Today at an event held in Los Angeles, Microsoft announced a new series of devices designed to take on Apple’s tablet dominance with the iPad. The new tablet, called Surface, is an Xbox-focused slate that merges entertainment, gaming and high-definition output into a 7-inch tablet complete with optional, extremely thin, keyboard cover.
“Surface fulfills the dream of working anywhere,” Microsoft said of the 9.3-millimeter thick tablet, which includes a magnesium case that weighs less than 1.5 pounds. It also features an integrated stand to prop the device up while watching videos or typing on a Bluetooth keyboard and is powered by an Intel Ivy Bridge i5 processor for the Windows 8 Pro version and an Nvidia ARM processor for the Windows RT version.
Both Surface models feature a Gorilla Glass 2 screen and include a magnetic connector to hold a case, like the one with the keyboard. It will ship with several popular Microsoft apps, including Xbox live, and will also include a Netflix app as well. In addition, the Surface has USB 2.0 and HDMI-out as well as rear and front-facing cameras.
The Windows 8 Pro Surface tablet supports both finger and stylus input, as well as 600 dpi “Digital Ink” for drawing, writing and marking documents. The device also supports a “Touchcover” with an integrated keyboard.
“This was built as a stage for Windows 8,” Microsoft’s Panos Panay said while on stage at the press conference. “It was important that we have hardware fade to the background so Windows 8 can come to the surface.”
Two Surface tablets will be available at launch, one running Windows 8 Pro and one running Windows RT, and pricing will be “like comparable tablets based on ARM” for the RT model, and in line with Ultrabooks for the Windows 8 Pro version. The Windows RT model will be available with either 32GB or 64GB of storage, and the Windows 8 Pro model will come with either 64GB or 128GB of storage.
Nice job Microsoft. You just might have something here.