Microsoft has introduced ‘Surface’, a new 10.6-inch tablet with two different models designed and built by Microsoft. The technology/gaming giant ventures into the tablet market that will serve as a platform for its next generation Windows 8 operating system.
Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer demonstrated two versions of Surface at an event in Los Angeles: one running Windows RT and built around an ARM processor, and one running Windows 8 Pro and built around an Intel processor. Windows RT is the "Metro-only" version of the upcoming Windows 8, while Windows 8 Pro features Metro as well as the more familiar desktop look of Windows, with a Start bar and homescreen icons.
"It embodies hardware and software working together,” said, Ballmer, according to The Verge live blog of the announcement. It is one of the few times in company history that Microsoft engineered both the hardware and the software of a device, with the Surface joining the Zune MP3 player, Kin smartphone, and Xbox 360 gaming console.
The Type Cover has a keyboard and trackpad. The Touch Cover which will be available in five colors, including black, blue and hot pink with a thinner keyboard-cover and has an accelerometer to let the system know when it is folded back, to deactivate the keyboard.
Both the RT and Windows 8 Pro versions of the Surface family also feature front and rear webcams, dual microphones, and an integrated kickstand that lets the user prop the devices up to watch videos, play games or listen to music. Both configurations also come with a microSD card slot and a USB port.
Surface for Windows RT will be available in 32GB and 64GB models and priced in the range of "comparable" tablets, Microsoft said. The professional version will be available in 64GB and 128GB configurations, with prices in the range of Windows-based ultrabooks.
The Surface for Windows Pro 8 shares the same design principles as the RT Surface but is a bit thicker at 0.55 inches and weighs less than two pounds. It also has a 10.6-inch touchscreen but it supports pen input and digital ink, so you can use a stylus to mark up documents and jot down notes.
Finally, Surface will compete in a thriving tablet market against the best-selling Apple iPad and numerous Google Android tablets, many of which vary greatly in quality, capabilities, and price. We will have to wait and see whether Microsoft’s tablet will rise above or below the ‘Surface’.
April 22, 2013, 5:55 am UTC
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