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October 26th 2012 will be remembered as the final day before all the snapping sounds started, the eve of the angry school girls holding images of devices they’ve never seen in real life.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the functionality that Microsoft has added to their tablet, and the effort they put into getting just the right amount of ‘snap’ feedback, probably cost them a lot more than we’d believe..
But, all too soon, the first users will be ‘snapping‘ these open and then hopping into ‘Bing‘ to find something while looking around the coffee shop to see who’s noticing them.. SOON!
All the play on word noises aside, with the 26th a mere 10 days away, the offer to get a Surface in your hands on the release date is pretty cool.
Microsoft is starting with 3 options:
- 64 GB with Black Touch KB Cover $699 (Sold Out)
- 32 GB with Black Cover $599 (Sold Out)
- 32 GB without a cover $499
You can buy the Touch Cover separately for $120 in 5 different badly photo-shopped colors, or buy a ‘physical KB’ style Type Cover for $129.99.
Clearly the discerning owner would have to opt for the ‘Type Cover’ so that it makes click sounds that will turn the heads of iPad users in the coffee shop.
That’s about where the envy will likely stop however, given the 1366×768 resolution, 2GB of RAM, proprietary NVidia T30 CPU, and applications exclusively supplied by the Microsoft Windows Store.
The Windows RT Surface tablet also comes with a trial copy of MS Office 2013 Home/Student RT Preview that you’ll have to upgrade to the full version later when it’s released.
Personally I’d hold off and wait for a NON Windows RT Surface.
- Good luck using a different OS if you find Windows 8 doesn’t match well with your needs
- Your choice of browser is currently IE10 or IE10 Desktop Mode
- Your sole provider of applications is Microsoft
It’s not news that I deeply dislike the idea of limited access/walled gardens/etc., but clearly this isn’t shared with everyone since nothing is slowing down the pre-sales; Heck Microsoft was actually having issues with page loading earlier today!
Oh speaking of which here’s the official link to the Microsoft Surface on the MS Store site.
Would you believe that Harvard University is giving away free diplomas for their doctorate degrees in Medieval Latin?
How about a free Networking course from Stanford University that covers packet switching and queuing?
Would you believe it’s online and open to anyone?
Yup! If you always wanted to put ‘Stanford University’ on your resume, you can now do it for free, online, and nice reasonable 10 week duration, then click right here!
All these years of spies telling us about the ‘table’ that the nerds in Redmond are calling the ‘Microsoft Surface‘, and the whole time we didn’t know they were silenced before they could finish saying ‘tablet‘.
The official video from Microsoft. A bit skimpy with the details.
We know Microsoft actually wanted to make a table called Surface, if you haven’t seen enough of it on Hawaii Five-O, there was a demonstration of D&D on it:
Yep, the link in the video description from 2010 takes you to the right spot..
The tablet was ready before the table, so the name ‘Surface’ was on the table for the new tablet. What?!
So confusion over names aside, what’s under the ‘Surface’ of this new gizmo?
- Rare materials use
- Built in kickstand
- Cover acts as magnetic KB/Trackpad
Windows 8 Professional
- Intel 22nm Core i5 Ivy Bridge
- 13.5 MM Thick
- 903 grams
- 10.6″ Full HD Touch Display (1080p?)
- Magnetic stylus w/digital ink support
- USB 3.0
- Mini Display Port
- MicroSDXC slot
- Up to 128GB of storage
- Larger 42Wh battery
- Will be delayed by three months following Windows 8
Windows 8 RT
- NVIDIA Tegra ARM Processor
- 9.3 MM Thick
- 676 grams
- 10.6″ HD Touch Display (1366 x 768?)
- USB 2.0
- Micro HDMI Video Port
- Micro SD slot
- Up to 64GB of storage
- 31.5Wh battery
- Will be available with Windows 8 (this fall)
So the full tablet will be for people that run or create Windows applications, want full compatibility with existing apps, and want to trade a lighter/more portable tablet for more options. If the stylus is included or a very inexpensive accessory it may make this version appealing to students and business types that hate flipping through hand written notes searching for something that could be found instantly if it was digital.
The RT version will be for the minimalist that only needs to run core applications that are compatible with the RT version of Windows 8 and it’s ARM processor. This version should not only be lighter but also have stronger battery life making it ideal as a reader or for watching DVD quality movies.
Unless you are developing ARM based Windows 8 applications, no programmer will want the RT version since it cannot run applications that haven’t been ported to ARM. That means if you code up solutions for yourself, you’ll either have to re-compile for ARM or avoid that platform.
Not having tried the RT version of Windows 8 I can only assume the browser choices will be anything you can possibly think of, as long as you always think of “Internet Explorer 10″. This was discussed in our post on browser options for Windows 8 ARM edition.
Design Details – First impressions are everything!
Rumour has it that the ‘kick stand’ was a really hard design choice because it ruined the ‘flow’ of the product shape, regardless of how essential it is in practice. To make-up this design shortfall they apparently over-engineered the hinge system to have the ‘feel’ of a luxury car door??
If that wasn’t exotic enough, the case of the Surface is made from a special magnesium process called ‘vapor-depositing’ which results in an amazingly thin/strong material which is still cost concious enough for mass production.
Personally, if I was Microsoft, and I wanted to kick some Apple hiney all over Silicon Valley, I would have dipped into my XBox parts bin and made a “Pro 360″ version of the surface including:
- Built in Kinect motion controller
- Bluetooth controller support
- Embedded 3D Graphics hardware
- Special ‘kit’ for XBox owners that allows a ‘mobile’ mini-game to be saved to an ‘authorized’ client on the owner’s Surface for each game in the XBox owner’s game library
If you give your tablet exclusive perks that worked exclusively with your console, you might actually make your most loyal consumers feel like they made some savvy choices. It’s what Apple does this all the time.