Microsoft unveils Surface line of Windows 8 tablets

Microsoft Surface tablet

Microsoft announced Surface, a line of Windows 8 tablets tonight at the “big event” everyone’s been talking about. The two models are similar to the company’s strategy for different versions of Windows — there’s a Windows RT-based tablet for mainstream consumers and a professional tablet for users with higher-end needs.

Both tablets feature a 10.6-inch ClearType HD display. They’re designed with what Microsoft is calling VaporMg, a “combination of material selection and process to mold metal and deposit particles that creates a finish akin to a luxury watch.” They also have built-in kickstands and a Touch Cover that folds out to expose a keyboard. In this form factor, the tablets essentially become tablet/laptop hybrids.

The Windows RT-based tablet is thinner and lighter than its bigger brother at 676g and 9.3mm thick versus 903g and 13.5mm for the Pro model. Both have a 64GB storage option, with the RT tablet offering a lower 32GB option and the Pro tablet offering a higher 128GB option. The Pro also comes with a stylus pen that magnetically attaches to the side of the device.

Ports include microSD and USB — 2.0 on the lower-end tablet and 3.0 for the big guy.

In what is an unusual move for Microsoft, the company has chosen to design both the hardware and software instead of just the latter, stating that when hardware and software is combined and controlled under one company, the experience is often better for the end user. (Sound familiar?) It also managed to integrate most of what are usually accessories sold separately: a cover, a stand, and a pen.

Pricing and availability of the Surface tablets aren’t being announced tonight, but Microsoft says pricing “is expected to be competitive with a comparable ARM tablet or Intel Ultrabook-class PC.” They’ll only be available at Microsoft retail stores and online at microsoft.com, which might not be to the company’s advantage in the long run.

What do you think of the Microsoft Surface? Do you plan on buying one? Weigh in with your comments below!

[via Microsoft]

  • Gregory C Newman

    wow what a development People say if a company will not commit itself to a product that Product will not succeed. Microsoft Has committed itself to producing Tablet computer technology and they have no choice but to do so. The Enterprise is Microsoft’s bread and butter and it wants a windows tablet that compliments it’s Windows software. the surface Pro will do that right out of the box and also run thousands upon thousands of business and entertainment programs that .were made to run on PC and Laptops from the year 2000 XP to windows 7 today Windows users I think finally will get the tablet Computer they wanted, the Apple and Android Fans already have theirs. As for. Which one will be the Best they all have their good and bad but at least us Windows user have something good enough to do the job  . I will buy an intel x86 CPU windows Tablet

  • Chizaram Ucheaga

    Thinking of selling my iPad to get this. Microsoft is back and I’m happy for them. This is wonderful news. Good writeup George.

    • http://www.twitter.com/gtinari George Tinari

      Why thank you :)

  • MVZ

    Another Zune in the making, who is taking bets on how long will this MS disaster last, no wonder they announced in LA at 3:30 PM PDT. Ms has lost their direction ever since Bill left in charge this incompetent fool!

  • http://www.addvalue.com.au/ caseymadison

    It will be interesting to see if a hardware ‘computer’ built by Microsoft can match the reliability of MacOS/iOS in the fashion Apple achieves with its total control of the hardware. People love to complain about Windows crashing etc but they forget Microsoft did not make the hardware. Windows is pretty darn rugged when you consider the number of PC makers out there. Apple only has on to deal with, themselves.

  • Bill Wayl

    Absolutely what the world needs: The portability and touch technology of the tablets combined with the power of a real laptop. Plus backward compatility with Windows software won’t hurt. It will be a hit! I’m getting one.

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