I love my gadgets. I’ve been buying up the latest toys for some time and am the target audience when it comes to products by Apple and now Microsoft. However, Apple has been doing this for a while and I’m invested now. What would it take for me to jump on a new platform (and what that really means is to invest in another set of applications)?

You tossed your records and cassettes for CDs. You tossed those VHS tapes and Laser Discs for DVDs. It’s tough to swallow and most don’t jump on such change without hesitation. Lately it’s been easier—you can get all your music in a digital format for your favorite player. You can play your old DVDs in your new 3D Blu-ray player. Media formats are one thing but applications are quite another.

I’m interested in Android, but being very happy with my iPhone and iPad have kept me from jumping in here. I’ve invested thousands in media and applications since I waited in that first line for the first iPhone. Unless Apple blew a couple of releases and let comparable devices get noticeably far ahead (which seems extremely unlikely) I just don’t see how I (or the millions like me) could seriously consider abandoning that investment for something completely new. I know the very same can be said for the millions of Android users—everyone is building a library of applications that serve to further solidify their mobile device choice on a regular basis.

The Microsoft Surface tablet looks awesome. I definitely want it, but what will I do with it? Maybe if there were a category of applications I could dedicate to it, I could convince myself there was some value in owning one. Even if you are a heavy Windows user with tons of Windows applications, Surface runs a new operating system that will mean building a completely new and separate library of applications. Microsoft intentionally lost money on the hardware that made up Xbox game consoles when they were first released in order to get its foot in the door of an established market. It worked, so I’m very much expecting them to play a similar game here. The only way to really suck people in will be to make it super cool AND cheap. And even then what they will be sucking up are new users entering the market as opposed to turning those that made the decision years ago. As a company, Microsoft is definitely in the game for the long haul and it may be years before they get a meaningful share of this space. I can see a day when there are millions of people using Windows 8 at work and are familiar enough with the Metro interface to be compelled to “stick with they know” and choose Microsoft. But that day seems both far away and uncertain.

Do you have an iPad or Android Tablet and an interest in Surface? I’d love to hear what others are thinking. Will you get one anyway? What role do you plan to assign this new device—another media player, game system or productivity device?