So it turns out Microsoft’s secretive event was, as some speculated, the announcement of their own tablet devices for Windows 8, named the Surface.
It marks a significant event, with Microsoft going up against their OEM partners in an attempt to ensure the seamless nature of quality software and hardware.
There will be two versions available, a Windows 8 RT version running on ARM processing, and a Windows 8 Pro version, running on Intel i5 x86 architecture.
The Intel version will be slightly bigger, have a higher resolution screen and run legacy applications.
I dont want to talk to much about specs here as they have been covered plenty elsewhere (although pricing and battery life have not been announced). What I do want to talk about is where MS are positioning this product.
As mentioned MS are going up against their OEM partners, competing directly with them, however, this seems very much like an attempt to push quality hardware to showcase the improvements Windows 8 brings.
In the same way Windows Phone 7 really needed a phone developed for the software (Nokia Lumia) to show how well it works, MS seem to want to have great hardware to go with the software they develop and are launching this device so as to set the bar high for other manufacturers.
Perhaps it is more than an attempt to push OEMs to greater things, however. You can also see the strategy MS are moving towards. A unified experience across devices. Apps will work seamlessly across desktop, tablet and phone. Its an interesting concept and one which evangelists have been hoping for MS to deliver for years.
Even if MS dont fully deliver in terms of the 3 screen strategy, the positioning of the Surface Pro, running legacy apps, with HDMI out and a capable processor, will certainly appeal to some. However, the real competition here is the iPad, and even though the Surface looks like it can do a lot of things the iPad cant, it is about perception and showing that it is a device people will not just want, but need.
That said, its certainly a promising device,(I love the Vapor Mg casing, the kickstand and the fold-able 3mm touch keyboard) and I look forward to more details coming out soon.
Are you interested in the Surface or would you rather get an iPad?
Let me know in the comments.
Thanks for reading,
*Pictures courtesy of Microsoft*