The Microsoft Surface

Microsofthas now finally entered the tablet market with a very viable product that could potentially rival the Apple’s best selling iPad: the Surface.

The Microsoft Surface is thin, lightweight and will be released in two versions: the Surface RT and the Surface Pro. The RT will run on an ARM based platform while the more powerful Pro version will run on an Intel platform. The differences don’t end there.

The Surface RT will be only using the Metro user interface but will come with either 32GB or 64GB or RAM, a 10.6-inch HD display, microSD and USB 2.0 slots plus a 31.5W-h battery.The weight of the RT clocks in at 676g (14g more than the new Wi-Fi plus 4G iPad model) and will be 9.3mm in thickness – quite chunky when you consider this is the “lighter” version of the Surface. Thankfully, the RT will come preloaded with Microsoft Home and Student 2013 RT.

The Surface Pro will let users use the Metro or the classic desktop user interface. Unfortunately, the weight of this version tops the scales at 930g which is closer in weight to the 11.6-inch MacBook Air. The reason for the heft is due to the inclusion of an Intel Ivy Bridge i5 processor. With a processor of that capacity, we can only assume, a fan will accompany the i5. The Pro also comes with either 64GB and 128GB of memory, has a stylus plus MicroSDXC and USB 3.0 ports and packs a more powerful battery (42W-h).

Both models will feature front- and rear-facing cameras, built-in kickstands, stereo speakers, dual microphones, SmartGlass and an incredibly clever cover cum keyboard. Unfortunately, the word on the street is that the Surface will potentially be 4G-less and pricey (Microsoft hasn’t directly addressed both points with critics) which could make or break the Surface’s chance at carving out a share of the tablet market.

Unfortunately, there is no official release date for the Surface other than sometime “this fall” for the RT with the Pro coming out about 90 days later.

Is there enough room in the competitive and fickle tablet market for Microsoft? We’re watching and waiting.

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