Microsoft’s iPad rival surfaces
June 19, 2012
As widely anticipated, Microsoft has unveiled at a Hollywood event a tablet hardware product to compete with Apple’s iPad.
Company executives showed two Windows tablets and accessories that feature what Microsoft claims are significant advances in industrial design and attention to detail. Surface – as the new product has been dubbed – is designed to seamlessly transition between consumption and creation, without compromise.
In announcing Surface, Microsoft has drawn attention to a number ODF distinctive features it feels positions the product to compete effectively:
- “Software takes centre 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 mould metal and deposit particles that creates a finish akin to a luxury watch. Starting with magnesium, parts can be moulded 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 colours 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.”
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. 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 US and available through select online Microsoft Stores.
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.