Microsoft announces its own tablet, calls it "Surface"

Earlier at a press event in L.A., Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer unveiled their latest “big” device that will hit the market. A 10-inch tablet they call Surface.

microsoft surface

I find it surprising that Microsoft is now entering the hardware computing space when they’ve only been doing peripherals before, since they already have a long list of big brands to handle hardware development. Having the Surface PC will compete not only with Apple’s iPad but with other upcoming Windows 8 tablets as well.

Anyway, the Surface is here and Microsoft is showing the world how a Windows tablet should be made. There are two Microsoft Surface PC versions, an Intel-based tablet running on Windows 8 Pro and one based on the ARM chipset with Windows 8 RT.

microsoft surface kickstand

Both tablets have a 10.6-inch Gorilla Glass 2 display and a vapor-deposited (PVD) magnesium chassis with a built-in kickstand. Microsoft describes it as being “rigid” yet “light” and feels “natural” when handling. There’s not much difference between the two in terms of design, just the physical size and weight of the device.

Here’s a specs comparison between the two models.

  Surface for Windows 8 Pro Surface for Windows 8 RT
OS Windows 8 Pro Windows 8 RT
Screen 10.6" 1920×1080 10.6" 1366×768
Processor Intel Core i5 Ivy Bridge ARM-based Nvida
Storage 64GB, 128GB 32GB, 64GB
Thickness 13.5mm (0.53") 9.3mm (0.36")
Weight 903g (1.99lbs) 676g (1.49lbs)
Battery 42Wh 31.5Wh
Connectivity microSDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort Video, 2×2 MIMO antennae microSD, USB 2.0, Micro HD Video, 2×2 MIMO antennae
Pen support Yes No
Accessories Touch Cover, Type Cove Touch Cover, Type Cover
Est. Price ~$800+ ~$400-$600

A thing of note for those who are thinking about Windows 8 RT version and its ARM-based tablet. It’s similar to Android tablets in a way that it’s not a full-blown version of Windows 8. You can’t freely install your applications and games like you would on an Intel-based tablet running Windows 8. To make things simple, it’s like Apple’s iOS vs their Mac OS X.

microsoft touch type covers

Accessories initially available for the Surface include a Touch Cover which is very similar to the magnetic Smart Cover of Apple, but this one has a touch keyboard and touchpad on the inside as well. Type Cover on the other hand is a cover with depressable a keyboard.

As for availability, the Windows RT tablet will ship around the same time that Microsoft releases Windows 8 (expected in October), while the Intel-based Pro tablet will arrive about three months later.

  • Griswold

    I’m more interested on the ecosystem for their tablet. i would assume magwork yung mga regular wireless mouse/keyboards/headset with it pati mga usb dongles. pero what good are regular windows apps if it’s not made for the touchscreen. kelangan pa magmature yung apps for tablets ng windows.

    • Andrei

      Many Windows applications are already supporting touchscreen input ever since we were still in the capacitive era. Windows 8 will greatly open this market to a wider range of consumers. But yea, it’s still in its early stages, so we’ll need to see how it goes.

  • Ric

    Well, this is MS giving the big, fat middle finger to the other OEMs and saying “this is how you should make hardware intended for our software, b****es!”. Hahaha.

    It looks promising but only time will tell if developers will flock to Windows 8. If successful, I think the Windows 8 Pro could very well replace the work laptops of most enterprises, which to me is cool. 😀

  • JmBalicano

    I’m interested in how that keyboard handles. If there’s hardly any difference between typing on it or a touchscreen, I’d say it’s a fail. Still, I’ve always found the WIndows/PC platform to be a more productive one than an Android tablet.

    • Andrei

      I guess the Touch Cover would give the same experience as writing in a touchscreen with little to no tactile feedback. The Type Cover however, might provide a better tactile response. We’ll see how it goes if we ever get our hands on it. 😀

  • simplynice93

    We’ll be waiting for a full review on this new device..

    • Andrei

      Microsoft *ehem ehem* readers are waiting. Hoho. :))

  • joey

    epic fail…..