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Microsoft Surface Unveiled Last Night, Have Any Thoughts on It?

Yesterday afternoon or early evening (depending on where you are located), Microsoft unveiled their next big thing to the tech world, a tablet called Surface. I know, I know what you are thinking, “Just what we need, another damn tablet.” This one doesn’t look all that bad though. It comes in a couple of versions – RT and Pro. They have 10.6″ HD displays, full USB ports (2.0 on the RT, 3.0 on the Pro), run versions of Windows 8, are incredibly thin (9.3mm and 13.5mm), have a variety of storage sizes (32GB, 64GB, and 128GB), vapor protected finishes and built-in kickstands.

Along with the hardware, they have a really exciting set of accessories as well. See that picture above? It’s like a Smartcover for an iPad, only it has a touch sensitive keyboard built into it which includes a multi-touch touchpad.

We aren’t sure how much these suckers will cost, but Microsoft mentioned netbooks and low-end computers at some point in their presentation last night, so you can imagine they’ll be competitive. Overall, I’d say I came away impressed. Whether or not that means I’ll buy one is something else altogether.

What about you? Have any thoughts on Microsoft’s latest and greatest? 


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  • Aardvark99

    No one wants a tablet with no software! Android tablets have access to the huge library of phone apps and many developers familiar with the Android platform to create new tablet optimized applications – and still being killed by the iPad. Windows 8 RT doesn’t have any of those things! No existing apps and no army of developers – unless you count Silverlight/WPF developers, but take it from me Metro is different enough that it’s not a trivial change (plus how many of them are there?). Microsoft’s only chance is running legacy Windows applications on that Pro version. Hope that it takes off and it buys enough time for a ecosystem of Metro applications to develop.

  • Droid4LifeDawg

    That is a Bad Azz, and I can’t wait for the Pro…

  • Although I wish the Surface RT had a higher resolution, they’re both really great looking products. I am going to seriously consider getting that Pro tablet, it is exactly what I’ve always wanted.

  • New_Guy

    Very clean design, although I’m not a fan of the touch keyboard…

    Overall, I’ll stick with Asus’ TF300

  • summit1986

    If I can run VAGCOM diagnostics for my VW GTI on it, I’ll be buying one.

  • AlanG

    This looks like a nice interface, and but I am wondering if the blue screen of death is also tiled.

  • MisterKnowItAll

    The Pro version is what I’ve been waiting for. I use many software packages that communicate with systems related to industrial automation and process control. These only operate under Windows OS, and will never be developed for any other OS – not a good thing, but just the way industrial stuff is. So the Pro Surface will be a way cool device for fun and work. I will buy this, or maybe some ASUS Transformer version of the same idea. My money is ready to be spent.

  • MKader17

    Thanks for posting this guys. This is really a beautifu,l not copied idea. Now we just need Android to start kanging it! 🙂

  • David Hussey

    Apple and Microsoft make Google’s lack of a real desktop operating system look REALLY glaring. The Surface Pro looks like a fantastic ultrabook alternative.

  • Tabletito

    iPad and Android killer

    • New_Guy


      • Could be. Time will tell.

  • Bionicman

    a bit OT but what the hell: http://betanews.com/2012/06/18/would-you-believe-android-tablet-adoption-is-even-with-ipad/
    anyways.. i like what Microsoft has unveiled. I think price is important and they may price themselves right out of the market. If pricing is competitive, i will definitely be interested.

    • New_Guy

      HIstorically, Windows Tablet prices have been outrageous. Search one on Amazon and a decent one (Samsung) is around $1200

  • jcastle482

    This is what i expected to happen, just glad Microsoft got it out before apple.

  • Google and Apple have to be very scared right now. This is quite impressive from Microsoft. If they price it correctly it will take total control of the tablet market incredibly quickly.

  • Will

    holy shite…AWESOME! I was waiting for a solid droid tablet. ummmmm, I think I found my new purchase. Microsoft may have found a winner here!

  • snacknuts

    As someone who has never been interested in the iPad or Android tablets, this thing hits a sweet spot for me between form and function. If these have a reasonable price and battery life, I’ll be all over one.

  • DanWazz

    The pro looks like a solid laptop option.

  • Alexa White

    Is it just me, or does 1.35 cm not seem “incredibly thin?”

    It might be useful to have this vs a laptop if I needed it for work while traveling, but I don’t see myself having it for personal use.

  • They look pretty nice, I’m assuming the pricing will be in the ball park of the iPad. If it can run the Adobe Creative Suite then I’ll be all over this.

  • crazysamz

    This was what I was expecting when Jobs anounced the original Ipad 2 years ago. A tablet that can very well take on a full PC in terms of functionality, in a new form factor. I think Microsoft can really pull it off, together with their hardware partners and really make the tablet industry take off!

  • I finally bought a tablet this weekend, and the only thing about this announcement that’s making me regret getting an iPad 2 is the sweet keyboard smart cover that this thing has. I’m sure Apple will invent it soon enough, though. 🙂

    I was reallllly disappointed to see that all of the Android tablets at Frys were so crappy. I went into the store planning on leaving with a decent Android tablet at a better price than the cheapest iPad. Man… what a bust. The best Andy tab they had was the Galaxy Tab 2, and it was $20 more than the iPad 2 (which I later got another $70 off of because it was an open box item with the charging brick missing). Seriously… if Android/Google (or Microsoft) wants to compete with the big dog, they need to come in with a lower price point on COMPARABLE hardware. I know there are decent $199 Android tablets… but 7” tablets can suck it.

  • je2345

    Finally! A real Tablet that can exist in its own without the need for PC or Mac at home and looks great along with sweet accessories. I will get one on launch day. This will look great next to my white Galaxy S III while tethered.

  • c4v3man

    At <$1000, the Surface Pro would be a really nice device to have. However, at $500, the regular Surface just seems like another iPad clone at iPad prices, at which point, why not just buy an iPad? Sure you'll get Office included on the non-pro surface, but alot of home users just don't care.

    I can definitely see it taking off in the corporate market, with it also putting a nice dent in the medical field as well. I'd expect it to be easier to develop and sell apps on Microsoft's market than it will be through the iTunes App Store. And isn't Microsoft doing some sort of pricing structure so that the more you sell, the less you have to give to Microsoft percentage-wise? That's going to be big to players like Intuit, Adobe, etc.

    For me… the Pro is the only configuration I'd consider, and only at a reasonable sub-$1000 pricepoint. For a consumption-tablet (aka, iPad, Android Tablet, etc), it really makes more sense in a 7" form factor, at least for my usage cases. So much easier to one-hand the unit, easier to type while holding it (and not propping it on your lap/table), and can fit in many large pockets.

    Since Google is bringing the cost for a premier-level experience down to $200ish, I still think Android has a place – the low-end space. Whether or not that place is where Google wants to be, that's another question…

    • Why not just buy an iPad? Because for many many people the RT tablet will be running an OS that they are very familiar with from their desktop experience (once Win8 has gotten good home penetration, that is). If having to choose between a tablet that is totally different than your desktop experience (Android, iOS) and one that is pretty much the same, I see most average users choosing the one that they’re familiar with (providing the price is right).

      • Actually, the RT is only going to run an OS that Windows Mobile users are familiar with.

        • Yeah… that’s wrong. It looks just like Win8, just with no classic desktop. So once people have Win8 on their home PCs, it’ll definitely be familiar to them.

          • So, like Windows Mobile/Phone 7?

          • Sure, like that AND Win8. So again, people with Win8 at home will be much more familiar with it than they would Android or iOS… I don’t know how you can dispute that.

          • Because they’re going to be launched simultaneously. There’s no window (pardon the pun) to get acquainted with the OS (outside of Windows Mobile).

          • Sure there’s a window. The window following the Win8 release. It’s not like they’re going to scrap Surface if it isn’t a blockbuster right out of the gate. They’ll give it time.

          • c4v3man

            New UI’s from Microsoft typically have poor market penetration at first… look at Vista. Corporations aren’t likely to touch WIndows 8 immediately, and that’s a massive chunk of Microsoft’s market. Home users obviously won’t have much of a choice, but it remains to be seen how rapidly home users will adopt Windows 8. Certainly devices like the Surface Pro will help them entice new users, since Metro is designed especially for devices like the Surface pro. But your grandma, using her old computer, is unlikely to purchase Windows 8 Upgrade, and have a good experience.

          • Yeah… I just agreed with you on this premise above. 😉

      • c4v3man

        In my opinion, that’s not really accurate. Windows 8, and namely Metro, is a radical departure from Windows 7, let alone Windows XP. It’s more likely that someone will pick up an Android tablet, and know how to use it, than pick up a Windows 8 RT tablet, and know how to use it, simply because of market penetration. Windows Phone 7 has what, 3-4% market penetration? Android has like 60% of the market. That means that more people will be familiar with Android’s UI, than they will with Metro.

        I’m not saying that people won’t learn how to use Metro, they will. But for at least the first year of it’s release, alot of people likely won’t have experience with Metro at all.

        • Agree. This won’t reach its full potential until (if?) Win8 is widely adopted into homes, making people more familiar with Metro.

        • Kernschatten

          Agreed. Win8 is not the Windows experience that people are used to. And WinRT is an even greater departure.

        • So what’s not accurate with what i said? I stated “(once Win8 has gotten good home penetration, that is)”. Not trying to say that it’s more intuitive and people will be able to pick it up right away. BUT once Win8 gets good market penetration people will definitely be familiar with Metro. I don’t think we’re in disagreement, I just didn’t go into the whole market penetration in depth.

  • Jason Purp

    ….they’ve done it

  • MrEnglish

    First time ever I’ve seen a Microsoft product and thought to myself I wish my Apple product had that. I just like that cover with the built-in keyboard that’s the thing that makes for me. If this works as intended it’s a great idea and I will definitely give it a try.

  • Destroythanet

    When it comes to the perfect form factor combining a keyboard with a tablet, ASUS does the best job with the Transformer series BY FAR.

    • I think MS may have something to say about that. The keyboard covers for Surface look like they could be pretty sweet.

  • Gtmike256

    The RT version isnt too outstanding, but it is a good all around tablet that will compete with the iPad. But the pro will be an awesome tablet if they can keep the price below $1000 and have a battery life greater than 4 hours.

  • I’m fairly confident I read that their pro is in the “ultra book” range. So i’d expect to see that version for about $1,000

  • skinja

    I think they would have a winner on their hands if they had screens a little bigger. I’d say 12″ to 14″ inches. It is hard to get real work done (like spreadsheets and word documents) on a 10.5″ screen even with a keyboard.

    Attention Transformer-type Tablet makers, Please make them with bigger screens and smaller bezels!

    • mcdonsco

      My comment is the opposite, i want to see more 8-9″‘ers

  • js

    Looking forward to them. I’ve been settling using my HP touchpad until an awesome Win8 tablet came out. This looks like a winner.

  • I bet the RT tablet will cost ~$350-550 while the Pro will cost ~$800-1000. (Those being the ranges based on the options you choose). The RT is what people will get who don’t need a computer but just need a device. The Pro is what people will get who need a computer but want it to double as a tablet.

    These devices are seriously bad news for Android tablets. Google REALLY needs to get Ubuntu on Android working, and quick – unless there’s a major surprise at Google I/O.

  • Al

    I was extremely impressed. Although I was hoping for an 8″ tab, this seems too tempting to pass up. I will definitely pick one up…..eventually 😀

  • These are honestly the tablets I’ve been waiting to see. The real question is if developers are going to get behind it. Apple has proven that development > OS. So, assuming that they can really push Metro apps that work across Windows 8 and Windows RT, they will go a loooong way towards having something incredibly powerful and compelling. If not, MS will fall.
    Your move, Microsoft.

  • Sinofue

    I thought they mentioned ultra books for price comparison. That would mean $1000-2000, no?

  • Jacob Arriola

    Welcome back Microsoft, we missed you!

    • cmonnats23

      Couldn’t have said it better myself. Hopefully this will get them back on the innovation front again.

    • Steve Wojciechowski

      I really hope this does well. I am so sick of everyone talking about the stupid iPad and how great it is; like it’s the next coming of christ. This will be a tablet that actually delivers, and is more than just a fancy apple branded toy.

  • RedPandaAlex

    It’s definitely competitive, but there’s no price and a lot can change by the time it comes to market. And as much as MS is calling this Windows 8/RT, metro is a whole new platform, and I wonder if people are going to be willing to invest in a whole new microsoft platform.

  • Was having a discussion with a friend and going over how awesome this thing is, and in reality, it’s 2 things.

    The regular version (Surface) is a simple tablet running Windows RT for an ARM that relies on Microsoft’s app market and ecosystem. In other words, it’s the type of tablet we’re all familiar with and a direct competitor to the iPad and Android tablets, so useless to me.

    The one that truly piques my interest is the Pro version (Surface Pro). This beast is quite literally a full blown PC: Intel i5, 128 GB drive, USB 3.0, 1920 x 1080. It will eat into sales of tablets and laptops if marketed properly. This thing can be a person’s one and only computing device. It can replace a tablet, laptop and desktop, and Microsoft needs to tell people exactly that.

    I’m afraid that Microsoft will not make it clear that there are 2 completely different versions of this thing and it will always be directly compared to the iPad, and that’s not fair.

    In summary, I EFFING WANT ONE!!!

    • RedPandaAlex

      But you have to think about the rate at which Android is evolving and think of what’s going to be available when it’s released in six months.

      • Android is not going to replace a desktop OS anytime soon, and I don’t think Google ever plans it to be a desktop OS.

        • MKader17

          Chrome OS + Ubuntu is what needs to happen

      • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

        Evolving? I love Android Phones but the tablet experience isn’t one to write home about.

    • I think most people will still have a desktop, unless they can simply dock this and have it run a larger monitor. I know I for one don’t want to review/edit pictures on a 10.6″ screen for long periods of time.

      • That’s true, that may be the one thing holding it back. They need a Pro 13″ or 15″ version.

        • c4v3man

          That’s the whole point… Surface is really nothing more than a Retail-accessible reference platform. You want a 13″ version? Buy from Dell, Acer, HP, Samsung, or any of the other OEM’s that will sell these devices.

          If anything, this is what Microsoft wants. People to get excited for their PLATFORM, then get to Best Buy, and say wow, I can get it in size X as well, with features Y and Z that the Microsoft Surface unit doesn’t have!

          • Ahh, I see. That’s a great idea.

          • unaffected

            That is a great point. It’s a win win either way for Microsoft.

      • epps720

        Could always look at the Asus AIO, where you dock the tablet into a larger monitor. It runs both Android and Windows 8 but don’t recall RT or the Pro version

        • Matt Cooper

          if it runs android i would assume it is Windows RT…but that is a guess.

      • zulu208

        it has the DisplayPort for hooking up to a bigger screen. That wasn’t mentioned in the article.

    • GazaIan

      Agreed. If the Pro isn’t ridiculously expensive then I’m getting rid of my iPad and Galaxy Tab 10.1 for this.

      • Haha, you can get rid of any laptops and desktops you have too once you get the Pro. The Pro is so freaking amazing.

        • Jarred Sutherland

          Problem is it runs Windows 8 .. from every experience I have had with Windows 8, it does not impress me in the least.

          • Christian

            I was kind of thinking the same thing but then I realized this is what Windows 8 was truly developed for. I guess we can’t really experience it properly until we can experience the devices they were targeting with Windows 8.

    • David

      It depends on the person as to what this can replace, because it really depends on What the person uses the laptop and desktop for. If you use it for casual things then sure it can replace it no problem.. But then again pretty much any tablet or smart phone could. If you actually need any type of power that isn’t limited by a battery source, or heat concerns then no, it won’t replace a laptop or a desktop. At the end of the day it is still a mobile device where processor’s are underclocked to avoid draining the battery in an hour and underclocked to keep from causing too much heat that would fry the thing and that’s just the reality of it. I see this as more of an ultrabook/tablet hybrid thing (ultratab?) then anything else. This is just microsoft trying to get into a market segment that’s showing to be popular.

  • Suralin

    Their promo video for it makes me want to buy one… Microsoft’s marketing & design teams have really hit a home run on this one. If they can price it competitively, they might end up winning the game.

  • noc007

    I almost want to just pat them on the head for trying to be cute. Personally I’d be interested if it was less than an Asus Transformer and I could run something other than Windows 8 on it; I have tried all of the Win8 previews and I just am not a fan of Metro or how things work in windowed environments. The keyboard cover is nifty though.

    BTW, what’s the deal with Balmer not smiling through the whole event? Be proud of your team’s work and taking the name from a slightly related project and putting it on a product that has a completely different form factor.

    • OBK1352

      it sounds like this is a real computer, so you should be able to install whatever OS you want.

      • noc007

        They’re releasing two primary models. The RT model will be a nVidia ARM based CPU and the Pro model will have an Intel x86/x64 Ivy Bridge based CPU. Obviously the Pro model could probably run another OS without much effort. I’d be curious to see an Android port running on the RT model.

        For either model, I’d only be remotely interested if it cost less than $400. That’s unlikely with the Pro model which they said would be priced at the Ultrabook price point. Personally I already have my heavy duty work laptop that does almost all I need; I just have an interest in something lighter with longer battery life for lounging around the house, extended travel, and extended meetings. I understand that’s just me though.

        • OBK1352

          If all you want is to lounge around the house, then the pro model is not intended for you anyway.

  • chris125

    Google needs to come up with something their os and lack of tablet apps are killing them with the ipad and now this.

  • derek connolly

    I tried the Windows 8 Consumer preview and I didn’t really like it. The metro UI is kinda cool but gets old. The lack of a start button on the desktop makes it really hard to get to your apps.

    • But this is a tablet. The metro UI seems to fit a tablet much better.

    • There’s definitely a learning curve to it. I find it kinda sad that it makes the traditional desktop feel like an app. It took me forever to figure out where the settings were on the first preview. I’ll be loading the CP on my old lappy to see if things are any better now.

    • Jake

      I have never played with itm so I really don’t know the answer to this question. How do you get to your apps in Windows 8? How is it different from the Apps button in the upper right-hand corner of Android Honeycomb/ICS tablets that no one at Best Buy can find?

  • teevirus

    Surface looks intriguing but if the “price is comparable to ultra books”
    then I think it is Dead On Arrival . $600 -$900 price point is too high

    • Well, the pro version will be priced comparable to ultra books, not the RT version.

    • RedPandaAlex

      Yeah, Motorola and Google know something about launching a tablet more expensive than the most popular tablet out there.

      • Hopefully Google will avoid that mistake, and really throw everyone for a loop at I|O in a couple of weeks.
        Crossing fingers.

    • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

      The “Pro” version will be price that high… but will also be a full blown windows PC/Tablet . . . Different beast all together.

    • Jake

      iPads and Macbook Airs sell in that range, so I don’t think the Surface Pro wil have a problem selling. It’s a fully functional computer with the portability of a tablet. If MS markets the point that this device could replace your notebook and tablet, people would see the price as being fair.

      • unaffected

        I’m afraid it’s not going to matter. People will look at it and say “that’s not an iPad, everyone has an iPad” and put it down. Not to mention the confusion for the average consumer between RT and Property versions.

    • MKader17

      $600 would be an amazing price for Intel i5, 128 GB drive, USB 3.0, 1920 x 1080, etc…

      Unless you are talking about the ARM version of this and in that case I agree 100%

    • cdick133

      They said netbook, not Ultrabooks (at least in DL’s summary, didn’t watch the actual video). You can find netbooks as cheep as $250, and usually not much more than $500

  • Tweekex

    The perfect tablet.

    • moelsen8

      the pro anwyay.

  • this looks legit. I can’t wait to actually test drive one and see if it can replace my laptop.

  • chris125

    Keyboard looks sweet. They should make this for more devices, would make a killing on the keyboard sales alone.

  • Greyhame

    Is that a rectangular shape with rounded edges?? Better watch out M$, apple owns that shape!

    • Matt Cooper

      I dont think Apple has it in them to sue Microsoft. MS would hit them back with patent brass knuckles. I dont think Apple wants to get into a patent war with Microsoft. They would lose, and probably pretty badly.

  • I think they nailed the case/cover with the built in keyboard. Would like to see something like that for Android!

  • moelsen8

    google should be freaking out right now. these products look incredible, especially the pro version. i think microsoft seriously found the answer that will bridge the gap between mobile and laptop with that one.

    edit: and it needs to be mentioned because google seriously needs to take note–end-to-end product design is awesome.

    • r0lct

      If the RT options are priced the same as Android tablets I think Google is going to be the #3 option in the tablet space. If that happens it’s really going to bolster MS’s prospects in the phone space down the road.

      • moelsen8

        definitely. and i don’t think microsoft is dumb enough to price themselves out of the game by not being similarly priced. i doubt anyone will choose an ipad over one of these, but next to most any android tablet? people would go with microsoft. i’m kind of scared about the ecosystem now. this is kind of a game changer move.

    • I think that is why Microsoft made this very last minute just before the I/O so they could trump Google and steal their steam at the I/O if they have nothing better. But we will have to wait a week to find out if that is true.

      Also do not forget Windows Phone Summit is tomorrow so Microsoft may have more to announce as well.

    • normmcgarry

      Totally agree. This is a crucial time for Microsoft. Hopefully they are priced to sell. These tablets are going to be a big part of what makes Windows 8 take off on PCs as well.

    • TD

      This thing runs Windows 8 RT. That means it can only run applications written in the new Windows Runtime library. You will not be able to run any of your current Windows applications and 3rd party browser support will be very limited due to restrictions on the API.

      Windows 8 RT is somewhere between Windows phone and Windows 8

      • Except that the Surface Pro runs Windows 8 Professional with an Ivybridge i5 processor. It will be able to run all of the x86 programming a Windows user is used to having. Speculation that the Pro is going to be close to Ultrabook prices seem logical but many people could completely replace their need for any other computer with the Surface Pro.

      • moelsen8

        yeah i know that. but the RT still has the microsoft name, and it looks sleek. have you seen random android tablets out there? like, in rite aid and walgreens and crap? extreme cases.. but still, we’re talking about microsoft, what [most] everyone who doesn’t have a tablet yet runs on their laptop

      • With most apps moving to the cloud these days, I don’t see it as a huge problem.

  • King of Nynex

    Depending on price and battery life, the Pro version looks right up my alley. I’ve always just made due by getting a new el cheapo laptop every couple years. The problem is the battery is always weak and the laptop overheats like a mofo.

  • Google better come strong… MS could be a real player with Surface.

    • It is still a windows computer. Google doesn’t compete in that space. Now if MSFT wanted to put a 4g radio in these and have them subsidized on a carrier then they would be in a space that Google would have to worry.

      • No, it’s a Windows tablet, done right. Android tablets will absolutely be competing with it. Google has to worry, 4G radio and subsidized or not.

        • LionStone

          All the tablet makers are saying, “Daaamn”. I’m kind of surprised “somebody” didn’t come up with the KB/cover already…wait.., I’m not surprised.

          • Mike

            There have been keyboard pads for the iPad for a long time now.

          • LionStone

            Ah well you know, if they do, they failed to advertise it…I’ve never seen one by apple advertised nor out of the tons I’ve seen traveling, I’ve never seen anyone with one…the cover yes, but with integrated keyboard, no.

  • Andrew

    I can’t wait to get my hands on the Pro model