Posted On Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at 08:56:18 AM
Microsoft unveiled a new tablet PC, Surface, that attempts to take advantage of one of the few criticisms of the iPad – that it is better for consuming content than creating it.
The device will attach to a removable rubberised keyboard that also acts like a book cover. CEO Steve Ballmer said Surface will be an entertainment device “without compromising the productivity that PCs are known for.”
Microsoft’s broadside against the iPad is a dramatic step to ensure that its Windows plays a major role in the important mobile computing market.
Microsoft is linking the Surface’s debut with the release of its much-anticipated Windows 8 OS, which has been designed with tablets in mind.
The company hasn’t specified when Windows 8 will hit the market, but most analysts expect the software to come out in September or October.
One version of the Surface, which won’t go on sale until sometime in the fall, is 9.3mm thick and works on the Windows RT OS which was made for tablets. It comes with a 0.7mm thick kickstand to hold it upright and a 3mm thick touch keyboard cover that snaps on using magnets.
The device weighs under a kilo. The size is similar to the latest iPad, which is 9.4mm thick. Surface has a screen that measures 10.6-inches diagonally, compared to 9.7-inches for the iPad, but it comes in the 16:9 aspect ratio, while the iPad’s sports a ratio of 4:3. They said the Surface’s price will be similar to the iPad.
A slightly thicker version – still less than 14 mm thick – will work on Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 Pro operating system and cost as much as an Ultrabook, the company said.
The pro version comes with a stylus that allows users to make handwritten notes on documents such as PDF files. It will be released about three months later.
The touch keyboard resembles the “Smart Cover” that Apple sells separately, but comes with a full QWERTY keyboard. It is flat instead of foldable. A slightly thicker keyboard with depressable keys will also be available.