Last night, at a prestigious L.A. based press conference, Steve Ballmer
and crew debuted the Microsoft’s
latest foray into the Hardware market – The Surface Tablet
platform formerly donned this “Surface” moniker, offering businesses a range of poster and table sized touch screen computers. Now it’s resurfaced (Ha!) in the guise of a potential iPad
Famously reluctant to enter the hardware market, Microsoft have experimented in recent years, bucking this trend with their (lamentably failed) Zune
enterprise and a little known gaming console, the Xbox 360
“It’s a whole new community of computing devices from Microsoft
remarked on his company’s continued incursion into manufacturing the devices what does run their software, “It embodies the notion of hardware and software really pushing each other.”
Two distinct tablets were demoed at the event.
The first was billed as a potential rival to Tablet leviathans iPad
and Samsung Galaxy 10.1
Boasting a 10.6” HD display, 9.3 mm thickness and but a trifling 676g in weight, this Surface “Light” runs Windows RT
operating system, boasts MicroSD, USB 2.0, MicroHD video 2X2 MIMO antennae connections, Home Office & Student 2013 RT, Touch Cover, Type Cover software applications and is powered by an ARM Mobile Nvidia chip.
tablets also featured fairly bland cover cases, until peeled down from the unit to reveal a multi-touch material keyboard and track pad!
Cause for exclamation if ever there was...
Though an obvious upgrade from the folding cover debuted with the iPad 2
, a fabric keyboard attached via magnetic strip wouldn’t do much to keep the tablet upright during Desktop mode would it?
Thus a snap out tablet stand is built into the device’s rear to address such snooty criticisms.
Looks clever, unless it’s flimsy and likely to snap under the slightest strain...
The “Pro” model was a more substantial unit, built methinks to compete in the rapidly expanding Ultrabook market. Its larger size (13.5mm, 903g) allows for an Intel Ivy Bridge Core i5
processor which in turn runs Touch Cover, Type Cover, Pen with Palm Block on its Windows 8 pro
With the following connections, MicroSDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort Video, 2X2 MIMO antennae it’s not a stretch to imagine that processor running the very real risk of overheating. I’m imagining it right now...Microsoft
claim to have overcome this issue however with the addition of perimeter venting. A ventilating groove rings the whole tablet, "You never block it with your hands. You never even feel it" Spokesperson Dana Williams
Both tablets are constructed with VaporMg
, a moulded magnesium casing with PVD finish. They’ll release in a range of colours, a variety of cover cases, and the “Light” is likely to be tied to the release of Windows 8 this autumn.
The ‘Pro’ is believed to be launching three months after.Windows 8’s Metro
touch interface is bound to improve with a dedicated touch-screen interface and provided Microsoft learn from past mistakes (Zune
Mp3 Player, 360’s Red Ring of Death) the ‘Surface’ could prove a substantial boon for the company.
It does beg the question though; what will their hardware partners think about this revelation?
Known primarily for their software packages (there’s a clue in the name, see if you can find it) Microsoft
have traditionally left the machining to the likes of Nokia
or Hewlett Packard
. How these Mastadons of Technology will react to losing out on a chance to represent Microsoft in the Tablet arena is anyone’s guess...
and Co will be challenged to Mortal Kombat
That’s just my guess though...