Microsoft unveils Surface tablets PDF Print E-mail

Two new tablet computers have come to the Surface, and opinions seem to be that this offering by Microsoft could at last be a decent rival to push Apple’s iPad from its pedestal of popularity.

The two Surface tablets were unveiled by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at a press conference in Hollywood, California last night. One version is thinner than Apple’s iPad but both versions contain something else that the iPad lacks: USB ports.

The two 10.6-inch Surface tablets have both been designed to run on Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 Operating System. This might make it easier for Surface users to transition from that device to their desktop PCs and their laptops.

In fact, Steven Sinofsky, President of Microsoft’s Windows division, calls the device “a tablet that’s a great PC – a PC that’s a great tablet.”

This was echoed by Ballmer who says that the tablets are actual PCs. “The Surface is a PC, a tablet, and a new experience.”

The two Surface tablets will be sold with two versions of innovative, attachable Touch Covers that double as keyboards. These built-in yet removable keyboards/covers and kickstands to help hold the Surface upright will turn the device into more of a laptop – which is bound to heighten its appeal to especially business users – and help users to easily transition between touch and type.

The one Surface offering is 9.3mm thick, uses the RT version of Windows, runs on ARM chips, boasts a 10.6-inch ClearType HD Display, weighs in at 676 grams, have a USB 2.0, and will reportedly be available in 32GB or 64GB versions. Although Microsoft kept mum on pricing, it is expected that this version will be comparatively priced to Windows RT tablets from other manufacturers.

The second Surface will run on Windows 8 Pro and use Intel’s X86 chips. It will be slightly thicker than the Windows RT edition at 13.5mm, and weigh 903 grams. It has a 10.6-inch ClearType Full HD Display and a USB 3.0 port. This version, which will ship three months later, will be available in 65GB or 128GB and will reportedly be around the same price as ultra portable PCs. To view full side-by-side specs on both models, visit Microsoft’s website.

According to a statement released by Microsoft, the Surface will become available when Windows 8 ships later this year.

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