The mystery event that Microsoft had planned for today is over now. Today, Microsoft has blown away everyone’s mind with this new, fresh, attractive and smart line of products called Microsoft Surface. You will be able to find more information about it at the corresponding Microsoft website [HERE]. Microsoft Surface is a line of Windows 8 tablets that focuses on quality, stability, performance, ease of use and pragmatism.
Microsoft once more advances into the hardware world delivering a product that seems ready to take on the iPad and other Android tablets. This line is a full line of devices that will span all tablet price-points and will be competitive with ultra-book prices when the features are comparable (on Intel/AMD processors). Windows Surface will have at least 4 different models running two sets of processors and Windows 8 lines: Windows 8 RT (with ARM processors) and Windows 8 Professional (with Intel/AMD processors).
The different tablets look almost the same. They are 16:9 screen tablets with a screen 10.6″ diagonally protected with Corning’s Gorilla Glass 2. These tablets are made of what Microsoft is calling a “VaporMag” (Vapor Mg for magnesium). The VaporMag casing is a Magnesium alloy case that gives the structural strength that is needed for this device. The screen looked gorgeous, with bright and vibrant colors. The different Microsoft Surface models weigh between one and two pounds (676 grams to 903 grams). The smaller-lighter models are the ones running Windows RT which will be most likely a consumer-oriented product. It will come with MS Office embedded on the device and will be just 9.3 mm thick whereas the Windows 8 Pro devices will be 13.5 mm thick. Making the larger model still about a half an inch thick for a full fledged Windows 8 PC that can be used for business!
The Windows RT models will come with 32 Gb and 64 Gb of storage and the Windows 8 Pro versions will have 64 Gb and 128 Gb of solid-state storage. One of the incredible features that these devices will have (most likely as an Accessory, although it is still possible it will come bundled with it) is the keyboard. Microsoft Surface will have two different sets of keyboards available, they will magnetically click into the base of the tablet and will light up, at the same time, they will act as a cover when closed and will be disabled if flipped all the way to the back to prevent accidental keystrokes. The two keyboards/covers mentioned are called “Touch Cover” and “Type Cover”. Touch cover is made of a material with a rubbery feel where the keys seem to be either easy to press or it behaves as a touch-pad with pre-printed key locations. The Type Cover keyboard has a more laptop-like feel to it, it is made of hard plastic and looks great, it also comes with a touch-pad with multi-touch features to take advantage of Windows 8.
Nothing was mentioned officially about the battery life, but we have to assume that Windows RT will have a better battery life given than the battery is only 31.5 Watt-hours and the Windows 8 Pro is 42 Watt-hours. Directly linked to the battery life is the processor that they will use. While we know that the Windows RT devices will use an ARM processor, it is still not confirmed which one it is; however, it was mentioned that the Windows 8 Pro device will come with the brand new Ivy-Bridge line from Intel.
The devices will come with rear and front-facing cameras, Bluetooth and USB connectors while at the same time having mini-HDMI for video-out connection.
Nothing has been mentioned about a stylus for the Windows RT model, however one is provided and clicks into the case when stowed away. Even if none is provided for the low-end device, generic touch-stylus will still work with the touch interface as they are standard for all touch tablets.
It is obvious that Microsoft has started a huge push towards consumer products and while some products have not attracted the market share that Microsoft expected (such as Zune music player), others such as the Xbox brand has taken over the consumer market to become a leader in its own right. Windows Phone will greatly benefit from Microsoft’s move towards consumer products. The synergy that Microsoft Surface can generate for Windows Phone may lift up both lines of products.
While many people out there have declared, the PC era to be over, I can attest that this line of products and the tablets running Windows 8 from other manufacturers will extend the PC era at least another decade, leaving competing tablets with other OSs such as iPads and Android tablets in direct conflict with their full feature OS counterparts MacOS and ChromeOS respectively.
Microsoft has demonstrated once again that you can have the full set of features in a no-compromise device.