At an event held at Los Angeles late last night (India Time), Microsoft took covers off an entirely new line up of tablets. Christened the “Surface”, the tablets come in two variants – one based on Windows RT and the other on Windows 8. The one running Windows RT would be powered by an ARM based chip (which has been later proved to be an Nvidia Tegra chip) while the other would run Intel’s Core i5 chips.
That said, both the variants share the same design points which we will highlight below. Let us first delve in to the ARM powered device which can be termed the “lower end” of the two.
To start with, the Surface for Windows RT tablet features a NVidia Tegra based ARM chipset. It weighs in at 676 grams and is just 9.6 mm thi(ck)n. The display size is slightly larger than standard 10 inch tablets with this one sporting a10.6 inch ClearType HD capacitive panel with a resolution of 1366*768 pixels.
Like we said, this version when launched will come loaded with the ARM chips specific version of Window known as Windows RT and would also come preloaded with Windows Office Home & Student 2013 Edition. It will come in two variants – a 32 GB version and a larger capacity 64 Gb version. On the connectivity front, the device will feature a micro SD for memory expansion, a USB 2.0 port for seamless connectivity options and support for Micro HD Video as well as 2×2 MIMO antennae.
As for the “high-end” version, this one will be powered by an Intel Core i5 Iv Bridge chip. It would be significantly heavier than the ARM powered device – tipping the scales at 903 grams. Unlike the 720p –ish display on the other model, this one gets a 10.6 inch full HD capacitive display as well as a much larger battery – rated at 42 Wh – as posed to a 31.5Wh battery on the other tablet. Unlike the ARM version which only gets a USB 2.0 port, this one romps home with a USB 3.0 port for much faster data transfer speeds. The rest of the connectivity options remain the same.
On the software front this one would come loaded with Windows 8 Professional which is expected to be released later this year.
Both the tablets have an eye-catching design and come with a built-in kickstand which would make watching movies on this a pleasure – without having to hold it in your hands all the while. When combined with the Touch Cover keyboard that it comes bundled with, the tablet can turn out to be a worthy laptop replacement.
As for the aforementioned Touch Cover keyboard, let us inform you that it comes in two versions – one which is 3mm thick and another version which is slightly thicker. The Touch Cover doubles up as a protective cover for the tablet as well as a full-fledged keyboard when you want to use it as one. It even features a full sized touchpad area. It connects to the tablet via Bluetooth and also comes with its own set of batteries to keep it powered.
Microsoft has not announced any time frame by when they expect both these devices to be released – nor have they given us any idea about the expected pricing of these two. They did however add that both would be priced competitively. Once again, we think this announcement was a bit premature on Microsoft if they do not intend to release these products in the next few months.
It is also unclear as to how would Microsoft’s OEM hardware partner take this move by the software giant. This would definitely be seen as Microsoft’s forced entry in to their turf.
All said, it would only be post launch that we would be able to say if the Microsoft Surface would go on to become n instant hit. What do you think?