Microsoft Announces “Surface”, New Tablet Computer

Microsoft is jumping head first into the competitive field of tablet computing. On Monday the company said they had a major announcement, which turned out to be the “Surface”. The Surface is the software giant’s new tablet computer, a competitor to the iPad and other tablets. Microsoft’s entry into the market signals just how big tablet computing has become. It is rare for the company known for its operating systems to jump into the hardware field. Microsoft has had mixed success doing so, struggling with the Zune, but succeeding with the Xbox gaming console.

The decision to jump into the tablet field is not to surprising. The next version of Microsoft’s venerable operating system, Windows 8, looked like it was designed for tablet computing in previews. The smashing success of the iPad was to much for the company to ignore.

The Surface will come in two versions: RT and Pro. The RT version will contain the Windows Metro operating system, while the Pro will contain the Metro version as well as the traditional desktop version of Windows 8. Both versions will have 10.6 inch screens with a 16:9 aspect ratio. It will have a built in kickstand in the back, making it easy to watch video on the tablet. The screen cover detaches and becomes a multitouch trackpad and keyboard.

The thing that makes the Surface special is the keyboard attached to the back cover. It is a mechanical QWERTY keyboard that flips around and seals magnetically to the case, allowing for easier typing than on traditional tablets. The keyboard is very thin, only 3MM. It has an accelerometer, letting the tablet known when it is active, and when it is folded into the case.

Both versions will come with dual microphones, webcams in the front and back of the tablet, a microSD slot, and a USB port. The Windows RT version of the tablet will be available with 32GB and 64 GB harddrives. The Windows Pro version of the tablet will be available in 64GB and 128 GB harddrives. The Pro version will be a little thicker, and a little heavier.

Prices have yet to be announced, but are believed to be in line with other ultrabooks. The release of the RT version is expected to mirror the release of Windows 8, which is expected this fall. The Pro version will follow 90 days later. You can check out more details on the Microsoft Surface by going to its official website: