The Microsoft Surface tablet is a first for the company famous for bringing us the Windows operating system.
Back when home computing was a pretty new industry, we had the famous Microsoft vs Apple approach to things. Bill Gates, of Microsoft, developed and marketed an operating system that could be used on PC’s and sold either over-the-counter or directly to PC manufactures. Steve Jobs, at Apple, developed and marketed their own hardware with operating system included.
For years, Microsoft’s idea was a winner… but then Apple began making strides, and they are now the largest company in the world (measured by market cap).
It has taken Microsoft a long time to respond, but they finally are, and it looks like they will do so by taking both approaches. The new Microsoft 8 operating system, expected out this Fall, will still be available to individual shoppers over-the-counter, and licensed to manufactures. But Microsoft is also going to compete with those manufactures, selling their own hardware loaded with Microsoft 8 as well.
The start of the new plan? The Microsoft Surface.
Below you can see the new Surface in a video that Microsoft released. You can also watch the reveal of the Microsoft Surface here. There’s a long lead up in the reveal video, the actual details of the Surface start at about the 10 minute mark.
The tablet is described as a stage for Microsoft 8. It has a wide, 10.6-inch, multi-touch Gorilla Glass 2 screen, dual wi-fi antennas, which Microsoft says will provide the best wi-fi reception of any tablet. The case is magnesium, it’s lightweight (576 grams) and thin (just 9.3mm). The tablet has a built in kickstand.
Now here’s where it really gets interesting. Here at NFS, we have complained that while tablets are great for entertainment, they are impractical for real work. Some of this has been answered by Transformer type tablets that fit into a keyboard.
The Microsoft Surface takes the Transformer idea to the next level. It has a front cover that attaches to the tablet magnetically. The cover is made of a very thin Polartec fabric and… it opens up into a full, multi-touch, keyboard. There will actual be two covers that shoppers will be able to choose from. The first is a flat surface touchpad upon which a keyboard is outlined. The second is an actual tactile keyboard. The covers come in a variety of colors.
The tablet also has front and back cameras. There will be two versions, one running Windows RT and the other running Windows Pro.
So what’s it going to cost us to pick up a Microsoft Surface? Microsoft is mum on that. The didn’t say when the new tablet, or Microsoft 8, would launch either. But as soon as these details come out, you will find them here at NFS!