Microsoft revealed its very first tablet device yesterday during it’s press event in Los Angeles, called Surface, and man does it look pretty. At first glance it looks like any other tablet: very flat with a large screen. In terms of aesthetics, however, what sets this tablet apart from all the iPads and Kindle Fires is its integrated kickstand. In the video above it seems that the kickstand simply snaps into place when needed, and folds back against the tablet just as easily. While this isn’t a major innovation, it certainly is a cool feature. There is also the 3 mm thick Touch Cover, which is showcased in the video. Rather than buying an overly priced cover and a keyboard for your tablet separately, Microsoft has kindly made them into one accessary. Available in an array of colors, the Touch Cover is more than just a keyboard attachment. Rather than using buttons, it uses a pressure sensitive system that allows the user to type much faster than using a standard touch screen.
Surface comes in two models: the Windows RT, and the Windows 8 Pro. The RT is both physically and technically more lightweight than the 8 Pro, which is being called a “full PC”. Microsoft has yet to talk about prices (or release dates), but I think it’s safe to assume that the RT will be less exepnsive. Here are the system specs for each:
- 9.33 mm thick
- 10.6″ ClearType HD DIsplay
- 31.5 Wh battery
- microSD, USB 2.0, Micro HD Video
- Office Home & Student 2013 RT, Touch Cover, Type Cover
- 32 GB, 64 GB
Windows 8 Pro
- 903 g
- 13.5 mm thick
- 10.6″ ClearType Full HD Display
- 42 Wh battery
- microSDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort Video,
- Touch Cover, Type Cover, Pen with Palm Block
- 64 GB, 128 GB
In terms of gaming on these devices, not much is known. But based on the fact that the Windows 8 Pro runs like an actual PC, and that the user interface is similar to the Windows phone and Xbox user interface, I’m sure we will see plenty of gaming options. Oddly enough, there was also no talk of Smart Glass, Microsoft’s new Xbox feature that was revealed at this year’s E3. I’m guessing that the Surface will be compatible with Smart Glass, but it’s strange that it wasn’t mentioned.
Microsoft is a little late on the tablet band wagon, but I think the Surface will be the iPad’s true competitor. It already sounds like a great device, and if Microsoft plays its cards right with pricing and Xbox integration (which is a must), then we could be seeing the next must-have device.