Microsoft announces its own tablet, calls it "Surface"

Earlier at a press event in L.A., Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer unveiled their latest “œbig” 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 “œrigid” yet “œlight” and feels “œnatural” 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…..