Right now in Los Angeles, curiously late in the evening, Microsoft is showing off its very first modern (read: post-iPad) tablet. The family will be called the Surface, the same as its conceptually-cool-but-practically-impractical tabletop touch computer. It's actually a very interesting product--the capabilities of a full PC, but thanks to Microsoft's dual-natured, touch-focused Windows 8, it works like a regular tablet as well. Here's what we know. [UPDATING]
The first Surface Microsoft showed is a 10.6-inch tablet (the screen is Gorilla Glass, and is a 16:9 ratio, like laptop screens and Android tablets but unlike the iPad), a bit bigger than the 9.7-inch iPad, made of magnesium "liquid metal." This one, made for consumers and more mobile types, will run Windows RT. It'll weigh 1.5 pounds, a little more than the new iPad's 1.44, though at 9.3mm thick, it is a whopping zero-point-one millimeters thinner. It's got a full-sized USB port, storage of either 32GB or 64GB, and one of the coolest things we've seen so far is the case. It's got a built-in magnetic stand, like the iPad's Smart Cover, but it also has a suuuuper thin keyboard with multitouch keys on it. The keyboard sounds kind of awesome! It has sensors so it can tell how much force you're using on the keyboard, which lets you rest your fingers on it without triggering a key. Really cool! (If you want real, tactile keys, there's another, slightly less thin cover that offers that.)
A second one, just shown, is for "professionals"--apparently it has a much more impressive spec list, "rivaling that of the best ultrabooks," and will use Windows 8 Professional. That means Ivy Bridge processors, USB 3.0, and a storage capacity of 64GB and 128GB. Unfortunately, it also means bigger and heavier--a 13.5mm thickness, and a 1.9-pound weight, which is pretty heft. It's got stylus or pen input, surprisingly! But luckily it also has two separate sensors, so you don't have to worry about your hand resting on the screen and registering--when it senses the pen, it'll stop sensing your hand.
What's curious is that Microsoft has long been reliant on hardware partners--HP, Dell, Lenovo, Acer, the list goes on probably forever--but in recent years, the company's been getting just worked by Apple in the ultraportable area. Not talking about just the iPad; there's also no real competitor to the MacBook Air, which is the whole reason for the "Ultrabook" movement/PR bonanza. The Surface looks like it might serve both those niches at once, and better than any of Microsoft's partners (who, of course, could have made this--they just haven't).
What about price and release date? Well, we have no idea. Microsoft said both models will be priced "to compete," which means probably in the same ballpark as the iPad's prices. No word on mobile wireless (like 3G or 4G) yet. No word on release date.
In the future, my printer will print out flat computers pieces of paper (touch computer screen and touch board keys), of which I will hand out to my guests, prior to giving my power point presentation. ;)
Oh, the computer in this article is very cool too!
"a little more than the new iPad's 1.44, though at 9.3mm thick, it is a whopping zero-point-one millimeters thinner.”
A whopping 0.1 millimeter? Is that sarcasm, or are you actually trying to paint that as impressive?
And who the hell puts gorilla glass in a computer screen? I’ve said this before, tablet computers don’t get put in pockets alongside keys and dust. Neither do laptops. It’s a pointless bauble that does nothing.
This is what I've been saying for years since Apple introduced the iPad. The iPad is useless for power users and advanced programmers, as well as technically advanced guys - like me :-)
This is the right direction for a tablet. A mix of a full OS/Tablet OS with touch capabilities - I can run Microsoft Access, VPN, SQL Queries, Access intranet Servers, RDC, Adobe CS6 . . . the works. I could do some real work on this. Only thing I would like is a 15" version - if they could put a 15" version together I will replace my laptop and would not look back! . . . Maybe even my desktop.
Hope Apple is taking notice.
Gorilla glass protects your investment - a tablet is all about the screen. The iPad is basically an iPhone and a large screen. But as we all know, Apple's money making machine is all about letting consumers easily break their equipment. They'll never put gorilla glass on their tablets.
this makes the ipad look like a etch a sketch LOL
"You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes." -Morpheus
The iPad does use Gorilla Glass.
if this performs at the level its advertising then i will own 2. not one, 2. one for the wife, one for myself. real computing ability in a work tablet. add in the recent advancements by windows and apple will be in for a major battle.
This is interesting -- a tablet/ultra concept that allows for actual work.
But, we'll see. iPad sales numbers seem to say that a lot of people don't actually need computers (which I always thought).
So, are there enough business and geek types around to make this a success?
Would be nice if MS would do a better job on product names
"Surface", give me a break -- although it's no worse than "Zune"
I love the keyboard. I just hope MS remembers that the only ppl willing to pay $500+ on a tablet have already done so. If they can price this competitively, they just might have a big hit.
Having worked with Microsoft on the original Surface (the large table-top computer) project before it was announced to the public, I can personally say, if this new Surface is anything like the original, then this will be a smashing success for Microsoft. Especially if it supports the number of touch points the original Surface supported (52 points of contact). I absolutely loved playing with it and developing on it as it was a GREAT entertainment and functional piece of equipment.
I'm looking forward to seeing what the price will be and learning more about the specs. The original Surface was 12-14 grand; kind of out of the price range of most consumers. :)
In space, no one can hear a tree fall in the forest.
I'm waiting for a future where the computer is all inside a pair of 3D glasses and the glasses read my mind to know exactly what I want done--Internet, typing from my mind, drawing, etc. Now that would be interesting but nothing before that.
This new Microsoft table appears to be user friendly, fun and inviting. I am looking forward to testing one soon! ;)
I'm slowly coming around to Windows 8. At first I had it in my mind that I was staying with 7 till windows 9 came out, but seeing it so flawlessly integrated into a tablet really swayed my opinion of windows 8. I for one will definitely be buying the pro version when it's released.
I like this very much....
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The hardware is beautiful, and the design is as impressive as anything Apple could do, which is a very welcome surprise. I also love the optional keyboard; it combines the best of Apple's "smart" (read: magnetic) cover and Asus' Eee Pad Transformer android tablet's keyboard dock (minus, of course, the extra battery capacity). However, that said, I've heard reports that it won't actually run full windows; it'll run a Windows-designed mobile OS, that will require apps designed specifically for the mobile version. If that's the case, I'm afraid you can count me out unless I can modify it to run Android; I'm just not interested in supporting a third competitor in the mobile application market. However, if it runs either full Windows 8 or can be modified to run Android, this is an honestly revolutionary product that I would be hard-pressed to find an excuse not to own.
MS is not known for cool names. eg. Zune, Word, Office, Bing, Works.
But they did have one cool one. "Sidewinder".
Arent you glad Bill didn't call it "Joystick"?
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