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Microsoft Unveils Surface, A New Breed of Tablet

Microsoft has unveiled its newest family of tablet PC’s, called Surface. The team at Redmond has developed two variations of the new tablet — an ARM version running Windows RT — Microsoft’s tablet version of Windows 8 — and an Intel-based version with the full version of Windows 8 Pro. Both tablets come with a 10.6″ ClearType HD Display with a 16:9 aspect ratio, and are cased in VaporMg, an all-magnesium material that Microsoft uses, enabling the tablets to come with a built-in kickstand.

The tablets come with Touch Cover, a 3mm thick cover that comes with a multi-touch keyboard and trackpad. The Touch Cover, which connects magnetically, uses pressure-sensitive technology, which, according to Microsoft, “senses keystrokes as gestures,” which will allow for a faster typing experience. Microsoft also unveiled the Type Cover, a variation of the Touch Cover that comes with physical click-keys, instead of multi-touch.

Gorilla Glass 2 is present on both variations of the tablet, along with 2×2 MIMO antennae, which provides what may be the best Wi-Fi available on a tablet. Microsoft’s President of Windows Division Steven Sinofsky stated that the tablets will come with a custom-built version Netflix for Windows 8.

Surface for Windows RT

The ARM-based Windows RT variation comes in at 9.3mm thick, and weighs 676g. A full sized USB 2.0 port is present on the device, along with an SD card slot, Micro HD video, and the previously mentioned 2×2 MIMO antennae. Office 15′ will also be available for the tablet. Surface for Windows RT will be available in 32GB or 64GB configurations.

Surface for Windows 8 Pro

The Intel-based version of Surface comes with Windows 8 Pro, for a full Windows experience. With that experience comes a larger casing, coming in at 13.5mm thick and 903g. The Windows 8 Pro version does come with pen input, and a larger battery, which weighs in at 42.5 W-h, compared to the RT’s 31.5 W-h. Micro SDXC slot, MiniDisplay port, and USB 3.0 come with the Windows 8 Pro version, along with 64GB and 128GB configuration.

Microsoft has stated that pricing will not be available until it the tablets are “closer to availability,” but Redmond did say pricing will be competitive with ” a compareable ARM or Intel-Ultrabook-class PC.”

Press Release:

LOS ANGELES — June 18, 2012 — Today at an event in Hollywood, Microsoft unveiled Surface: PCs built to be the ultimate stage for Windows. Company executives showed two Windows tablets and accessories that feature significant advances in industrial design and attention to detail. Surface is designed to seamlessly transition between consumption and creation, without compromise. It delivers the power of amazing software with Windows and the feel of premium hardware in one exciting experience.

Advances in Industrial Design

Conceived, designed and engineered entirely by Microsoft employees, and building on the company’s 30-year history manufacturing hardware, Surface represents a unique vision for the seamless expression of entertainment and creativity. Extensive investment in industrial design and real user experience includes the following highlights:

  • Software takes center stage: Surface sports a full-sized USB port and a 16:9 aspect ratio – the industry standard for HD. It has edges angled at 22 degrees, a natural position for the PC at rest or in active use, letting the hardware fade into the background and the software stand out.
  • VaporMg: The casing of Surface is created using a unique approach called VaporMg (pronounced Vapor-Mag), a combination of material selection and process to mold metal and deposit particles that creates a finish akin to a luxury watch. Starting with magnesium, parts can be molded as thin as .65 mm, thinner than the typical credit card, to create a product that is thin, light and rigid/strong.
  • Integrated Kickstand: The unique VaporMg approach also enables a built-in kickstand that lets you transition Surface from active use to passive consumption – watching a movie or even using the HD front- or rear-facing video cameras. The kickstand is there when needed, and disappears when not in use, with no extra weight or thickness.
  • Touch Cover: The 3 mm Touch Cover represents a step forward in human-computer interface. Using a unique pressure-sensitive technology, Touch Cover senses keystrokes as gestures, enabling you to touch type significantly faster than with an on-screen keyboard. It will be available in a selection of vibrant colors. Touch Cover clicks into Surface via a built-in magnetic connector, forming a natural spine like you find on a book, and works as a protective cover. You can also click in a 5 mm-thin Type Cover that adds moving keys for a more traditional typing feel.

An Amazing Windows Experience

Two models of Surface will be available: one running an ARM processor featuring Windows RT, and one with a third-generation Intel Core processor featuring Windows 8 Pro. From the fast and fluid interface, to the ease of connecting you to the people, information and apps that users care about most, Surface will be a premium way to experience all that Windows has to offer. Surface for Windows RT will release with the general availability of Windows 8, and the Windows 8 Pro model will be available about 90 days later. Both will be sold in the Microsoft Store locations in the U.S. and available through select online Microsoft Stores.

Contributing to an Expanded Ecosystem

One of the strengths of Windows is its extensive ecosystem of software and hardware partners, delivering selection and choice that makes a customer’s Windows experience uniquely their own. This continues with Surface. Microsoft is delivering a unique contribution to an already strong and growing ecosystem of functional and stylish devices delivered by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to bring the experience of Windows to consumers and businesses around the globe.

Additional Product Information

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

(1), (2). Actual size and weight of the device may vary due to configuration and manufacturing process.

Suggested retail pricing will be announced closer to availability and is expected to be competitive with a comparable ARM tablet or Intel Ultrabook-class PC. OEMs will have cost and feature parity on Windows 8 and Windows RT.

For more information about Surface, visit http://www.surface.com.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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