Microsoft announce all new Surface tablet, based on Windows 8

Microsoft today unveiled a major tablet initiative to compete with Apple’s iPad, Google’s Android, and its own PC hardware partners.

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The Microsoft Surface is a 10.6″ tablet powered by Windows 8, coming in two distinct versions — both equipped with touch screens. One will be powered by an ARM processor and will be more like a traditional tablet running Windows RT. The other will be powered by Intel’s 22nm Ivy Bridge chips running the desktop version of Windows 8.

As reported by The Verge:

The Windows RT version is just 9.3mm thin, weighs 1.5lbs, includes a built-in kickstand and is the first PC with a vapor-deposited (PVD) magnesium case, according to Microsoft. It will ship in 32GB or 64GB versions.

Microsoft’s Intel-based Surface tablet will run Windows 8 Pro, with a thickness of 13.5mm, a weight of 1.9lb, and USB 3.0 support. This particular version will also include magnesium casing and a built-in kickstand, but will ship with either 64GB or 128GB storage. The Intel version will include additional digital ink support through a pen that magnetizes to the body of the tablet.

In addition to the tablet itself, Microsoft will sell two Smart Cover-like devices that attach magnetically to the Surface. Unlike Apple’s add-on, which serves only as screen protection and as a stand, Microsoft’s Touch Cover and Type Cover turn into a full-sized keyboard complete with a built-in trackpad. Microsoft says using the Touch Cover is “twice as efficient as typing on glass”, a clear shot at the iPad’s on-screen keyboard.

Microsoft did not share any information on pricing or availability, saying both the ARM and Intel editions would be price competitive with like products.

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