Microsoft Announces Surface, Their New Line Of Tablets

by Damian on June 19, 2012 · 8 comments

in News

Anyone who has followed my tech ramblings knows I have been anxiously waiting for a legitimate Windows tablet. I know there are a handful of Windows 7 tablets out there, but between the price and limitations it is not exactly what I had in mind. Well, as the official launch of Windows 8 approaches it looks like the Windows tablet picture is getting a little more clear. Yesterday, Microsoft surprisingly announced their upcoming line of Windows 8 tablets called “Surface”. The tablet will be broken up into two iterations. The first will be an NVIDIA Tegra-based ARM chip tablet running Windows RT O/S and the second tablet will come with an Intel Ivy Bridge CPU running Windows 8 Pro O/S.

Both versions of the Surface will come with a 10.6″ screen, and a kickstand attached at the back (as seen below)

One interesting feature, the Surface will come bundled with a magnetic cover called the Touch Cover (similar to the iPad cover), but the main difference being a keyboard is built into the cover.

Aside from that there doesn’t appear to be a whole lot of information. Pricing has not been announced with Microsoft only saying that “pricing for Surface for Windows RT will be on par with other Windows RT tablets,” and “pricing for Surface for Windows 8 Pro will be on par with Ultrabook-grade laptops”. Availability of the RT tablets is expected around Windows 8 launch and the W8 Pro tablets at some point after (get the drift, rather vague statements). No word on battery life (which will be critical for many). I also find it quite interesting that the more expensive W8 Pro tablet does not come with MS Office preloaded, where as the RT tablets do.

Now naturally just about every news source somehow had to tie the announcement of the Surface to whether or not it will be an iPad killer. First off, why does it have to be an iPad killer to be successful? Who says the market isn’t big enough to successfully support several iterations of tablets? Secondly, in my opinion, comparing the Surface to the iPad is like comparing Apples to Oranges. The Surface runs a full fledged O/S, which for someone like myself is perfect since I would want a tablet that could legitimately replace my laptop. I would gladly dump my Android and iOS tablets for something like this.

Another interesting point that has been brought up is whether Microsoft is setting itself up for failure by essentially going after the OEMs that they have always relied on. I look at it as a good thing, the more choices for the consumer the better, and who knows, it may serve as a nice kick in the ass for some of the OEMs.

Hopefully this is the step in the right direction of finally bridging the gap between tablet and PC, but only time will tell. Personally, I am more interested in the ASUS Tablet 810, which similar to the Asus Transformer tablet that I use daily, has a keyboard that the tablet actually docks in to (much more practical for using as a laptop on your lap as well as doubling over as an additional power source).

So what do you think, is this something you are looking forward to, or do you think this is too little too late for Microsoft in the tablet arena?

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Hi, my name is Damian, and I'm tech gadget addict! Although I always had some interest in technology, it wasn't until I got my EX470 and more importantly found, that my interest became an addiction. My goal, aside from world domination and to see the Mets/Broncos win another championship, is to set up the perfect digital home where all my media is available at the click of a button. When I am not writing for you can find me over at my blog at or follow me on twitter


Jim June 19, 2012 at 12:36 pm

I like it…I have questions about battery life and LTE/3G…but this is a cool tablet. Hmmm….

Damian June 19, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Jim, you know I was waiting for you to be the first response :D

You own the Asus W7 tablet if I recall, correct? I would imagine if you could get a W8 version that is more powerful, lighter, and better battery life, that would kick ass!

Jim July 4, 2012 at 11:07 am

Sorry for being so late in responding…got busy at work and forgot about you! Sorry! Yes, I use a Windows 7 tablet as a daily driver laptop and really like it. However, the touch layer sometimes freezes and otherwise Windows 7 with touch is not a perfect experience. Good enough, but really a better experience is possible. If the Surface Pro get 9 hours of battery life, can run Office and Media Center (via a networked tuner) and offers an LTE/GSM option with world roaming, then I’ll take the plunge and probably will retire my iPad gen 1. If not, I’ll keep looking at options. Either way, you’ll see me in the Oak Brook, IL store shortly after launch to play with what they release!

Comp1962 June 19, 2012 at 7:35 pm

I saw the folks at CNet discussing this when Microsoft was introducing it. It looks interesting and I can’t wait to see one first hand. Personally I hate it when people talk about devices being killers of other devices. I have been contemplating purchasing an Ultrabook towards the end of the year but who knows maybe this new device may offer me an alternative but time will tell.

I have yet to play with Windows 8 so maybe I need to build a test rig for it to see if its something I might like to run or not because I just have no clue nor much motivation unlike when Win 7 was being developed.

Pafsanias June 20, 2012 at 2:24 am

I definitely think Microsoft is at the right path this time. I like the idea of the magnetic cover that doubles as a keyboard. You also make a good point about battery life. It is really a critical aspect.

I would like to make an additional point from a developer’s perspective. One of the reasons Apple had such a great success with their ecosystem, is that they made 3rd party development comfortable, by keeping iOS versions fully backwards compatible and keeping the same screen resolution across different hardware versions. Even when they did change the resolution, they did it with developers in mind. That allowed for great, pixel-exact user interfaces that wouldn’t be possible if having to support all kinds of different resolutions (see Android).

Of course Apple designs and produces all iOS hardware themselves, which Microsoft doesn’t. What I think Microsoft should do, is define some key specs for all manufacturers to respect, at least with their WinRT iteration.

George Solanakis June 21, 2012 at 7:02 am

Finally!! a tablet for worthy of my high demands!!
OnBoard microSDXC,USB3.0 and Display Port!! Nice!!!

It took Microsoft to come to the table!! Not Samsung, not Asus, not Acer….
No hidden catches like usb and hdmi on keyboard dock!! no extra cost!!

I hope its under $600 though….. Price might be the only let down..

George Solanakis June 21, 2012 at 7:04 am

I meant to say: a tablet worthy of my high demands!!

AT3G September 2, 2012 at 7:58 pm

Glad you mentioned the iPad killer comment. 2 things, though, strangely this hardware is from Redmond, Apple and Microsoft aren’t any where the competition that a Sony is. Second, there are no markets in the world where “there can only be one.” There are inferior/discount products and the others.The device you choose should be the one that does more of what you want or makes your life a little more easy. And, sorry teenage girls and screenplay “writers” currently working out of the Starbucks office, you guys can get the one that when seen by others create the emotion in them desired.

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