Here’s the big news folks: Steve Ballmer hit the stage earlier this evening in Los Angeles to announce one of the biggest hardware innovations (if not the biggest) that Microsoft has ever created. It’s called the Surface tablet, and judging by some of the images we’re seeing, it looks VERY cool.
The first thing you notice about the Surface is its sleek, smooth, black interface. At first glance, it looks a lot more professional than the iPad, which is certainly a good market for Microsoft to go after.
The second thing you notice is that the screen transitions are incredibly smooth. While video of the event has yet to be released, Microsoft has posted information up on its website.
The Surface: a cover that turns into a keyboard – “Type Cover/TouchCover”
Up until this point in the keynote addresss, the Windows Surface tablet certainly looks cool, but here’s its killer feature: a cover that turns into a keyboard. You know the case that you see around tablets like the iPad and other tablet PCs? On the Surface, that cover will feature a real physical keyboard on which you can type. That means you don’t have to carry around an external keyboard and attach it whenever you need to use it.
It also looks like the Type Cover will feature a trackpad, which means that you don’t always have to drag a mouse around with you either. Awesome.
Colors and customization
Much like Windows 8 itself, the Windows Surface tablet looks like it will be completely customizable in terms of colors and customization. Since customization has been a clear goal of Windows 8 all along (after all, iPads aren’t very customizable), the Surface Tablet just reinforces that idea. Here’s a cool pink casing:
Bundled with Office – uses Windows RT
Since the Windows Surface tablet is bundled with Office, expect it to ship with Windows RT. This is Windows’ streamlined mobile operating system that will play a key role in the success or failure of Windows 8.
2 versions of the Surface tablet have been announced so far. One will use Windows RT, while the other will use the full version of Windows 8 Pro. Apparently each version will come with Office pre-installed, which is a nice little touch.
Top quality manufacturing
Gorilla Glass, VaporMG casing, and others round out the features column for the Windows 8 Surface Tablet in terms of manufacturing. The entire casing is incredibly thin and it really has to be seen to be believed.
Microsoft’s press conference all featured an in-depth description of the layers of technology that the Surface tablet uses. Rest assured that you’re looking at a high-quality, durable piece of equipment.
There will reportedly be a line of products under the ‘Surface’ name. One will feature Windows RT (the more lightweight, mobile version of the Windows 8 operating system), while the other will feature the full version of Windows 8 Pro.
Here are the technical specifications for each tablet:
Windows RT Surface Tablet Specs
-10.6” HD display
-MicroSD, USB 2.0, Micro HD
-Office Home & Student 2013 RT
-Includes Touch Cover and Type Cover
- VaporMG Case & Stand
-34GB, 64GB editions
Windows 8 Pro Surface Tablet Specs
-10.6” HD display reportedly featuring a full 1080p display (1920×1080 resolution!)
-MicroSDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort video, 2×2 MIMO antennae
-Touch Cover, Type Cover, Pen with Palm Block included
-VaporMG case and stand included
-64GB and 128GB models
Why is it called the Surface?
In the words of Microsoft, they called it the Surface because “It was important for Micrsoft to rise to the surface. Kinda lame, but kinda cute too.
Surface Tablet Price
No announcement yet on the price of either tablet. “Suggested retail price will be announced closer to release date” =(
They did say that it would be priced similarly to other ARM computers and Ultrabooks, so that could basically mean anywhere from $350 to $1300.
Since most people were hoping for a price that competes directly against the iPad (if not at a lower price point), this could be a major point of debate over the coming months.
Surface Tablet release date
Just like Windows 8 itself, there is no formal release date for the Windows Surface Tablet. However, we know that it probably won’t be released before Windows 8, and Microsoft won’t want to wait long after the Windows 8 release date to launch the Surface either.
So, expect to see the Surface sometime around October.