Proving all the speculations correct, Microsoft has unveiled its Surface Tablet at an event in Los Angeles. The Surface has some notable features including a full-sized USB port, a kickstand and 9.3mm thickness. It runs on an ARM processor and is housed in a magnesium alloy case. The new Windows 8-based Microsoft Surface tablets are designed for work and play and will come in two models: A Windows 8 RT version and a Windows 8 Pro model. These tablets from MS will use the same Windows 8 operating system as PCs and will come with built-in stand and keyboard to replicate experience of laptop.
CEO Steve Ballmer was on hand at a press conference in Los Angeles to announce the tablet, calling it part of a ‘whole new family of devices’ the company is developing. It’s anyone’s guess that the “Surface” tablet is designed to boost its new Windows 8 operating system and counter Apple’s hot-selling iPad. But can it become the ultimate Apple iPad alternative (killer)? Lets find out…
Microsoft Surface Tablet: Killer Features, Specs, USPs
Microsoft has so many assets to bring to its own hardware: Smartglass, a “Kinect camera,” Skype, Barnes & Noble Nook content, Microsoft Office (although that won’t be exclusive to Windows), just to name a few. While skeptics rightly criticize past Microsoft hardware failures like the Zune player, Xbox is a more recent example of resounding success.
Surface for Windows RT tablet
- Processor: NVIDIA Tegra-based ARM chip
- Weight: 676 grams
- Thickness: 9.3 millimeters
- Display: 10.6-inch ClearType HD capactive touchpanel
- Battery: 31.5Wh
- I/O: microSD, USB 2.0, Micro HD Video, 2×2 MIMO antennae
- Software: Windows RT + Office Home & Student 2013 RT
- Accessories: Touch Cover, Type Cover, VaporMg Case & Stand
- Capacity: 32GB / 64GB
- Availability: “Around” the Windows 8 launch (fall 2012)
- Pricing: To be determined
Surface for Windows 8 Pro tablet
- Processor: Intel Core i5 (Ivy Bridge)
- Weight: 903 grams
- Thickness: 13.5 millimeters
- Display: 10.6-inch ClearType Full HD (1080p) capactive touchpanel
- Battery: 42Wh
- I/O: microSDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort, 2×2 MIMO antennae
- Software: Windows 8 Pro
- Accessories: Touch Cover, Type Cover, VaporMg Case & Stand, Pen with Palm Block
- Capacity: 64GB / 128GB
- Availability: “Three months after” the Windows 8 launch this fall
- Pricing: To be determined
The 9.3mm thick device has a magnesium case, features a 10.6-inch HD widescreen display, an integrated kickstand and weighs less than a kilo (1.5lbs). The device comes with a detachable keyboard and trackpad that attach magnetically to the tablet. Microsoft also promised that the Surface’s price tag will be similar to the iPad, which sells for $499 to $829, depending on the model. Each tablet comes with a keyboard cover that is just 0.12 inches (3 millimeters) thick. The kickstand for both tablets was just 0.03 inches (0.7 millimeters) thick, which is slimmer than a credit card.
Because of these killer specs, Microsoft Surface tablets look like a serious competitor to Apple’s best-selling iPad but it’s success would largely depend on price and the apps available for the devices.
With the next generation of the Xbox “720” due out soon, Microsoft will have ample opportunity to bundle and promote the two products together and sell its tablets through the same consumer retail channels–although to start at least, the Surfaces will only be available at Microsoft Stores and online, which certainly limits adoption potential.
The Surface for Windows 8 Pro will be offered in 64GB and 128GB capacities, and a Surface Type cover with physical keys instead of a multitouch keyboard will also be available. The latter is also compatible with the Windows RT model. Microsoft’s Surface tablet supports both finger and stylus input, as well as 600 dpi “Digital Ink” for drawing, writing and marking up documents. The device also supports a “Touchcover” with an integrated keyboard. More information about the new Surface Tablet can be found on Microsoft’s website.
On the flip-side, Windows-based tablets of the past have always fallen short due to simply running out of gas in three to four hours, and today’s tablet expectations are far different than even a few years ago. Is it possible for a Windows 8 Pro tablet to last 6+ hours on a single charge? Only time will tell…