About Time: Microsoft Tablet Has Finally Surfaced!

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So Marc’s prediction on our E3 2012 Microsoft Podcast wasn’t off, but late. Microsoft has finally announced a tablet of its own called Surface, which looks sleek! The only details we have so far is that its cover doubles as a fully functional keyboard, which is a nice idea.

So what does this have to do with gaming, you ask? If you’ve been living under a rock, Microsoft did announce SmartGlass at E3, which will be compatible with all tablets and smartphones, so one can argue it makes sense to roll in a competitive tablet of its own…even though most of us didn’t find it to be practical, it was Marc who was right on the money from the get-go.

In addition, Surface will most likely run Windows 8, which has integrated Xbox Live functionality. Perhaps the tablet hides a few other Xbox 360 optimizations of its own, but we’ll have to wait and see.

The only question is: why didn’t they hint on this Tablet at their E3 press conference? I know it’s not exactly a perfect time since Surface is not only about gaming, but most of Microsoft’s conference went on a tangent, and having Surface announced alongside SmartGlass would make perfect sense.

Thoughts?

Update: Stats are in.  There are two distinct models, Surface, and Surface Pro.  Both are built from VaporMg (a molded magnesium casing), and will work with the Touch Cover (Touch-sensative keys) and Type Cover (tactile keys).  We’ve included all the tech specs for each model below.

Surface

Operating System: Windows RT
Power: 31.5 W-h
CPU: Nvidia Tegra ARM
Storage Capacity: 32 or 64GB, and microSD slot
Display: 10.6 in ClearType HD screen with 16:9 aspect ratio
Input: Multi-touch screen, Touch Cover, Type Cover
Connectivity: 2×2 MIMO Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n), USB 2.0, micro HDMI
Weight: 676g

Surface Pro

Operating system: Windows 8 Pro
Power: 42 W-h
CPU: Quad-core Intel Core i5
Storage capacity: 64 or 128 GB and microSDXC slot
Display: 10.6 in ClearType Full HD screen with 16:9 aspect ratio
Input: Multi-touch screen, Touch Cover, Type Cover, Pen with palm block
Connectivity: 2×2 MIMO Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n), USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort
Weight: 903g

6 thoughts on “About Time: Microsoft Tablet Has Finally Surfaced!”

  1. This will be good for traditional gaming as it can run civ 4 and 5, has full size usb 2/3 ports. Can you imagine playing xboxlive arcade games on a train or pplane? I can :)

  2. Mal you were right, Microsoft is indeed releasing a tablet. Sure it won’t be a dedicated Xbox tablet, but that never made much sense anyways. I’m really curious how this will affect their OEM strategy. HP, Dell and other obviously won’t be pleased about competition from their software supplier. It’s one of the reasons why MS traditionally doesn’t get involved with hardware at all, and why we haven’t seen a MS-branded desktop or laptop. Perhaps that’s going to change moving forward, but seriously, how are their main OEMs going to take all of this?

    As for Surface, I really like the concept of having both a tablet and a laptop all in one. We’re talking traditional laptop too, which is able to actually play PC games and whatnot. It’s a very good idea and I’m surprised that their press conference was handled the way it was. Had a distinct Apple feel to it, which is smart for investors and the market in general.

    Anyone who is interested in playing Xbox Live Arcade games on the go can already do so right now with the Windows Phones on the market, and I think this is why the tablet was created in the first place. Microsoft has been really displeased with the Nokia deal they have going on right now. Their phone platform has failed to generate public interest even with all the bells and whistles they’ve added. You can even get achievements, message Xbox Live friends and so much more.

    We know SmartGlass will surely be integrated into this tablet and like Ahmed said it should be interesting to see if Microsoft decides to add in any extras. If I were them I’d make it so the experience is enhanced with all Windows devices from W8 PCs to Windows Phones and the new Metro-enabled tablets like this one.

    The real question now is, how expensive will these two tablets be? If they’re higher than the iPad they won’t make much of a dent, unless they specifically target the Ultra Book market. If they’re lower or around the price of the iPad though, well that could be quite interesting.

    1. Just updated the post with stats.

      While having the surface made like a laptop is smart and unique, I fear that it won’t run as smooth as an Apple because of the associated problems that PCs have with crashes, errors, slowdown and the like. Plus, we’ll have to install an anti-virus on that tablet, which sounds weird.

      1. Microsoft’s biggest “win” with this announcement is that they’re trying something different. That alone deserves mentioning. Sure this is going to run the Windows we all know so well, but I’m thankful the company put a lot of effort into this device. The #1 complaint with the iPad is the digital keyboard. No matter how good you get, it doesn’t replace a tactile keyboard and never will. Microsoft has solved that problem perfectly, by building the keyboard directly into the case, which I for one absolutely love. I think that was a genius move.

        The fallout from the Surface’s announcement is starting to ramp up now on technology sites. We’re starting to hear a lot of OEMs voice their concern about not being informed ahead of time, how this device will give them competition and if the price comes in lower then their own devices they will not be pleased as they have to pay Windows license fees, which obviously MS does not. From the second this was announced that was one of my first thoughts, how are the OEMs going to take this. You have a very fine line you have to straddle in order to keep your closest partners happy when entering the hardware business. Now MS is not just going up against Apple, but also Dell, Asus, Toshiba, LG, Samsung, etc. These are all the companies that give MS billions each year for Windows licenses.

        In the end I think the success of this device will come down to pricing. I believe the ARM version will come in somewhere near the iPad, but the i5 version was said to be comparable to Ultra Books, which are significantly more expensive.

        1. Good point. Haven’t thought of it that way. No wonder why Microsoft doesn’t usually try out new hardware. On the other hand, they did say that the Surface will be availably exclusively through Microsoft Stores and their online sites, so that type of availability shouldn’t upset anyone. The regular surface isn’t that enticing though, it’s the Surface Pro which looks and sounds really good.

          1. I think what they meant to say was it will be available in their shops at launch, because those MS shops are only in the states, and their online shops are only available in limited countries. So bottom line, it will be available at your regular shops afterwards for sure. As for the model, yeah the Pro model is indeed the interesting one. The only fear I have is that they said it will be priced as an Ultrabook, which means $1,200 and above O_o That said, this is a full fledged PC.

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