Microsoft Unveils “Surface” Tablet Devices
Microsoft has just revealed their entry into the tablet market with ‘Surface’. Announced yesterday at a press conference in Los Angeles, the two devices are planned to launch alongside Windows 8 later this year, and are Microsoft’s first real push against the might of Apple’s iPad. The tablets are being branded as Microsoft, as even though there are numerous other companies in the Tablet PC market such as Intel and Samsung, the ‘Surface’ line is arguably being treated as more of a first party device, focusing on the experience and usability, rather than raw specs.
While not strictly gaming news, the potential for full PC titles on the go tailored to a mobile tablet experience could open a lot of potential for both current and future games. Imagine working on your game of Civilization V during the morning commute, or how about all those indie Steam games you’ve never gotten around to playing.
The ‘Surface’ name isn’t new by any means, as Microsoft previously used this branding to describe their table computer systems (now PixelSense), designed more for public venues and press events (thankfully these new tablets won’t be quite as awkward to throw in your backpack).
The tablets while aesthetically similar are in fact very different beasts on the inside. The Windows RT tablet is aimed to compete in the current tablet market, featuring an ARM powered processor with a more limited version of the OS, where as the Windows 8 Pro device is more akin to a ultrabook or laptop, offering a 1080p screen, higher memory storage, alongside a fully featured version of the Windows 8 operating system. As well as being packaged with a stylus pen, it’ll also have USB 3.0 support and a MiniDisplayPort, unlike the lighter and smaller Windows RT edition. Look below for the full specifications.
Possibly one of the most distinctive aspects of the both devices, is in fact the cover that they come with. Snapping on via a similar method used by Apple’s iPad devices, this Touch and Type cover doubles as a full multitouch keyboard and touchpad. There’s also a kickstand on the back, meaning that it’ll be a very sturdy device to sit and type with no matter where you are.
Both systems will be sporting the new Metro interface that the PC version of Microsoft’s forthcoming update to Windows includes, to which the Xbox 360 recently followed suit.
It’s finally heating up in the Tablet market. Could Microsoft’s Surface devices finally be a true competitor to the iPad? Let us know what you think in the comments.
Microsoft Announces Surface: New Family of PCs for Windows
Microsoft-made hardware to be available starting with release of Windows 8 and Windows RT.
LOS ANGELES – June 18, 2012 – Today at an event in Hollywood, Microsoft unveiled Surface: PCs built to be the ultimate stage for Windows. Company executives showed two Windows tablets and accessories that feature significant advances in industrial design and attention to detail. Surface is designed to seamlessly transition between consumption and creation, without compromise. It delivers the power of amazing software with Windows and the feel of premium hardware in one exciting experience.
Advances in Industrial Design
Conceived, designed and engineered entirely by Microsoft employees, and building on the company’s 30-year history manufacturing hardware, Surface represents a unique vision for the seamless expression of entertainment and creativity. Extensive investment in industrial design and real user experience includes the following highlights:
Software takes center stage: Surface sports a full-sized USB port and a 16:9 aspect ratio – the industry standard for HD. It has edges angled at 22 degrees, a natural position for the PC at rest or in active use, letting the hardware fade into the background and the software stand out.
VaporMg: The casing of Surface is created using a unique approach called VaporMg (pronounced Vapor-Mag), a combination of material selection and process to mold metal and deposit particles that creates a finish akin to a luxury watch. Starting with magnesium, parts can be molded as thin as .65 mm, thinner than the typical credit card, to create a product that is thin, light and rigid/strong.
Integrated Kickstand: The unique VaporMg approach also enables a built-in kickstand that lets you transition Surface from active use to passive consumption – watching a movie or even using the HD front- or rear-facing video cameras. The kickstand is there when needed, and disappears when not in use, with no extra weight or thickness.
Touch Cover: The 3 mm Touch Cover represents a step forward in human-computer interface. Using a unique pressure-sensitive technology, Touch Cover senses keystrokes as gestures, enabling you to touch type significantly faster than with an on-screen keyboard. It will be available in a selection of vibrant colors. Touch Cover clicks into Surface via a built-in magnetic connector, forming a natural spine like you find on a book, and works as a protective cover. You can also click in a 5 mm-thin Type Cover that adds moving keys for a more traditional typing feel.
An Amazing Windows Experience
Two models of Surface will be available: one running an ARM processor featuring Windows RT, and one with a third-generation Intel Core processor featuring Windows 8 Pro. From the fast and fluid interface, to the ease of connecting you to the people, information and apps that users care about most, Surface will be a premium way to experience all that Windows has to offer. Surface for Windows RT will release with the general availability of Windows 8, and the Windows 8 Pro model will be available about 90 days later. Both will be sold in the Microsoft Store locations in the U.S. and available through select online Microsoft Stores.
Contributing to an Expanded Ecosystem
One of the strengths of Windows is its extensive ecosystem of software and hardware partners, delivering selection and choice that makes a customer’s Windows experience uniquely their own. This continues with Surface. Microsoft is delivering a unique contribution to an already strong and growing ecosystem of functional and stylish devices delivered by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to bring the experience of Windows to consumers and businesses around the globe.
Additional Product Information
Surface for Windows RT
OS: Windows RT
Light(1): 676 g
Thin(2): 9.3 mm
Clear: 10.6″ ClearType HD Display
Energized: 31.5 W-h
Connected: microSD, USB 2.0, Micro HD Video, 2×2 MIMO antennae
Productive: Office ’15′ Apps, Touch Cover, Type Cover
Practical: VaporMg Case & Stand
Configurable: 32 GB, 64 GB
Surface for Windows 8 Pro
OS: Windows 8 Pro
Light(1): 903 g
Thin(2): 13.5 mm
Clear: 10.6″ ClearType Full HD Display
Energized: 42 W-h
Connected: microSDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort Video, 2×2 MIMO antennae
Productive: Touch Cover, Type Cover, Pen with Palm Block
Practical: VaporMg Case & Stand
Configurable: 64 GB, 128 GB
(1), (2). Actual size and weight of the device may vary due to configuration and manufacturing process.
Suggested retail pricing will be announced closer to availability and is expected to be competitive with a comparable ARM tablet or Intel Ultrabook-class PC. OEMs will have cost and feature parity on Windows 8 and Windows RT.
For more information about Surface, visit http://www.surface.com.