Microsoft Surface Pro, Galaxy Note 8, And Xperia Tablet Z Beat iPad In One Key Area

By Jordan Mammo , Apr 23, 2013 12:43 PM EDT

Any new product, like Microsoft's Surface Pro or Samsung's Galaxy Note 8, looking to break into the tablet market needs to confront an unfortunate reality: It is dominated by Apple and the iPad. Making headway means either pulling new customers into the market or convincing existing iPad owners their slate isn't quite up to par.

The Surface Pro hasn't quite been able to do that, but with the Galaxy Note 8 out now and the Xperia Tablet Z coming in May, these three tablets show that the iPad needs to catch up in at least one significant way: multitasking.

Sure, Apple likes to say the iPad features multitasking, but it's really just a way to switch between single apps faster. You can't run two apps at the same time, unless hearing your music play in the background counts (it doesn't). Trying to be productive on an iPad isn't as efficient as it should be, and, as ZDNet points out, new products are just going to make the iPad look less capable if Apple doesn't fix this, especially if the company expects users to do more with their tablets.

The Surface Pro already offers decent multitasking with Snap View, which lets users run two different programs side-by-side on the same screen. Implementation on Microsoft's device isn't quite perfect, but it's still leaps and bounds ahead of the iPad's offering. The issue with the Surface Pro's solution is that, right now, it forces you to have one app take up nearly 70 percent of the screen, while the other app is relegated to the smaller portion.

Fortunately, that'll change with Windows 8.1 (Blue), which will allow users to choose between the original ratio or give each app a 50/50 share of the screen.

Meanwhile, the Galaxy Note 8 and Xperia Tablet Z will offer multitasking options with a little more customization. The two new tablets offer Android's multi view feature, which not only lets users run two apps simultaneously, but also lets them re-size the apps to whatever size they want. The Galaxy Note 8 has already been praised for its great multitasking ability, and it'll be interesting to see how the Xperia Tablet Z performs when it's released next month.

Either way, future Surface Pro/RT editions are set to offer enhanced multitasking, while a heap of Android slates are going to come out featuring the same types of capabilities. If the iPad 5 and iPad mini 2 aim to keep Apple's grip on the market firm, then it's important they don't fall behind. 

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