After long-winded predictions and speculations from critics and fans alike, Microsoft has announced its new line of Surface tablets that will be running Windows 8.
As the company began to unveil more information about its upcoming operating system, it's no surprise that a tablet device is in the works. Microsoft made the announcement at its press event on June 18, giving audiences a taste of just what a Microsoft-made tablet can do.
Surface Comes In Two Flavors
The tablet will be available in two different versions. One is powered by a NVidia Tegra processor running Windows RT, which is the model that was showcased at the event. This means that it comes equipped with an ARM CPU, making this Microsoft's first OS designed for ARM-based chips. There's also a professional edition available for content creators that uses an Intel Core i5 chip and runs on an x86-optimized version of Windows 8 for mobile devices.
Body, Design and Display
Technology website, the Verge, got its hands on Microsoft's forthcoming device, describing it as featuring a polished and light body. The 10.6-inch, 16:9 display was also an impressive addition, boasting a crystal clear image from all angles. Microsoft's Steve Sinofsky, one of the team members responsible for designing the tablet, said that the edges are beveled 22 degrees away, according to PC Mag. Weighing in at less than 1.5 pounds, the tablet is composed of a magnesium composite that Microsoft has referred to as VaporMg. The professional model will be will be just a bit thicker than the RT at 13.5 mm. This will weigh 903 grams, said PC Mag, and these larger dimensions will accommodate the powerful Core i5 processor. This processor will be cooled through a variety of peripheral vents, Sinofsky assures. The Microsoft executive guaranteed that users will not be bothered by hot air being emitted from the device.
Keyboards, Kickstands and Accessories
Microsoft seemed eager to show off the new keyboards it will be selling, reported the Verge. One option is the TypeCover, which is designed to replicate a full-size keyboard. These new tablets will also include a kickstand, which enables the device to sit upright like a monitor making it easier for users to view content. This appendage magically fades into the tablet when not in use, executives said, according to PC Mag. This combined with the Type Cover allows Surface-owners to simulate the laptop experience with their Windows 8 tablet. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer also said that the company intends to work with OEMs, although it does have a tendency to design its own hardware to show off the best designs. Ballmer cited the Microsoft Mouse, the company's own keyboard and the Xbox gaming console and Kinect add-on as examples. The 3 mm TouchCover, not to be confused with the TypeCover, is also an interesting addition to the Microsoft device. This snaps directly on to the tablet and turns blue when connected. A thicker 5 mm TouchCover will also be available for a more natural typing feel.
Memory and Battery Life
Surface for RT will be available in 32 GB and 64 GB models and priced at a rate comparable to other tablets, Microsoft indicated. The professional version will be available in 64 BG and 128 GB, with prices similar to those of Windows-based ultrabooks. This edition of Surface will also include a massive battery sporting 42 Watt-hours in total capacity. The RT, in comparison, is 31.5 W-h. Both professional and RT will also include an external HDMI port.
The Windows 8 Tablet We've Been Expecting
Ever since Microsoft began to reveal information about Windows 8, the idea of a tablet was inevitable. The upcoming operating system has been said to cater to mobile devices, taking the Metro interface introduced in Windows 7 to an entirely new level. Surface for Windows 8 Pro will also support digital inking, according to Sinofsky. This will allow users of the professional device to add high-resolution markups to Windows 8 software from Autodesk and other vendors.
The Microsoft Surface tablet is said to make its debut in the fall close to the holiday season following the launch of Windows 8. The professional version of the tablet will be available a couple of months later. Microsoft will have some stiff competition to face against Apple iOS and Android competitors, but the Surface certainly seems to boast some alluring features that should have rivals on the watch.