At a press release today Microsoft announced the Surface Tablet, Microsoft’s foray into the tablet market. The unit is made of lightweight magnesium, has a 10.6″ HD ClearType display with full size USB, 2X2 MIMO Wifi, Display Port, microSDXC, Gorilla Glass screen and a built in kickstand . Much like the Apple Smartcover, screen covers connect via magnets however there’s also the Touch Cover, a 3mm thick cover that’s actually a pressure sensitive multi-touch keyboard and trackpad as well as the Type Cover, a 5mm thick fully tactile keyboard/cover combo.
The unit will come in both an Intel version running Windows 8 or an ARM variant running Windows RT. The Intel version is slighly thicker and heavier at 13.5mm and 1.9lb compared with 9.2mm and 1.5lbs for the ARM version. The Intel unit will also support a dual digitiser setup that supports both touch and Digital Ink with an active pen and also USB 3.0. The unit will be available in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB versions depending on processor platform.
From my perspective the major winner will be the Corporate clients. Many are looking at how to integrate tablet computing into their corporate networks and in a lot of ways Android and iOS just don’t cut it. Integration with Active Directory and being able to run corporate apps natively are just two of the big benefits of a Microsoft Windows tablet.
No pricing is available yet however Microsoft says that it should be competitive with a comparable ARM tablet or Intel Ultrabook-class PC.
Apple, Google or Microsoft……more choice has to be good doesn’t it?