Introducing Microsoft Surface
A quick introduction to Microsoft's Surface tablet
Posted on 6/20/2012
As it does with the Xbox, Microsoft has opted to make the Surface tablets—both hardware and software—on its own. This stands as a huge affront to Microsoft’s longtime PC partners. Making matters worse, the Surface products look far better than anything else the PC makers have shown to date on the tablet front. Even Apple (AAPL) has been put on notice, if the hoots and hollers from the event were any indication.
The first Surface device shown weighs about 1.5 pounds and is 9 mm thick. A second, the Surface Pro, is slightly thicker and heavier. Both tablets come with a built-in kickstand, so you can stand them up to watch movies and the like. Microsoft also did something innovative with its new tablet covers. It had them attach to the the tablets with a firm click and designed them to be keyboards. The Type Cover has keys printed into the cover while the slightly bigger Touch Cover has raised keys.
The keyboard/cover combo is a fantastic idea that immediately makes you question future laptop purchases. That’s yet a further blow against Microsoft’s PC buddies. When Windows 8 launches this fall, Microsoft will sell the tablets through its own online and retail stores and nowhere else.
Kevin Drum focuses on the most important point:
the most important aspect of the Surface tablet...[is] the fact that the Pro version is both a tablet and a real computer. This is huge, and it's huge whether you're an Apple fan or a Windows fan.
CNN looks at 5 ways Surface may be better than an iPad. Most importantly, the keyboard:
A frustration for many users of the iPad and other touchscreen devices is the keyboard. While it's possible to get somewhat proficient at tapping spots on a flat screen, most acknowledge it's impossible to get e-mail and other documents written as quickly as with physical keys.
The Surface keyboard will be part of its Touch Cover, which is connected with magnets and flips open. There will be a version with pressure-sensitive flat keys and another with more traditional raised keys called a Type Cover.
They're both sleeker and thinner than many of the third-party offerings for the iPad. The Touch Cover is 3 millimeters thick, and the Type Cover is 5 millimeters.
Computer world rounds up what we don't know about the Surface yet. One, cost:
Without definitive information from Microsoft -- not surprising since it's three, maybe four, months until Windows RT tablet goes public, six or seven before the other one shows up -- analysts are forced to guess. Their estimates for the Surface ranged from a low of $400 to a high of $700, while the Surface Pro will probably cost anywhere from $800 to more than $1,000, with many betting on the latter as the target.
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