Microsoft surfaces in the tablet arena with Surface tablet

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So the rumours were indeed true. Microsoft has finally ventured aggressively into the burgeoning world of tablets with its own hardware – the Surface tablet PC to take on Apple’s bestselling iPad.

At an event in Hollywood, which the media called Microsoft’s mystery conference, as the company did not reveal the agenda beforehand, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer spoke about the company’s long history with successful hardware products before unveiling the tablet.

“Tablet that’s a great PC – a PC that’s a great tablet,” said Steven Sinofsky, president of Microsoft’s Windows division, describing the Surface.

Microsoft had back in 2001 released Microsoft Tablet PC specifications and a few tablet PCs did turn up in the market, but without much success.

The Surface tablet has been designed and engineered by Microsoft. The company has announced two different versions of the Surface tablet with differing specifications one for Windows RT running an ARM processor and the other for Windows 8 Pro with a third-generation Intel Core processor. Surface for Windows RT will release along with Windows 8 and the Windows 8 Pro model will be available about three months later.

The Microsoft Surface includes full-sized USB port and the 10.6″ screen and is in 16:9 aspect ratio. The tablet’s edges are angled at 22 degrees. The tablet has a magnesium casing.

In an effort to make its tablet product stand apart from the competition Microsoft has included a few innovative features. The first is the integrated kickstand and the second is a 5-mm think touch cover, that not only acts as a magnetically-connected screen cover but also doubles up as touch keyboard with a multitouch keypad.

Microsoft Surface tablet specifications

Windows RT model: 676 g, 9.3 mm, 10.6″ ClearType HD Display, 31.5 W-h, microSD, USB 2.0, Micro HD Video, 2×2 MIMO antennae, 32 GB or 64 GB.

Windows 8 Pro: 903 g, 13.5 mm, 10.6″ ClearType Full HD Display, 42 W-h, microSDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort Video, 2×2 MIMO antennae, 64 GB or 128 GB.

(Surface for Windows 8 Pro also includes a Pen with Palm Block)

Microsoft hasn’t announced the prices for its tablet devices and said that they will be announced closer to availability and will be comparable to ARM tablet or Intel Ultrabook-class PC prices. Microsoft did not reveal any details about the Surface tablets’ battery.