Microsoft Surface tablets unveiled with Windows 8 and 10.6-inch displays

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from Omaha, NE
Published: June 18, 2012

Microsoft Surface tablet Windows 8

Late last week, Microsoft teased that they'd be making a "major" announcement at an event this evening, and now we finally know what the company was referring to: a new Microsoft Surface tablet. There will actually be two models of the Surface: one version will feature an NVIDIA Tegra processor and the Windows RT version of Windows 8, which is meant for devices with ARM chips, while there'll also be a version with an Intel Core processor and Windows 8 Pro. Both versions of the Surface feature a 10.6-inch display with a 16:9 aspect ratio, VaporMg casing, front and rear cameras, and Wi-Fi connectivity. There's also a built-in kickstand in the rear of the devices. 

The Windows RT-powered version of Surface will come in at 9.3mm thick and will feature a handful of ports, including microSD, USB 2.0 and micro HD video. This model will pack a "ClearType HD Display" and 32GB or 64GB of internal storage. Microsoft says that Surface for Windows RT will be released alongside the general availability of Windows 8. Pricing will be announced closer to launch, but is expected to be "competitive with a comparable ARM tablet."

Meanwhile, the Surface for Windows 8 Pro is a tad thicker and heavier, checking in at 13.5mm thick and 1.99 pounds. In exchange for the extra size, though, users will be getting a microSDXC card slot, USB 3.0 port and a Mini DisplayPort for video. The Surface for Windows 8 Pro will also feature a "ClearType Full HD Display" with either 64GB or 128GB of included storage. Expect a launch "about 90 days" after general Windows 8 availability, with a price that'll be revealed later and is said to be "competitive" with an Intel-powered Ultrabook PC.

Both Surface tablets will be compatible with an accessory that Microsoft calls the Touch Cover, a 3mm thick cover that'll be available in five colors and will attach to the devices using a built-in magnetic connector. Besides serving as a way to protect the Surface, the Touch Cover will also act as a keyboard/touchpad that uses a pressure-sensitive tech that Microsoft says "sense keystrokes as gestures" and allows users to type "significantly faster" than an on-screen keyboard. There will also be a 5mm thick Type Cover, seen below in black, that features moving keys.

We've already seen companies like Acer and ASUS announce Windows 8 tablets, so it's interesting to see Microsoft announce their own Surface tablet rather than leaving the hardware to other manufacturers. Still, the Microsoft Surface looks intriguing so far, and the tablet's kickstand and keyboard covers look like nice additions. Now we just have to wait to find out just when the things will be launching and how much they'll cost when they do, which are details that'll be important in determining how well the Surface can compete with Android tablets (like the rumored Nexus 7) and the new iPad. What do you all make of Microsoft's Surface tablets so far? Think you'll be keeping an eye on them in the coming months?

Microsoft Surface rear

Microsoft Surface Type Cover

Microsoft Announces Surface: New Family of PCs for Windows

June 18, 2012

Microsoft-made hardware to be available starting with release of Windows 8 and Windows RT.

LOS ANGELES — June 18, 2012 — Today at an event in Hollywood, Microsoft unveiled Surface: PCs built to be the ultimate stage for Windows. Company executives showed two Windows tablets and accessories that feature significant advances in industrial design and attention to detail. Surface is designed to seamlessly transition between consumption and creation, without compromise. It delivers the power of amazing software with Windows and the feel of premium hardware in one exciting experience. 

Advances in Industrial Design

Conceived, designed and engineered entirely by Microsoft employees, and building on the company’s 30-year history manufacturing hardware, Surface represents a unique vision for the seamless expression of entertainment and creativity. Extensive investment in industrial design and real user experience includes the following highlights: 

Software takes center stage: Surface sports a full-sized USB port and a 16:9 aspect ratio – the industry standard for HD. It has edges angled at 22 degrees, a natural position for the PC at rest or in active use, letting the hardware fade into the background and the software stand out. 

VaporMg: The casing of Surface is created using a unique approach called VaporMg (pronounced Vapor-Mag), a combination of material selection and process to mold metal and deposit particles that creates a finish akin to a luxury watch. Starting with magnesium, parts can be molded as thin as .65 mm, thinner than the typical credit card, to create a product that is thin, light and rigid/strong.

Integrated Kickstand: The unique VaporMg approach also enables a built-in kickstand that lets you transition Surface from active use to passive consumption – watching a movie or even using the HD front- or rear-facing video cameras. The kickstand is there when needed, and disappears when not in use, with no extra weight or thickness.

Touch Cover: The 3 mm Touch Cover represents a step forward in human-computer interface. Using a unique pressure-sensitive technology, Touch Cover senses keystrokes as gestures, enabling you to touch type significantly faster than with an on-screen keyboard. It will be available in a selection of vibrant colors. Touch Cover clicks into Surface via a built-in magnetic connector, forming a natural spine like you find on a book, and works as a protective cover. You can also click in a 5 mm-thin Type Cover that adds moving keys for a more traditional typing feel. 

An Amazing Windows Experience

Two models of Surface will be available: one running an ARM processor featuring Windows RT, and one with a third-generation Intel Core processor featuring Windows 8 Pro. From the fast and fluid interface, to the ease of connecting you to the people, information and apps that users care about most, Surface will be a premium way to experience all that Windows has to offer. Surface for Windows RT will release with the general availability of Windows 8, and the Windows 8 Pro model will be available about 90 days later. Both will be sold in the Microsoft Store locations in the U.S. and available through select online Microsoft Stores.

Contributing to an Expanded Ecosystem

One of the strengths of Windows is its extensive ecosystem of software and hardware partners, delivering selection and choice that makes a customer’s Windows experience uniquely their own. This continues with Surface. Microsoft is delivering a unique contribution to an already strong and growing ecosystem of functional and stylish devices delivered by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to bring the experience of Windows to consumers and businesses around the globe. 

Additional Product Information

Surface for Windows RT

OS: Windows RT

Light(1): 676 g

Thin(2): 9.3 mm

Clear: 10.6” ClearType HD Display

Energized: 31.5 W-h

Connected: microSD, USB 2.0, Micro HD Video, 2x2 MIMO antennae

Productive: Office ‘15’ Apps, Touch Cover, Type Cover

Practical: VaporMg Case & Stand

Configurable: 32 GB, 64 GB

Surface for Windows 8 Pro

OS: Windows 8 Pro

Light(1): 903 g

Thin(2): 13.5 mm

Clear: 10.6” ClearType Full HD Display

Energized: 42 W-h

Connected: microSDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort Video, 2x2 MIMO antennae

Productive: Touch Cover, Type Cover, Pen with Palm Block

Practical: VaporMg Case & Stand

Configurable: 64 GB, 128 GB

(1), (2). Actual size and weight of the device may vary due to configuration and manufacturing process.

Suggested retail pricing will be announced closer to availability and is expected to be competitive with a comparable ARM tablet or Intel Ultrabook-class PC. OEMs will have cost and feature parity on Windows 8 and Windows RT. 

For more information about Surface, visit http://www.surface.com.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Some information relates to a prerelease product, which may be substantially modified before it is commercially released. Microsoft makes no warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information provided here.

Via The Verge