Microsoft announced a new Windows 8 tablet family, branded Microsoft Surface, today. Read on for details.
Microsoft announced a new family of tablets they are calling Surface. Two versions were announced today: a Windows 8 RT version and a Windows 8 on Intel version. Both will share 10.6” screens, will have cast magnesium cases, will use the same keyboard case, employ dual MIMO wireless radios and will support expandable storage options and USB. Here is some background on each version.
Windows 8 RT Version
The ARM version will weigh 676 grams and will be 9.3mm thick, including the integrated kickstand built into the back of the device. The ARM vendor is rumored to be NVIDIA but we’ll have to wait and see. Storage options will be 32GB and 64GB, and USB 2.0 and microSD ports will help you to attach peripherals. This device will be available when Windows 8 launches and pricing is expected to be competitive with other ARM-based tablets. I interpret that to mean that it will match iPad pricing. Office Home & Student 2013 RT will be installed.
Windows 8 Pro Version
This model is aimed at the business user. In addition to the RT version’s specifications, the Pro version will use an Intel processor, support storage options of 64GB and 128GB, will use USB 3.0, and will support the higher-performance microSDXC storage cards to expand your storage. In addition, a digitizer and pen (which attaches magnetically to the cover) is included so you can use digital inking capabilities. Also, this model will use a display port adaptor to allow you to drive full monitors. The Pro model will be 993 grams and will be 13.5mm thick, including the integrated kickstand.
The cover for the device has an integrated keyboard built right in, including a trackpad. You’ll be able to move from touch to keyboard pretty seamlessly, and you’ll have a choice of colors to personalize your tablet. Both models will use the same accessories.
The RT version really looks to be an iPad that can do real Office document creation. That is very attractive. The Pro version looks like an update to the theory behind my ASUS EP-121 with updated hardware and Windows 8. The design is fresh and appealing, and the power of the units to do real work at a price similar to an iPad or ultrabook has me very interested.
I am disappointed to see no mention of LTE/data connectivity. If I am buying a new tablet, data connectivity is a requirement. In addition, no mention of battery life was made. In my opinion, the Microsoft devices will both need to at least match the iPad’s nine hour battery life in order to gain traction in the marketplace.
As for me, I am going to evaluate the Pro version when more information becomes available; I can easily see buying one of those as an upgrade to my current Windows 7 tablet if the battery life can meet or exceed nine hours. Stay tuned as we’ll bring you more developments as they come…in the meantime, enjoy the following screenshots and check out the Microsoft product website here.