At a much hyped event in Los Angeles this evening, Microsoft took the wraps off its long-anticipated foray into the tablet computing arena. The new tablet, called Surface, marks a rare instance where Microsoft has designed both the hardware and software for a computing device.
Surface comes in two versions, both featuring a 10.6 inch, high res, 16:9 display, USB 3.0, front and rear-facing cameras and a kick-stand for easy viewing.
A more consumer friendly version of the tablet is just 9.3 mm thin, (a little thinner than the iPad) and 1.5 lbs (a little heavier than the iPad). It runs Windows RT, which is a confusing name that Microsoft has given the version of Windows 8 that will run on most phones and other tablets. This version of Surface will be available in 32 GB and 64 GB models.
There will also be a Pro version of Surface that's thicker (13.5 mm) and features an Intel Ivy Bridge processor running the full version of Windows 8 just like a PC would. The Pro model will come in either 64 GB or 128 GB.
One of the coolest things announced about Surface are Touch Covers, which are like Apple's well-received Smart Covers but with an awesome twist— in addition to acting as a sleek, magnetic cover for your Surface, Touch Covers also feature a full keyboard and track pad. The covers come in a variety of bold colors and are just 3 mm thick.
Microsoft hasn't yet released price or release date info for either version of Surface, but it says the tablet will be released around the Windows 8 launch this fall and priced competitively.
So what do you think? Does Surface have what it takes to be a hit like Xbox and Kinect? Or will it flop and be forgotten like the Zune and Kin phone?