Microsoft ended hours of speculation Monday by announcing Surface by Microsoft, new Windows 8 tablets the company will develop and manufacture on its own. The device is being introduced in two models, one for Windows RT and one for Windows 8 Pro, and they will be released starting later in 2012.
Surface for Windows RT
The company made the announcement in Los Angeles on Monday evening in a media event that borrowed several techniques in Apple’s arsenal. Microsoft didn’t tell reporters what would be announced ahead of time, fueling much speculation in the tech blogosphere, and Big Redmond did Apple one better by even hiding where in LA the event would take place until a few hours before it began.
Both models are the embodiment of Microsoft’s stated belief that media tablets should be extensions of the PC and be able to run the same software as a PC. Windows 8 (Windows RT is a Windows 8 variant) and the Metro interface are the company’s attempt to bridge the two paradigms.
Surface for Windows 8 Pro - This slinky black affair comes with a matching pink keyboard…
Surface for Windows RT is 9.3mm (0.37 inches) thick, and it weighs 676 grams (1.49 pounds). Surface for Windows 8 Pro is heftier, at 13.5mm thick (0.53 inches), with a weight of 903 grams (1.99 pounds). In comparison, Apple’s iPad is 9.4mm (0.37 inches) thick, and it weighs 652 grams (1.44 pounds).
The smaller model will be powered by an ARM processor made by Nvidia, while the Windows 8 Pro model will run an Intel processor. Both versions will feature a—and we’re not making this up—“VaporMG” shell made of magnesium. Microsoft said it will be made using a vapor deposition processor.
Surface for Windows RT will come with either 32GB or 64GB of storage, while the larger model will come with 64GB or 128GB of storage.
The display on both models is 10.6 inches, but the screen on the Windows RT is described as a “ClearType HD Display,” while the Windows 8 Pro model features a, “ClearType Full HD Display.”
Microsoft said that it will be releasing Surface for Windows RT when that OS is released later this year. The company didn’t specify pricing, but said it would be priced similarly to other ARM-based media tablet on the market.
Surface for Windows 8 Pro will be released roughly three months later, with pricing more in line with so-called “ultrabooks,” which means it will be competing more with MacBook Air than iPad.
Windows 8 Pro
10.6” ClearType HD Display
10.6” ClearType Full HD Display
microSD, USB 2.0, Micro HD Video, 2x2 MIMO antennae
microSDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort Video, 2x2 MIMO antennae
Office Home & Student 2013 RT, Touch Cover, Type Cover
Touch Cover, Type Cover, Pen with Palm Block
VaporMg Case & Stand
VaporMg Case & Stand
32 GB, 64 GB
64 GB, 128 GB
1, 2 Actual size and weight of the device may vary due to configuration and manufacturing process