The Microsoft Surface with Windows RT is a pretty darn good device (read my review here), but a number of people decided to hold out for the more powerful Surface with Windows 8 Pro. If you’re in the latter camp, you’ll be pleased to know that the device is still on track for a late-January release.
While the Surface Pro’s battery life won’t last as long as the nine-hour battery on the Surface RT, it makes up for it with a more powerful Intel Ivy Bridge processor for better performance and a higher resolution, as well as support for legacy desktop applications. Microsoft originally stated that “Surface for Windows RT will release with the general availability of Windows 8, and the Windows 8 Pro model will be available about 90 days later.” While most assumed that this number was just an approximation, that might not actually be the case.
CNET talked to a number of Microsoft’s retail stores located around the United States and Canada, and while most were hesitant to commit to a date, one said that it “expects the new tablet on January 26.” Not coincidentally, this is exactly three months days after the launch of Windows 8. Of course, other sources seem to believe it’ll be more like January 29. If Microsoft follows the same pattern it did with the Surface RT launch, official details could arrive as soon as January 16. An announcement during CES next week is possible but unlikely, due to Microsoft’s decreased presence at the show.
When Microsoft announced the Surface tablet, which packs an integrated kickstand and magnetically-attached Touch/Type Cover keyboard, many wondered just how well it would work in various usage scenarios. So far, I’ve been impressed with the device.
Placing the Surface on a – erm – surface, as you would with a traditional laptop, works extremely well, and you can even do it sans cover for a nice viewing experience or a family photo. Holding it in your hands works well too, despite its relatively large and quite wide 10.6-inch screen. It weighs about the same as an iPad, so if you can hold that device without your arms feeling fatigued, you’ll feel right at home with the Surface.
These scenarios, however, weren’t what people were worried about. I’m pleased to say that the Surface works great in your lap too. The Touch Cover is rigid enough to avoid bending while on your legs, and I hardly noticed the feel of the kickstand. Of course, if you’re the kind of person who likes to sit at an odd angle, you might have to straighten yourself a bit before getting work done. It works great on an airplane too. I took my Surface with me on a business trip, and I was surprised to discover that it fit perfectly on the tray table, allowing me to get work done or watch a video in comfort while in flight.
Overall, the Surface has proven to be very versatile and equipped for nearly every situation. The inclusion of the keyboard, large screen, and Office have made it easier to be both productive and entertained than any other tablet I’ve ever used.
Microsoft officially launched the Surface and Windows 8 in New York City today, priming the pump for general availability at midnight tonight. Panos Panay, the General Manager of the Surface team, joined Windows and Windows Live President Steven Sinofsky on stage to show off the beautiful device, which blurs the line between tablets and laptops. Put simply, “Surface is the ultimate expression of Windows.”
The two went into great detail regarding the design of the Surface, from the custom 10.6-inch 16:9 display to the Touch Cover, integrated kickstand, weight, microSDXC card slot, and camera design. Passion for the device excuded from Sinofsky and Panay, and it was easy to see just how excited they were to be showing the device off to the world. At one point, Sinofsky even gave his Surface a big hug.
Microsoft launched its Surface ad campaign during Monday Night Football this evening, highlighting the device’s great features and distinctive clicking sound. The TV spot, dubbed “The Surface Movement,” is a departure from your typical Microsoft advertisement, but it still does a great job of appealing to all sorts of people.
Musically, it’s not all that dissimilar from the original Surface teaser, thanks to its catchy, upbeat score with just a bit of dubstep. In addition to highlighting the touch/type cover’s magnetic hinge, the spot showcases the device’s touchscreen, handy kickstand, and wide range of colors. Students, kids, business professionals, and even grandparents are shown using, dancing with, and spinning around the Surface.
Microsoft Surface launches on October 26, alongside Windows 8. We still don’t many details about the exact specs and pricing, but there are rumors that these important pieces of information will be announced tomorrow. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to click in.
When the Microsoft Surface tablet launches in two weeks alongside Windows 8, it’ll be sold exclusively at Microsoft Stores. This is in comparison to the hundreds of other Windows 8 PCs and devices - from manufacturers like Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Samsung, and Sony - which have already gone up for pre-order through a variety of retailers including Amazon, Best Buy, Staples, Office Depot, and the Microsoft Store. But, according to Microsoft watcher Paul Thurrott, “major retailers will be selling Surface starting early next year.”
This delay is likely to give Microsoft’s partners time to sell their devices in the market before customers begin to flock to Microsoft’s debut first-party PC. Thurrott’s statement has also been backed up by Neowin’s sources, which claim that Best Buy will have the device in stock in January – just in time to sell the Surface Pro. We still don’t know what how the Surface and Surface Pro will be priced, let alone many of the technical specs. But with only 12 days until the big launch event in New York, we shouldn’t have to wait long.
The exciting Microsoft Surface tablet will be available for purchase on October 26, according to Microsoft’s US Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing. The tablet will go on sale on the same day as Windows 8, fulfilling Microsoft’s promise to release the ARM-based version of the Surface around the time of Windows 8’s General Availability (GA).
Microsoft plans to sell the Surface exclusively in Microsoft stores for an as-yet-unannounced price. It will, however, “be competitive with a comparable ARM tablet.” The same goes for the Surface Pro, which will be similar in pricing to an Intel Ultrabook-class PC when it is released 90 days after the Surface. In other words, a $500-$1,000 range for the whole Surface lineup probably isn’t too far-fetched.
The question now is whether or not to pick up an ARM-based Surface or wait for the Intel-based Surface Pro, which is a full-fledged PC.
Speaking to an audience of assembled manufacturers, developers, press, and other industry folks at the first of three Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) keynotes, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer noted that “Surface is just a design point.” In the weeks since the Surface announcement, many have wondered whether Microsoft is opening fire on its hardware partners by selling its own PCs. Ballmer’s statement, however, aims to set the record straight.
“Surface is just a design point. It will have a distinct place in what’s a broad Windows ecosystem. And the importance of the thousands of partners that we have that design and produce Windows computers will not diminish. We have a mutual goal with our OEM partners to bring a diversity of solutions, Windows PCs, phones, tablets, servers to market. And what we seek to have is a spectrum of stunning devices, stunning Windows devices. So, every consumer, every business customer can say, ‘I have the perfect PC for me.’ … We’re excited about the work our OEM partners are doing on Windows 8.”
Now, of course, Ballmer would say something like that at a conference targeted at its partners, but it’s also accurate. The Surface will only be sold through Microsoft Stores, as previously revealed, and the Redmond-based company’s goal is to sell “a few million” devices before the end of the year. This leaves plenty of room for Windows 8 and Windows RT devices from Microsoft’s longstanding partners. Surface is exciting, but it’s merely a jumping off point for the next generation of computing devices running Windows.
Microsoft is officially in the hardware game, folks! The company’s major announcement is none other than its own line of PCs, which have been designed to perfectly blend tablets and laptops. The Surface is, at its most basic level, a 10.6-inch tablet with a kickstand, pen, and magnetically attachable cover. This cover, however, also doubles as a multitouch keyboard and trackpad, allowing you to turn the device into a full-fledged laptop.
There will be two different versions of the Surface at launch (ARM-based or Intel-based), each with two options for internal storage (32GB/64GB or 64GB/128GB, respectively). The Intel Surface is slightly larger and has better specs than its companion, but that’s because it runs Windows 8 Pro and includes full backwards compatibility for desktop applications. The ARM Surface, on the other hand, comes with Office 2013 RT preinstalled and doesn’t require the use of fans.
The Surface is very impressive, especially for Microsoft’s first-ever computer. Exact pricing and availability haven’t been revealed yet, but it’s expected to launch around the release of Windows 8 at a competitive price point. Only time will tell whether Microsoft has a hit on its hands, but we certainly think so.