Keyboard sleeve, RT or Win 8, Intel or Nvidia
A few hours ago in Los Angeles, Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer has finally revealed what many have been rumored for a while, a Microsoft-built tablet.
It turns out that it was not born out of the Barns & Noble coop deal and that it won’t be much of a Google Nexus tablet competitor. Microsoft has announced two version of the tablet simply called Surface and they are nothing like the upcoming Nexus.
The lighter and thinner version is based on ARM and runs Windows RT. It is 9.3mm thin (0.36 inches), weighs 676 grams (1.49 pounds) and it has a 10.6-inch display. We are probably looking at a 16:9 display, but other than the fact that it’s using a Clear Type HD display Microsoft is not telling us much more.
As for the second, Intel based model the spec clearly says to expect a Full HD display and on ARM Windows RT its stated it’s a HD display, hinting at 720p or similar resolutions. It is powered by a 31.5Wh battery, has micro SD, USB 2.0, Micro HD Video and 2x2 MIMO antennae. It comes in 32GB and 64GB version and for productivity it packs Office Home and Student 2013 RT. Microsoft also developed an interesting cover, dubbed the Touch Cover, but it’s not clear whether it will simply ship with the tablet and it seems more likely that you will have to buy one of them separately.
Microsoft is not saying what kind of ARM processor is inside the RT version, but various media are reporting that we are looking at a Tegra 3 based tablet. The fun part is the detachable keyboard cover that looks thin and useful. Surface with RT Windows should ship with the introduction of Windows 8, so expect to see it in October time to market. Redmond didn’t discuss the pricing at all at this time. It also supports VaporMG case and stand.
The second Surface is based on Windows 8 Pro and Intel Core i5 processor and weighs 903 grams (1.99 pounds). It is 13.5 mm (0.53 inch) thick and comes with a bigger 42Wh battery. It has the same size display 10.6-inch ClearType display, but in full HD.
The Pro version supports microSDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort video, 2x2 MIMO antennae as well as VaporMG case and stand. It comes in 64GB and 128GB capacities and for productivity types you can expect the touch cover, type cover, pen with palm block support and we are assuming that the plain Office 2013 installs just fine. This version apparently comes three months after the Windows 8 launch, so there is a big chance of seeing it at the CES 2013, or around that time in January 2013 if not February at Mobile World congress 2013.
The most interesting part was that press invited to the event were not able to play with the devices or even physically touch them, which definitely indicates that they are still far from launch. Microsoft a lot of time to polish its new tablets before October, but still we expect that at least a few privileged colleagues might have a chance to actually touch it. Instead, the press managed to take some videos from a few feet distance, but never, ever, ever, was able to touch Microsoft’s new tablets, not even for a second.