While Windows 8, Microsoft’s latest OS, had had its grand introduction to consumers, showing off in whatever a beta version could, it had not gotten its foot into the door, with smartphones and tablets yet to adopt the new OS. Of course, users may have gotten a hint of the OS with Nokia’s Lumia range of phones, but until its actual launch, users would just have to be patient.
But further whetting the appetite, Microsoft have now gone for a one-two punch approach, offering not only software to consumers, but a brand new hardware to go along with Windows 8, their new range of tablet PCs, Microsoft Surface.
The move, as described by Microsoft chief executive, was to give the software "its own companion hardware,” describing the Surface as "a whole new community of computing devices."
It is being seen as quite a progressive move by Microsoft, as the company will now be making its entrance into the smartphone and tablet industry, certainly ruffling feathers at Apple and Samsung.
The Surface was unveiled by Ballmer in Los Angeles yesterday night. It features Windows 8 in addition to having either an Inter or ARM based processor. The samples unveiled revealed a standard tablet outlook, with a 10.6-inch display, magnesium casing and a built-in kickstand. According to the company, the ARM-based Surface will be 0.4 inches thick, with the chipset most likely to be built by Nvidia, while for those using Intel’s x86 technology, it will be 0.5 inches thick. As to storage, the Surface will offer 32GB and 64GB for the ARM-based Surface, while the Intel one will boast 64GB and 128GB.
The Surface will also come with a Touch Cover, which will work as both a key board and track pad with some versions having keys that can be depressed. Another feature being offered is that of "digital ink" - which will involve the use of a stylus, which, when used on the tablet, will ignore users hand input and "samples" the ink at 600dpi (dots per inch).
Of course, techies had quite a bit to say about Microsoft’s latest product. Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi said, “They seem to be targeting a professional audience. So they are going head-to-head with Apple within the corporate sector. Price will be key - these devices won't be at the bottom end of the market. They will probably let other manufacturers fight over that space." Sarah Rotman Epps wrote on the Forrester blog, "Microsoft will be its own worst enemy in this market. Consumers aren't used to thinking about chipsets. Choice is a key tenet of Windows, but too much choice is overwhelming for consumers. Apple gets this, and limits iPad options to connectivity, storage, and black… or white."