After a quite incredible barrage of rumor and speculation, Steve Ballmer has officially announced Microsoft Surface, which will be the Redmond company’s first effort in the increasingly-relevant tablet market. Given the poor performance of most competitors to the iPad, the significance of its introduction to the market could be huge, and here, we take a run-down of its vital statistics.
From a design perspective, it’s a lot different to anything we’ve seen on the market, and as you can see from the photos, could be a game-changer. Packed into an ultra-light magnesium body, it’s finished off elegantly with PVD, while the screen is hardened by the Gorilla Glass previously used by Cupertino rival Apple in various digital products. The edges of the device are beveled at 22 degree angles to, as Microsoft’s Steven Sinofsky points out, make the device "feel natural in your hands," but the finish isn’t the only unique design quirk – not by a long shot.
Beside being the only tablet with the liquid metal finish, it also features a nifty in-built kickstand, enabling the device to stand freely for movie-watching, without the need utilize / purchase any separate or third-party accessories. Intuitive indeed.
The killer feature, however, is the cover, which clips on magnetically to double as a touch-enabled keyboard – a feature Microsoft feels essential to those looking to purchase a tablet. Named Type Cover, it looks simply stunning, and at three millimeters thin, it doesn’t bulk out the device too much when being utilized as a cover.
The most interesting thing about the tablet is that it will come with a stylus, yes, a stylus. It is designed in such a way that writing feels completely natural and feels as if the pen is in direct contact with the display, something which has never been achieved before on a device of this calibre. Remarkable indeed. And oh, did we mention that the stylus magnetically latches on to the Surface’s body?
It features a 10.6 inch display, which, as well as being larger than the iPad by almost an inch, offers more screen real-estate than most other tablet offerings to date. With semantic zoom, it will offer a seamless Windows experience, and will, of course, present users with the ability to download games, movies, and general content through the Windows Store from the get-go. With 32 and 64GB versions available, there’ll be plenty of space for all that content to reside.
Not only does the Microsoft Surface have the credentials to knock the iPad off its perch, but it may just threaten the fledgling ultrabook market, because as well as a Surface for Windows RT, there will also be one – packing Intel chips – with full Windows, and desktop apps running capabilities.
Many have been disappointed with Microsoft’s lack of a decent hardware announcement, but the stunning Surface looks as though it could turn the tablet market completely on its head.
Here’s an awesome promo video of the new Surface tablet, we really wish it went on sale immediately after the event, but oh well: