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!