem. However, with the ability to actually control everything analogous to a real computer--more so than even Android, shy of rooting, which no normal user will ever do--and plug in peripherals that use the same Windows driver model as, well, Windows, it opens up a lot of opportunity. Frankly, I hope that Android doesn't win until it's no longer hit or miss with support, and I hope Apple doesn't win because their tablet is a glorified gaming screen (that loses support after two years). I very seriously want them to compete heavily with Microsoft so that whoever does win gives us all the best product. After all, imagine Microsoft even attempting to do this 6 years ago. It would never have happened. It's only because of the competition that they've finally stopped pumping out delayed first releases like Vista (which, to be fair, is pretty much Windows 7 at this point after all of the patches and manufacturers fixing their drivers, with a few usability warts not present in Windows 7). I hope they put the pressure on everyone, and I hope it comes right back to them.