[News] Microsoft Surface tablet available for pre-order

Image courtesy of Surface.com

Microsoft is forging a new path by announcing a device that features both their software and hardware – the Surface tablet.  The device would appear to be in direct competition with Apple’s iPad, as it features a 10.6 inch display and this size and form factor is dominated by Apple’s tablet.  The Surface is (from many reports) well designed and very pleasing to the eye, and how well it will fare with the consumer will likely depend more on the software than the look and feel of the device itself.  But first, what’s under the surface?

CNN reports specs that are fairly impressive:  Along with a Nvidia Tegra 3 CPU (which may be running at 1.5 GHz), Microsoft has stuffed an impressive 2 GB of RAM inside the Surface. It also features an 802.11N Mimo Wi-Fi radio, Bluetooth 4.0, an accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, dual microphones, stereo speakers, an HD-out port, a full-sized USB 2.0 port and a micro SD-slot. There are two 720p cameras (no 1080p); one on the front and one on the back.”  For a tablet that can/may double as a notebook PC, that’s nice.  What’s even nicer?  The price…the 32GB version starts at $499 (without the Touch Cover) and with a keyboard cover it will run you $599.  This represents a quality starting price point to allow Microsoft to compete with the iPads of the world, while still putting it squarely above the Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7 products.  But hey…both of these come with less screen real estate too so there’s that. 

Picture courtesy of Surface.com

Hardware aside however, the real differentiation here will be the introduction to the world at large of Windows 8, the operating system of Microsoft’s vision of the future.  Called Windows RT, this completely re-imagined software is a bridge between the desktop, laptop, and mobile versions of Windows.  With a look and feel that will be familiar to users of Windows Mobile phone devices, the interface features brightly colored “live tiles” that impart various pieces of information to the end user.  Whether or not it will have an appeal beyond those already using Windows Mobile remains to be seen…early reviews on the internet have been mixed.  In addition, one of the other “neat” features that will be debuted with the Surface is the Touch/Type Cover keyboards (as seen in the picture) which come in two versions, the ultra thin Touch Cover, and the full keyboard Type Cover.  The Touch Cover comes in a wide variety of colors to match your Surface, the Type Cover, sadly, comes only in black.   

Pre-ordered devices will be delivered by October 26, 2012 in some configurations.  Microsoft is hoping that the Surface pushes their Windows 8 brands forward into the mobile space – but for current Windows users who want to go mobile and keep their ecosystem intact, the Surface could be just what they are looking for.  

*Source(s):  Surface.comCNN.com 


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