With Apple leading in the tablet computer sector, and really facing very little competition, Microsoft have unveiled their attempt to shake Apple from their tech tree branch.
During a conference that was held for the special announcement, Microsoft unveiled ‘Surface‘ – a range of tablet PC’s that don’t compromise on functionality.
Surface comes in two flavours, one running on an adapted Windows 8 OS known as Windows RT, and another running Windows 8 Pro. The latter model is designed for your more feature heavy professional user, whilst the former is designed for those who use it casually – like many iPad users.
Both designs boast an impressive 10.6″ ‘ClearType HD’ Display, full sized USB ports, a Micro SDHD card slot, a HDMI port and come with a touch and type cover – and ingenious solution to protecting your device and allowing you to use it as a keyboard and computer. It also features a set of front and rear cameras so you can take photos and record video on the go.
The cover doubles as a keyboard, and thanks to Surface’s design having a kickstand it allows you to type without having to touch the screen on a pressure sensitive keyboard – and the keyboard cover uses similar technology to Apple’s mag charge system so it’ll never get pulled out or tugged away from the device.
Of course, to win over the massmarket crowd Surface has to be a nice looking machine, and it is. Encased in a magnesium body it’s sturdy and looks the part. And those keyboard covers come in a variety of colours to make sure you have the finish you really want. Interestingly this has been developed internally by Microsoft designers and engineers, meaning that this is the return of Microsoft to PC hardware development.
With Windows 8 functionality underpinning the entire device, it seems that this will be an incredibly accessible tablet pc when Windows 8 launches on PCs, as it’ll be the OS many are familiar with, and thus people wont have to jump between the iOS interface of the iPad and their computer.
With Microsoft announcing ‘Smart Glass’ during their E3 press conference, it’s clear that this tablet is intended for use with the Xbox and gaming as well as entertainment enhancing. Whilst nothing game related was really talked about during the keynote, an Xbox Live app was spotted, and with the machine’s grunt it should also be rather capable of running most iPad games too.
Here’s a surprisingly edgy announcement trailer for the device: