Microsoft unveils Windows 8-powered Surface tablets

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Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies. Twitter: @Joseph_Hanlon

Microsoft has revealed a range of self-branded Windows 8 tablets called Surface, at a media event in Los Angeles, California today.

The Surface tablet with a Touch Cover keyboard.
(Credit: Microsoft)

Two tablet variants have been announced; one running Windows RT on an Nvidia ARM processor and the other running on an Intel Core i5 system with Windows 8 Pro. Both devices have a 10.6-inch display with Corning Gorilla Glass 2. The RT version will ship with 32 and 64GB storage options, while the Pro model has 64 and 128GB options available.

Microsoft expects to release the Windows RT version of the Surface alongside the general release of the Windows 8 OS later in the year. The Windows 8 Pro tablet will be available 90 days later, according to Microsoft's press release.

A range of cover accessories, with built-in keyboards, were also shown at the launch event. Touch Cover is the slimmer option with a multi-touch keypad, while Type Cover is thicker and has mechanical keys and a trackpad. The Pro version also comes with a stylus digitiser for handwriting and features palm-blocking technology.

The tablets are Microsoft's first mass-market device in this category. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer began the presentation by speaking to the importance of hardware and software "pushing each other", showing a video clip of some of Microsoft's previous hardware releases, including the first Microsoft Mouse and the Kinect gaming peripheral for Xbox.

OS variant Windows RT Windows 8 Pro
Processor Nvidia ARM processor Intel Core i5
Weight 676 grams 903 grams
Depth 9.3mm 13.5mm
Connectivity microSD
USB 2.0
Micro HDMI
2x2 MIMO antennae
USB 3.0
Mini DisplayPort
2x2 MIMO antennae
Storage 32 or 64GB 64 or 128GB

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RhysV posted a comment   

Very interesting development from Microsoft, it might be enough to make Windows 8 popular with users... and that will be something sensation for Microsoft. I'm not convinced on Windows 8 yet, but in a primarily touch screen world it make sense... Check out more at -


Ray of Perth posted a comment   

What is this rubbish some people keep saying about anything other than Apple tablets and phones are fragile, supposedly because they are made of plastics and not metal. Actual wearability and drop tests will tell you the opposite. Plastic or polycarb or other reslient materials will absorb much of the possible impact damage, while metal enclosed phones and tablets, like Apple's tend to cause more damage when they impact solid materials. My "plastic" phone has been dropped onto concrete, fallen off the roof of the car onto asphalt, and still operates 100% - albeit with a little dent on the top. It's simple physics people!!


Will1505 posted a reply   

well worded :)


Forsvar posted a comment   

That's the sound of someone hitting the mark


n1kos posted a comment   

The keyboard, track pad, USB and pen input are what really drives the differentiation... I still think the iPad is well ahead of it. It looks fragile and plastic.


MotorMouth posted a reply   

Well, its not. Quite the opposite. It is metal, made from a new manufacturing process that is supposed to be highly resistant to scratching. The iPad is still lumbering along, doing exactly what Apple want it to do - leave you still requiring a proper computer so they can sell you both and then charge you to keep them synchronised. OTOH, MS are trying to provide you with a single device to perform both functions and making a pretty decent fist of it. But if you'd prefer to be ripped off by slick marketing, be my guest.


ei_samus posted a comment   

Looks surprisingly good, best hybrid design I've seen to date. A tablet design with the laptop functionality disguised as a cover that you would probably need anyway is genius and saves buying accessories.


GregP2 posted a comment   

Sure why not pay to be a beta tester for a new MS product :) or do the smart thing and wait for version 2.xx


MotorMouth posted a reply   

Yes, because tablets are so cutting edge that there are bound to be all kinds of unforeseen issues. Surely you can come up with something less lame than that?

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