Microsoft announced on Monday two new tablets which will run on the two major versions of Windows 8 in what we see as the software giant showing original equipment manufacturers how to make a Windows 8 tablet. At an event in Hollywood, Microsoft unveiled the Surface for Windows RT and Surface for Windows 8 Pro.
If you’re thinking that tablets have long since been a staple in the tech scene, wait until you see what features these Surface tablets have under their sleeves before passing judgment. On a different but related note, do not confuse the Surface tablets for the Microsoft Surface computer which has long been demonstrated by Microsoft.
The Windows Surface tablets are a sight to behold. They’re actually made from a unique technology called VaporMg (pronounced Vapor-Mag) which creates thin panels which are also light and strong. How thin can a panel be that’s made using the technique? “Parts can be molded as thin as .65 mm, thinner than the typical credit card,” Microsoft says. It also touts the Surface family of tablets as the first personal computers made using vapor-deposited magnesium.
However, that’s not all that’s unique about these Windows 8 Surface tablets. Before we get to the key features of the devices though, let’s see their specifications as provided by Microsoft.
Surface for Windows RT
- OS: Windows RT
- Light(1): 676 g
- Thin(2): 9.3 mm
- Clear: 10.6” ClearType HD Display
- Energized: 31.5 W-h
- Connected: microSD, USB 2.0, Micro HD Video, 2×2 MIMO antennae
- Productive: Office ‘15’ Apps, Touch Cover, Type Cover
- Practical: VaporMg Case & Stand
- Configurable: 32 GB, 64 GB
Surface for Windows 8 Pro
- OS: Windows 8 Pro
- Light(1): 903 g
- Thin(2): 13.5 mm
- Clear: 10.6” ClearType Full HD Display
- Energized: 42 W-h
- Connected: microSDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort Video, 2×2 MIMO antennae
- Productive: Touch Cover, Type Cover, Pen with Palm Block
- Practical: VaporMg Case & Stand
- Configurable: 64 GB, 128 GB
The Surface for Windows RT will be powered by a processor based on the Nvidia Tegra chip and it will also come with Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 RT preinstalled. Microsoft did not reveal, however, how powerful this ARM processor will be or how much RAM the device will have. Nonetheless, we think what matters is if these products offer a smooth experience for the user.
The Surface for Windows 8 Pro will be powered by an Intel Core i5 Ivy Bridge processor. As with the Surface for Windows RT. Microsoft did not reveal how much RAM goes into this new tablet as well as the speed of the processor. It will also be getting a “Palm Block” pen.
Pricing for both the tablets are yet to be announced by Microsoft. They have just committed to saying that the Surface for Windows RT will be priced competitively with ARM-based tablets and that the Surface for Windows 8 Pro will be priced around the neighborhood of ultrabooks. These tablets will also be released about three months after Microsoft releases Windows 8.
Meanwhile, perhaps one of the more defining features of the Surface for Windows tablets are its accessories. Both tablets have a built-in stand at the back which is simple but ingenious. Furthermore, the smart covers announced by Microsoft for both tablet are actually “smart”.
Along with the Surface for Windows RT and the Surface for Windows 8 Pro, Microsoft also announced the Touch Cover and Type Cover during their event in Los Angeles. The Touch Cover and Type Cover double as keyboards for the tablets after being attached via magnets. The Microsoft Touch Cover is just 3mm thin but it manages to fit in technology that allows it to capture multi-touch key strokes. The Type Cover is more solid but it’s also thicker. However, it relies on actual mechanical keys. Both covers offer touchpads which kind of like turn the Surface tablets into laptops.
The Touch Cover and Type Cover also tell the tablet whether they are brought out for typing. They both have accelerometers which tell the tablets when they are moved. At those thin profiles, including accelerometers to the covers is an impressive achievement. Furthermore, the tablets automatically switch the color scheme of the tablets to a color similar to their color so these are truly smart covers.
Personally, I’ve been waiting for Windows tablets to come out and what Microsoft has presented sure seem like great tablets. Tell us what you think in the comments below.