Windows has long been a competitor in the computer and mobile market. They make great desktop software and even a kick ass phone, but what they didn’t have was a tablet. Today’s mystery event held in Los Angles, California brought Microsoft and the Windows platform into the tablet market with the Windows Surface tablet. This tablet is amazingly thin and doesn’t run on a mobile software operating system but a full fledged Windows system that runs Windows 8.
There are two versions of this tablet, one lower-end model that runs on Microsoft’s Windows RT ARM-based operating system and a full version that runs on Windows 8 Pro. Both tablets are remarkably similar in their form factor and very slim design but between the two versions there are also some very distinct differences.
On the Windows RT version, you have a 720p display with an ARM-based NVIDIA processor inside and a full USB 2.0 port. It’s colored silver and comes in 32GB and 64GB models with the ability to expand with a mircoSD card slot. It’s slightly smaller than the Windows 8 Pro version at only 0.36 inches thick and 1.5 pounds.
The beefier version of the Microsoft Surface tablet comes in a a very light 1.99 pounds and is just slightly thicker at 0.46 inches. This version of the tablet comes with a full 1080p screen, great for watching movies and is powered by an Intel chipset. The chipset offered with this version of the tablet is a slightly modified Intel Core i5 system that uses remarkably less battery over other similar processors. This Ivy Bridge based system uses the Core architecture to bring you not only good battery life but power when you need it. This version of the tablet is going to available in 64GB and 128GB models with, again, the additional expansion with a microSD card slot. Along with all those major features we will also see a 3.5mm headphone jack, USB 3.0, and Mini DisplayPort in the higher-end model.
If you’re wondering how you’re going to protect your tablet, Microsoft has you covered that with covers that not only protect your tablet but double as a keyboard to your system with a multitouch trackpad. The covers also come in some stylish colors and feature two versions, one with touch type and one with tactile keys to please the users who like each version.
Also hidden in this tablet announcement comes two software debutes, one of them include a customized version of Netflix just for Windows Metro interfaces and another the tablet version of Microsoft Office that runs on ARM processors.
The release date for these tablets is scheduled for sometime in October in the lower-end model when Windows 8 is released and the higher-end model being released shortly after that, hopefully in time for the holidays. Overall we’re very pleased with announcement and are happy to see Microsoft stepping into the tablet market with some worth while tablet hardware that users may actually want to buy.