Microsoft Surface tablet unveiled, iPad has a serious new rival
Microsoft has taken a dip into the tablet hardware market by unveiling two tablets. The Microsoft Surface RT tablet and Microsoft Surface for Windows 8 Pro tablet bring the features of Windows 8 to a first party Microsoft tablet in a pair of thin devices that if priced competitively could pose the iPad’s biggest threat yet.
First to be unveiled was the Microsoft Surface RT. The first of the new tablets on show is made from magnesium, weighs 676 grams, and is 9.3 mm thick, with edges beveled at 22 degrees for a better fit in the hand. The Microsoft Surface RT has a 10.6-inch HD 1366 x 768 pixel resolution Gorilla Glass display, to watch movies, browse the web, play games from the Windows Store, and more.
As rumoured, the new tablet will be powered by an ARM processor. The Surface RT uses an Nvidia Tegra-based ARM chip. You will be able to connect other devices to the Surface RT thanks to a USB 2.0 port. There’s also a microSD card to share photos and files without having to purchase an adapter as you would with the iPad.
The Microsoft Surface RT will be available this autumn, available in 32GB and 64GB versions.
Microsoft also unveiled its Surface for Windows 8 Pro Tablet – a slightly larger, more powerful alternative, with an Intel Core i5 Ivy Bridge processor and a Windows 8 experience optimised for the tablet.
Surface for Windows 8 Pro weighs 903 grams, is 13.5 mm thick, and has a 10.6-inch full HD 1080p capacitive touchscreen display. Like the Windows Surface RT, it also offers USB connectivity via a ISB 3.0 port, and a memory card reader.
Surface for Windows 8 Pro will be available to buy a few months after the Windows 8 launch this autumn in 64GB and 128GB variants.
Both tablets feature a built-in kickstand to prop them up when watching videos. Microsoft also unveiled its Type Cover – a cover that doubles up as a fold-out keyboard with tactile keys, and a trackpad – essentially transforming either tablet into a laptop. Digital pen capability will also let owners make notes on the display using digital ink to annotate the screen, and edit documents and pages in Windows Reader.
Both tablets will be compatible with Windows Store apps, and services such as Netflix. Unfortunately, Microsoft may have missed a trick by not unveiling the price of either, but with talk of Microsoft wanting to put a dent in the iPad’s market share, there’s every hope that at least one of the models will be cheaper than an entry-level iPad.
The Microsoft Surface RT and Microsoft Surface for Windows 8 tablet are expected to go on sale around October, so it looks like we’ve got a few months to ponder that next tablet purchase.