Microsoft Unveils Surface Media Tablets

Microsoft Debuts Own-Brand Windows Tablets

by Anton Shilov
06/18/2012 | 06:22 PM

Microsoft Corp. on Monday introduced its first media tablets that will be sold under its own brand later this year. The 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. The Surface tablets will primarily compete against Apple's iPad slates.


Microsoft Surface is designed and engineered entirely by Microsoft employees and features extensive investment in industrial design and real user experience. The casing of Surface is created using a unique approach called VaporMg, 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 0.65mm, thinner than the typical credit card, to create a product that is thin, light and rigid/strong.

The VaporMg approach also enables a built-in kickstand that lets one 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.

Microsoft Surface also features Touch Cover keyboard that senses keystrokes as gestures, enabling to touch type significantly faster than with an on-screen keyboard. Touch Cover clicks into Surface via a built-in magnetic connector. Surface sports a full-sized USB port and a 16:9 aspect ratio of the screen, which is more advanced than 4:3 aspect ratio of Apple iPad.

Two models of Surface will be available: one running an ARM processor featuring Windows RT, and one with an Intel Core "Ivy Bridge" processor featuring Windows 8 Pro. 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.

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.