Microsoft took the wraps off its long-awaited new tablet computer today. Make that two, both called Surface.
Both are built around a high definition 10.6 inch "optically bonded" (for extra clarity) screen. One model runs on Windows 8 Pro, suggesting good compatiibility with programs for Microsoft's new desktop/laptop OS. There's also an equally up-to-the-minute Intel Ivy Bridge Core i5 Processor driving the show, plus 64 or 128 GB of storage. Arriving three months after the launch of Windows 8 for PCs/laptops, these models of Surface will be priced in the same range as UltraBook-class laptops (now starting around $750.)
The other, slightly smaller and lighter Surface will introduce a mobile minded Windows RT operating system and uses the same breed of energy sipping ARM-based processors found in rival tablets and smartphones. It will arrive sooner than big bro, in 32 and 64 GB varieties, also packing an RT version of thr Office Home & Student suite and priced “competitively” with other tablets. So we’re guessing $600 and up. (See the specifications for both Surface tablets - PDF.)
Surface tablets share snazzy design elements like an all-magnesium enclosure and built-in stand. Coolest is the magnetically-connected cover that opens to reveal a fully functional keyboard and touchpad – shades of Microsoft’s pioneering “convertible” tablet which long pre-dated iPads. The more business-minded Windows 8 Surface even packs a stylus for optional use – unlike ye old Windows convertibles which demanded stylus use (a major shortcoming.)