Microsoft Surface

In a mysterious event organised in LA tonight, Microsoft has announced its own-branded super-slim tablet called Surface, taking its name from their popular prototype tablet of a couple of years ago. Microsoft already has upcoming tablets for Windows 8 and Windows RT operating systems from the likes of Acer, Samsung, Nokia, and more – but with Surface they are able to show off all the features they think are so important and to help compete against the Apple/iPad ecosystem directly.

The devices will be available in the Autumn and are packing some pretty features stats from the deliciously thin 9.3mm frame that still manages to fit two full size USB3 ports, to the feather-light 676g weight – and still with a 10.6″ HD display. They’ve put a 22 degree tilt on the bezel to make it more comfy to hold, and the devices come with built in stands and a 3mm think covers that offer a full multi-touch keyboard with trackpad making this an ultra-thin laptop that puts even the MacBook Air to shame. And they’ve built it out a new substance they’ve called Vapor MG, which seems to be some form of injection moulded magnesium.

Surface will be coming in two distinct flavours – 32GB and 64GB models running on ARM hardware and Windows RT, and then 64GB and 120GB models running Windows 8 Pro.

No details yet on price or exact release date, but these touches and additions are the sort of attention to detail that we expect from Apple – new materials, taking a new look at the angle of bezels to add comfort. This is both Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s iPad and the upcoming Android Nexus tablets, as well as taking a bite out of market for the MacBook Air and the Transformer Prime. This is a big deal.

Here are the key differences between the two flavours:

Surface for Windows RT tablet

  • Processor: NVIDIA-made ARM chip
  • Weight: 676 grams
  • Thickness: 9.3 millimeters
  • Display: 10.6-inch ClearType HD capactive touchapenl
  • Battery: 31.5Wh
  • I/O: microSD, USB 2.0, Micro HD Video, 2×2 MIMO antennae
  • Software: Windows RT + Office Home & Student 2013 RT
  • Accessories: Touch Cover, Type Cover, VaporMg Case & Stand
  • Capacity: 32GB / 64GB
  • Availability: “Around” the Windows 8 launch (Autumn 2012)
  • Pricing: To be determined

Surface for Windows 8 Pro

  • Processor: Intel Core i5 (Ivy Bridge)
  • Weight: 903 grams
  • Thickness: 13.5 millimeters
  • Display: 10.6-inch ClearType Full HD (1080p) capactive touchapenl
  • Battery: 42Wh
  • I/O: microSDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort, 2×2 MIMO antennae
  • Software: Windows 8 Pro
  • Accessories: Touch Cover, Type Cover, VaporMg Case & Stand, Pen with Palm Block
  • Capacity: 64GB / 128GB
  • Availability: “Three months after” the Windows 8 launch this Autumn
  • Pricing: To be determined

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