Microsoft Enters the Tablet Market with ‘Surface’

Remember Microsoft? They’re the corporation that copied the Mac OS back in the day of Jobs (to be fair, Jobs stole the Mac OS from Xerox), calling their own iteration “Windows.” It’s a pretty popular thing now, even in the light of the more dire releases like Vista. Still, they’ve seemed to bring things back with Windows 8, their newest addition to the fleet that releases later this year. It’s very tablet-centered and hopes to give a breath of fresh air to everything Microsoft was ever known for, even the Start button — it’s not even there anymore.

But what about some sort of hardware? I mean, Microsoft is known for software on the PC front, but not really for hardware or anything like Apple. They only have a nice big market share of console gaming and that’s about it. Today, the Redmond, WA-based corporation plans to change all of that with a new tablet they announced in Los Angeles called the “Surface.” No, don’t worry, it’s not that table you may have heard about, it’s an actual tablet and it looks pretty nice. A brief analysis with some more info is available after the break.

With great pride, Steve Ballmer introduced a remarkable new tablet that could change everything we know about PCs. It’s not your normal notebook or desktop, it’s a complete change – it’s a tablet. That piece of information may not be so surprising to you though because Windows 8 is, after all, a more tablet-centered OS as I said before and Microsoft is putting great emphasis on this fact.

Ah, but there’s more to it than just the tablet factor of the software; Microsoft unveiled a piece of hardware today, which is not something to be coughed at. It’s quite the opposite, really.

I’ll admit that it’s not an iPad competitor, but Microsoft isn’t trying to make it one. This is a completely different league that they’re trying to head. Instead of being competition, they’re hoping to show Apple and Google what the tablet industry should really be like with a fresh version of their own [previously desktop] OS on it. Not much has been said about the specs, but the “RT” model will apparently include an ARM processor, with better and more powerful solutions for superusers – an faster CPU and such – to come in the “Pro” edition.

The outward appearance of the Surface reminds me of Sony products in a way with beautiful liquid metal. It’s not ugly, mind you, just a bit different from everyday tablets, also using a “VaporMg” finish on the shell. There will be a physical and touch keyboard, titled the Type Cover and Touch Cover, respectively. The physical one also includes a multitouch trackpad for those of you who need a more traditional notebook experience. They’re actually quite nice, save for the fact that they snap on much like an iPad Smart Cover does using magnetics.

Microsoft wants Surface to redefine what we think computers should be, what they will be in the future, and how terrible they used to be. (Remember those days when they were clunky bricks that had a stylus? Thankfully, things have changed since then.) They want to show you how much technology has really progressed all these years, ipso facto it’s come so far that they – Microsoft (!) – seeks to enter the PC hardware industry. Now, think about it. Yes yes, they have the Xbox, Kinect, a plethora of peripherals (mouses, keyboards, etc.), and all that, but they’re not a PC manufacturer and never have been. Nobody ever thought of them as being one until now either.

It’s all going to change though, hopefully. The Surface is, despite the horrible naming choice, Microsoft’s future. If they do things right, it could mean a lot for the company. If they mess things up with a terrible pricing scheme, then say bye-bye to that dream. I see a lot of potential in this new idea, but right now it’s nothing more than an idea that’s being developed for the future.

There’s really not much else to know about this new tablet since Microsoft is saying little on the subject. They’re not telling us when it’s releasing, what the price will be, what the exact specs are, if there’ll be customization (chassis colors, RAM, etc.), or anything of the sort. They want you to hype it up first so they can release it this holiday season in hopes to gobble up a good deal of the market share. If all goes according to rumor, Apple might just have some new hardware to offer by then as well, but we’ll see.

[Learn more about the Microsoft Surfaceofficial product pagehands-on by The Verge]

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