If you have been following our coverage of Windows 8, whether it be early looks, the new logo, the consumer preview or the most recent release preview, there has been one consistent question: would Microsoft make a branded device to be the flagship of the OS? That question was answered Monday when Microsoft unveiled Microsoft Surface.
Now, you might recognize that name from CES 2011 or CES 2012 as the Samsung SUR40, a 40-inch, Microsoft-powered, massively multi-touch device powered by PixelSense. Well, that technology will now reside under the PixelSense moniker, as that is really the underlying technology, and the new Windows 8 tablet family will take on the Surface branding in its place.
So, what is so special about this Microsoft flagship Windows 8 tablet? Hit the break to find out more and see Microsoft's announcement video.
Microsoft has decided with this tablet that they want to show that the future of portable computing is not as fragmented as Apple would have you believe. There is a way to have one OS run across all of your devices, including your phone, with proper communication between them. It also means that tablets can finally be used for productivity as opposed to the Apple or Google model of portable Internet devices.
One of the most unique aspects of this device is the data/input port and magnetic connectors on the bottom. The use that Microsoft showed off was a full, pressure-sensitive keyboard complete with trackpad. This keyboard can also serve as a protective cover for the screen. The nice thing is, for those of us who use our tablets in rooms filled with hundreds, if not thousands, of wireless signals, this keyboard is wired. No need to worry about wireless interference from the other Bluetooth devices in the room, or other wireless devices in similar frequency ranges, like microphones. This flips the concept of a "convertible" by making it into a tablet first, laptop second. While this was the only use described for the bottom panel, my guess is that Microsoft will open this up to accessory manufacturers to add other cool accessories.
There will be 2 major models of the device, one ARM-powered, running Windows 8 RT, and one Intel-powered, running Windows 8 Professional. Of course, each device will have memory choices: 32GB and 64GB for ARM and 64GB and 128GB for Intel. Add to this the ability to run Office 15 on both devices, plus the built-in kickstand, full USB support (2.0 for ARM and 3.0 for Intel), expandable memory (via microSD card) and full HD video output, plus a 10.6" HD screen, and this is a tablet unlike any on the market today.
Personally, I would like one yesterday, but since I am not in control of that decision, I will have to wait until the fall to get a hold of one of these.