By Frank Ling
Microsoft was teasing the press and the public last week when it mysteriously said that it would make a major announcement about something in a few days. When Microsoft set this up it was going for maximum public relations effect and it accomplished this by setting off the rumor mills in the industry at full tilt.
Tuesday, June 19, was the big day for the revelation and it was a remarkable one for many – Microsoft revealed its first Windows 8 tablet for the entire world to see and from preliminary reactions from the press, it may give the iPad some serious competition.
Scratching the Surface
The new Windows 8 device is named the “Surface” tablet and will come in two operating system configurations. The first version will be running under a modified Windows 8 OS called Windows RT. These will be available in 32GB and 64GB models. Pricing will start at around $499.
The second version will be operating from a full Windows 8 environment and will be offered in 64GB and 128GB setups. Industry watchers think these tablets will be priced near the $1K mark.
So far, the details for the new Surface tablet are scarce. But what is known is very intriguing. The Microsoft tablets will have magnesium cases, have 10.6-inch HD touchscreens, include front and rear cameras, run on processors designed by ARM, and be electronic pen friendly.
One big surprise is the addition of a touch-sensitive full keyboard that is incorporated into the device's top cover that essentially turns it into a small notebook. No word on this being an option or a standard feature yet.
Availability and impact
Microsoft says its Surface tablets will be ready to ship sometime in the fall. There are many tablet manufacturers out there already, but very few have the clout and power backing Microsoft.
If the Big M can pull this one off, it may start a new electronics war between its Surface and Apple's iPad. If this happens you can be sure to expect lower pricing on their tablets as they fight it out to get customers into their respective camps.
Frank Ling is the SF Gadgets Examiner. He is a writer, professional photographer, video producer, and video editor. One of his favorite jobs was working at a large video game publisher.