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Microsoft Reveals Its iPad Rival: Surface

No details on pricing and availability, but it has a nifty looking keyboard.

There was rampant speculation about Microsoft’s secretive announcement all day today, but the most logical reveal was the actual one: a tablet. Inaccurate rumors had pegged it as possibly being Xbox related. Instead, Microsoft has re-branded the Surface name as part of a new series of tablets.

Surface will come in two flavors, Windows RT and Windows 8 Pro. The key difference? Only the latter will be able to run full-featured Windows 8. The Windows RT version is much more iPad-esque, locked into Microsoft’s new application ecosystem.

Microsoft appears to be positioning its tablet line as a more capable version of the iPad, especially since its Smart Cover equivalent has a keyboard on the other side. There’s even a version with tactile keys, if that’s your thing.

Complete specs on Surface are as follows:

The presentation was short on software demos, but 17-Bit, formerly Haunted Temple Studios, did reveal Skulls of the Shogun would be one of the premiere games compatible with Surface. It will also be on PC and Xbox Live Arcade.

The company could have knocked it out of the park with details on pricing and availability, but instead chose to punt that information down the line. Surface will be “priced to compete,” a statement that implies there are actually devices released that are, uh, not intended to be priced to compete.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
290 Comments
Posted by Cory_and_Trevor

This will sell a 100 times more than the Zune! It will be such a success! Oh wait....

Posted by Brad

@Skytylz said:

@Cyrisaurus said:

That keyboard looks soooo unsatisfying. if you're going to add keyboard hardware, I want actually buttons to press.

I read somewhere that it has like 1.5 mm action on the keys, so there is a press. Not a huge one but it's there.

True, but there are actually two keyboard models, and one of them is pure multitouch.

Staff
Posted by KaosAngel

@SubChin said:

This will sell a 100 times more than the Zune! It will be such a success! Oh wait....

...so maybe 100,000 tops? Apple sells over 500k iPads a day. Microsoft making a huge dent, yo.

Posted by Bourbon_Warrior

@KaosAngel said:

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

Imagine if it didnt have the overkill screen, it might actually last more than a day.

My iPad 3 runs great at my military training using it daily for classes. I charge it every couple days.

How do you use a iPad at military training? Not being snarky.

Posted by KaosAngel

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

@KaosAngel said:

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

Imagine if it didnt have the overkill screen, it might actually last more than a day.

My iPad 3 runs great at my military training using it daily for classes. I charge it every couple days.

How do you use a iPad at military training? Not being snarky.

I'm stationed at DLI, it's like 4 years of college into one 60 weeks. I can't talk about it, but it's hard. We use iPads a lot here.

Posted by Lazyaza

I am genuinely interested in this. I've always despised all apple products on a philosophical level and beyond so a decent competitor for the Ipad I may actually be interested in is a welcome sight.

Edited by TMBaker
Edited by Bourbon_Warrior

@KaosAngel said:

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

@KaosAngel said:

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

Imagine if it didnt have the overkill screen, it might actually last more than a day.

My iPad 3 runs great at my military training using it daily for classes. I charge it every couple days.

How do you use a iPad at military training? Not being snarky.

I'm stationed at DLI, it's like 4 years of college into one 60 weeks. I can't talk about it, but it's hard. We use iPads a lot here.

OK its just a translator school, cool. I thought you were in the real military. Which made me laugh thinking you were carrying around your iPad at rifle training.

Posted by Shivoa

To clarify: Windows RT used to be called Windows On ARM and due to the new processor architecture (ARM SoCs) cannot run any old Windows programs. It therefore is a new ecosystem (coded to via the Windows Store delivery of Metro apps) like WinPho7 was.

Windows 8 is the new version of Windows for Intel/x86 CPUs and the new Intel Surface announced is running the 17W of ULV i5 (Ultrabook/MacBook Air CPUs) so is going to give you that zone of performance and due to the OS being a full-fat offering and CPU being the same x86 that has slowly evolved over the past few decades all your old Windows programs (including games) will run as well as they do on Windows 7. This may look like a tablet but you're actually dealing with a MacBook Air performance (and existing program compatibility) system with a 1080p screen. The Intel iGPU isn't great for gaming but you're going to have a lot of GOG.com content to enjoy on the go and even some nice 3D.

There are also incoming Intel (next-gen) Intel Atom designs. That means a dual-core x86 SoC that uses 3W of power rather than 17W (at max power use, they all crank back when you're not loading the SoC/CPUs and a lot of the power being eaten is for the screen - not to mention the batteries in all these tablets are as big as a Ultrabook/MacBook Air so give equivalent use times even with a 17W CPU). That means there may be a Surface (and there will certainly be 3rd party manufacturers selling them) with the compatibility (all your old PC games) of the Intel model but a price much closer to the ARM (WinRT) model and lower weight (drop the battery capacity to match the lower power use). Using a $10-30 SoC (ARM and the planned Intel 3W Clover Trail) rather than a $200+ 17W ULV premium CPU will really make a difference in the final price.

Online
Edited by KaosAngel

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

OK its just a translator school, cool. I thought you were in the real military.

What? We're the top percentage of the military. Are you honest to god a moron?

Posted by Skytylz

@Brad said:

@Skytylz said:

@Cyrisaurus said:

That keyboard looks soooo unsatisfying. if you're going to add keyboard hardware, I want actually buttons to press.

I read somewhere that it has like 1.5 mm action on the keys, so there is a press. Not a huge one but it's there.

True, but there are actually two keyboard models, and one of them is pure multitouch.

That's sort of unfortunate, I'm assuming if they include one with the tablet it will be the multitouch one that is likely thinner.

Posted by Nephrahim

Looks alright, but c'mon, they haven't succeeded by copying apple in a long time.

Edited by Bourbon_Warrior

@KaosAngel said:

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

OK its just a translator school, cool. I thought you were in the real military.

What? We're the top percentage of the military. Are you honest to god a moron?

LOL. Its just a language institute for the ARMY, the top percentage are the ones on the front line, not arm chair soldiers.

Posted by MordeaniisChaos

@vinsanityv22 said:

What a dumb move. When will Microsoft figure out that following Apple is not the way to destroy them? Did they learn nothing from the Zune? The Microsoft Phones? Morons.

The thing that makes this extra disgusting is that Surface was some genuinely amazing tech in a previous life. Fucking TABLES that could display touch sensitive images - and this was years before shitty Apple-produced tablets began to emerge. Now, they're just re-purposing the name for something that's doomed to fail.

Why the fuck does Microsoft do this all the time now? They develop the technology years ahead of competitors, and then sits on their asses. It never reaches consumer level until, like, 4 years after OTHER people have ripped them off. Idiots.

WP7 is doing well enough for itself. There was someone saying that WP7 could pass iOS by 2016 in market share. They seem to be the only ones GAINING market share, so there is that. It's also a really good product, and very young. These markets can't be won over as quickly as when the original iPhone launched. That thing launched unopposed, essentially, by similar devices, and as a result it gained a lot of traction and loyalty very fast. WP7 is fighting an uphill battle, and especially when W8 comes along and you can make use of the synergy between the two, I get the feeling that OS is going to be awesome. It's certainly the OS I've liked the best of all mobile platforms I tried, and as someone making a new PC around the time that W8 comes out and has been running the W8 preview build, I'm pretty excited to see the services work together. It's going to be awesome having notifications pop up when I need to workout or get in the shower all all of my devices, pushing things to the same service regardless of device, etc.

@KaosAngel: 1080p is fine for a tablet. Anything higher than that is a luxury, and an extra cost, ESPECIALLY for anyone who isn't Apple because they don't have the ridiculous control and influence over manufacturing. Most Tablets on the market probably have less than that kind of resolution, just because it isn't the absolute highest doesn't mean it's a shit screen. You're a fucking child if you think that 1080p is a disgusting screen for a tablet. It's fine, it works well for my 24" screen, why the hell would it be shitty on a tablet? If that means lower prices, and better battery, I'm happy to take 1080p.

Posted by MannAlive

Who cares if MS makes money off it or not? If it's the best tablet on the market, I'll buy it. That's why I have a WP7 phone. MS loses money on it? Not my problem. You don't have one? Enjoy pretending your phone is better just because more people have one and it has more fart apps to choose from. When I pay for something, all I care about is my experience with it. I don't root for companies. Why do you?

Posted by sBlacksmith

I'm interested in the digitizer.. hope it's wacom or equivalent.. would die for 2000dpi and 1024 pressure levels.. but would be ok with sub1000dpi and 256 levels .. it's a huge plus on top of ipad anyway.

Posted by RadixNegative2

I want nothing to do with Window 8.

Posted by KaosAngel

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

@KaosAngel said:

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

OK its just a translator school, cool. I thought you were in the real military.

What? We're the top percentage of the military. Are you honest to god a moron?

LOL. Its just a language institute for the ARMY, the top percentage are the ones on the front line, not arm chair soldiers.

Uh...I'm in the USAF and I'm Aircrew. I fly, you retard, which also means I do SERE training. My training is over 3 years, first year and half is at DLI and after that it's all Aircrew Special Operations.

Edited by Bourbon_Warrior

@KaosAngel said:

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

@KaosAngel said:

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

OK its just a translator school, cool. I thought you were in the real military.

What? We're the top percentage of the military. Are you honest to god a moron?

LOL. Its just a language institute for the ARMY, the top percentage are the ones on the front line, not arm chair soldiers.

Uh...I'm in the USAF and I'm Aircrew. I fly, you retard, which also means I do SERE training. My training is over 3 years, first year and half is at DLI and after that it's all Aircrew Special Operations.

Cool bro! You didn't say that in your first post, you just said you were at DLI, don't get so defensive!

Posted by MrRedwine

@Dizzmotron: I've been using Windows 8 (release preview) on my PC without a touch interface at all since it was launched. I originally installed it thinking that I would switch back to Windows 7 when I needed to do something "Real", but in actuality I haven't had a reason to do that at all. I'm enjoying the experience greatly.

Posted by buemba

If the stylus in the Pro version is good I'm all in. I like my iPad, but I'll replace it in a heartbeat if the Win8 tablet delivers on that and on battery life.

Posted by Sin4profit

@vinsanityv22 said:

Why the fuck does Microsoft do this all the time now? They develop the technology years ahead of competitors, and then sits on their asses. It never reaches consumer level until, like, 4 years after OTHER people have ripped them off. Idiots.

watching the other guys do it first is free research.

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Posted by Special_K

"The company could have knocked it out of the park with details on pricing and availability, but instead chose to punt that information down the line."

Patrick's sports metaphors have me picturing a bunch of football players running around the field with baseball bats.

Posted by Bourbon_Warrior

@RadixNegative2 said:

I want nothing to do with Window 8.

On PC hell no! Windows 7 will serve me fine for years.

On Tablets Yes! A full OS with the simple touch navigation sounds great, Diablo 3 would rock on this thing!

Posted by umdesch4

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

Never wanted a iPad but want this, USB!

iPad is just so boring, its just a big iPhone, I have a iPhone. This looks like a decent laptop replacement and a tablet all in one. I can see this owning the business tablet market, as it has a keyboard, MS Office and USB ports to upload data. Also Xbox controller support would be neat!

Totally this. Everything I do has USB. I carry a phone, camera, mp3 player and data stick that all have standard USB "removable-drive-with-no-specialized-drivers-required" interfaces. Pretty much everywhere I go. So do most of the people I know, even some of the diehard Apple apologists.

How great would it be if you could just hand somebody your USB stick and say "check out my latest song/picture/video on your tablet", or vice versa?

It seems to me that if you create content of any kind, or associate with people who do, an iPad just isn't really useful for getting any kind of sharing or collaborating done in person. This is actually the main reason I haven't bought one.

Posted by VooDooPC

@KaosAngel said:

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

@KaosAngel said:

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

OK its just a translator school, cool. I thought you were in the real military.

What? We're the top percentage of the military. Are you honest to god a moron?

LOL. Its just a language institute for the ARMY, the top percentage are the ones on the front line, not arm chair soldiers.

Uh...I'm in the USAF and I'm Aircrew. I fly, you retard, which also means I do SERE training. My training is over 3 years, first year and half is at DLI and after that it's all Aircrew Special Operations.

It's unfortunate that a member of the USAF whom should be a respectable person argues on the internet with the mentality of a five year old.

Posted by combatjack0331

I can't wait to get my hands on one of these. Don't know what model, probably just the RT. Either way I see this year being a windows one for me. Too many great products coming out of Microsoft this year.

Posted by Spiritof

I just don't care about tablets.

Posted by shway

if its cheaper than a Ipad it wins

otherwise its a flop

Posted by Cybexx

So I'm assuming unlike the original Microsoft Surface the tablet can't actually detect objects just points of touch like the iPad.

Posted by tourgen

I wish the article actually had some useful links in it.

Posted by buft

I laughed at the buzzword spec sheet, what the fuck are they doing?

Posted by iAmJohn

@KaosAngel said:

@SamFo said:

@KaosAngel said:

That shit going to flop.

No one is going to waste more money on a MS tablet than buy an iPad. Google tried it already and they still haven't made a dent.

Good luck with that, just like how Microsoft took out Apple and Google in the handset market!

I think this comment needs to be preserved for future laughs.

How's Windows Phone 7 doing with Google and Apple?

Doing okay, actually. There's been a lot of growth in the Windows Phone market whereas Android has noticeably started stagnating. But hey, don't let a little thing like truth change your trolling!

Posted by Nymphonomicon

And I really don't care about tablets.

Posted by spilledmilkfactory

The concept of a tablet with a tactile keyboard on the cover is awesome, but I can't help seeing Microsoft flopping with this one just like they did with the Zune and their phone line.

Posted by Demoskinos

@KaosAngel said:

@Demoskinos said:

Pretty much this.

Let me know when it makes a dent into Apple's market of selling over 500,000 tablets a day or close to Apple's 67 million iPads sold.

Defensive Apple fanboy much?

Online
Edited by Jazzycola

@MordeaniisChaos: Those same guys said the same thing 2 or 3 years ago but the year was 2014. They're analysts that seem to be spectating on the market and not really investigating any truth to it. It may happen but I wouldn't trust the words of people who change when it's going to happen as soon as the outcome doesn't fit their predictions. They're like doomsday people that think the world is going to end tomorrow but when the day goes by they then predict it to be the next day.

edit: referring to your first paragraph

Posted by Residentrevil2

I'll buy it. I bought the stupid Zune HD (still works), so I'll buy the Surface. I just hope it isn't too expensive.

Edited by xyzygy

That thing looks so fucking awesome. Seriously, it looks to be the tablet of my dreams. I'm glad I didn't go out and get some shitty old Android tablet because this thing will smoke the competition. And when I upgrade my WP7 to a WP8, and get the next Xbox, there will be interconnected goodness all around.

@KaosAngel said:

@SamFo said:

@KaosAngel said:

That shit going to flop.

No one is going to waste more money on a MS tablet than buy an iPad. Google tried it already and they still haven't made a dent.

Good luck with that, just like how Microsoft took out Apple and Google in the handset market!

I think this comment needs to be preserved for future laughs.

How's Windows Phone 7 doing with Google and Apple?

WP7 is on it's way to taking over iPhone in the largest cellular country in the world: China. So I'd say it's doing good. They love it out there. And it's a great phone. For a phone that has been out for only 1.5 years and in most regions it's in now, MUCH less time, it's doing good. It obviously won't be able to completely shatter an industry that has been built for years and years by Apple and Google, but it's slowly creeping. The Lumia's are one of the best phones, if not the best, I've ever used.

Posted by PXAbstraction

The tablet looks very good and as a mild at best fan of the iPad (I share a used iPad 2 with my girlfriend and basically use it for games when I'm treadmilling cause I hate the iOS experience), this looks like something I would potentially want to buy myself. As an IT guy at a place that uses a lot of specialised software, the Intel models excite me greatly as this is finally a tablet we could properly use at work, especially if it has a docking station.

I think the bungled this announcement though. No pricing, no release date and they should have had an army of big name app developers out there pledging their support to Windows 8 RT. I don't know why this had to be done now and why they couldn't have waited until the Fall where they could have pulled an Apple and gone "Here's the product, the price and by the way, it's in stores now." For all of Apple's faults, product announcements is something they do better than anyone and surely that formula can't be that hard to copy.

I wrote a little write-up of the announcement on my blog if anyone cares. I'm anxious for more details and hands-on.

Posted by SSully

This actually looks pretty damn cool. I might hold off on getting an iPad just to see how this does

Posted by EXTomar

We have already see this idea fail in 'netbooks' hardware. It turns out people don't want laptop in a tablet form factor (or a tablet in a laptop either). Tablets turn out to be great viewers but have a terrible interface to create content where it wasn't the software that was the problem and nothing shown here changes that.

Online
Posted by jozzy
@SSully
This actually looks pretty damn cool. I might hold off on getting an iPad just to see how this does
Its cool to see a lot of open minded people here that see the potential of this thing. Hope it is as good as it looks it can be.

No it will not kill apple and who cares really, this seems like a clever ultra book/tablet cross over. People who say they are just copying apple, didn't know they released something like that?
Posted by jozzy
@EXTomar

We have already see this idea fail in 'netbooks' hardware. It turns out people don't want laptop in a tablet form factor (or a tablet in a laptop either). Tablets turn out to be great viewers but have a terrible interface to create content where it wasn't the software that was the problem and nothing shown here changes that.

Except this is nothing like a net book. If this is really as good as an ultrabook with a functional tablet it can be huge.
Posted by Bourbon_Warrior

Also love having the big tech stories on here. More graphics cards news too please!

Posted by MordeaniisChaos

@Jazzycola: Oh don't worry, I don't believe it, I'm just saying that the fact is one of the potentially big names is getting bigger, and the two big ones (and a number of smaller ones) are pretty much dead and about to fall out of the race entirely, allowing WP7 to pick up those markets, potentially.

@xyzygy said:

That thing looks so fucking awesome. Seriously, it looks to be the tablet of my dreams. I'm glad I didn't go out and get some shitty old Android tablet because this thing will smoke the competition. And when I upgrade my WP7 to a WP8, and get the next Xbox, there will be interconnected goodness all around.

@KaosAngel said:

@SamFo said:

@KaosAngel said:

That shit going to flop.

No one is going to waste more money on a MS tablet than buy an iPad. Google tried it already and they still haven't made a dent.

Good luck with that, just like how Microsoft took out Apple and Google in the handset market!

I think this comment needs to be preserved for future laughs.

How's Windows Phone 7 doing with Google and Apple?

WP7 is on it's way to taking over iPhone in the largest cellular country in the world: China. So I'd say it's doing good. They love it out there. And it's a great phone. For a phone that has been out for only 1.5 years and in most regions it's in now, MUCH less time, it's doing good. It obviously won't be able to completely shatter an industry that has been built for years and years by Apple and Google, but it's slowly creeping. The Lumia's are one of the best phones, if not the best, I've ever used.

Glad to see someone as stoked about finally having an Apple-esque ecosystem that takes advantage of itself. I'm on W8's preview build right now, and even with basic integration with Windows Live stuff (already a Hotmail user which was convenient) it's pretty neat being able to set my calender from anywhere and have notifications pop up on my home computer, and I just got a job and intend to buy a Lumia pretty much first thing, because I love the way Windows Phone 7 feels. The app market isn't great and I won't make much of an apology for that (beyond, hey, it took Google and Apple a while too, and yes MS is late and that's their fault in large part, but it's still worth mentioning that they will obviously need time to get more), but I'm not a huge app guy and the core OS is far more modern in my opinion than iOS, which I've always thought of as "better than a dumb phone, but in a lot of ways, kinda dumb." Integrated features are good! Having everything that should feed in to one pool feed into that pool is awesome, and WP7/ Metro do a great job of that. I'm super happy to be a Microsoft customer, and it'll take a hell of a lot to get me to stop being a fan of the stuff they do.

Still not going to use IE though, even if it is a good alternative these days :3 <3 Chrome.

Edited by xyzygy

@MordeaniisChaos: IMO, the heavy integration that WP7 features makes up for the apps. I am not a huge app guy myself as well, so really I don't see what the whole deal is - I actually use my phone all the time and 90% of that time it has to do with the phone's integrated features, the type of things that can and will be interconnected between WP8 and Windows 8. So yeah I'm pretty stoked! Glad to see someone else is too!

And as to your Chrome comment, I wouldn't be surprised if you see a Metro Chrome app pop up in the Windows Store. The Metro IE app is nice looking, but... it's IE.

My sister just traded her iPhone in for a Lumia and it was the first time I got to use one. You are in for a massive treat. Such a silky smooth, beautiful phone.

Edited by EXTomar

@jozzy said:

@EXTomar

We have already see this idea fail in 'netbooks' hardware. It turns out people don't want laptop in a tablet form factor (or a tablet in a laptop either). Tablets turn out to be great viewers but have a terrible interface to create content where it wasn't the software that was the problem and nothing shown here changes that.

Except this is nothing like a net book. If this is really as good as an ultrabook with a functional tablet it can be huge.

So don't believe netbooks, sub-notebooks and ultrabooks aren't the same thing let alone "an answer to a problem that doesn't exist"? People aren't wringing their hands about the lack of being able to write Word and change Excel spread sheets on new devices because "old fashion laptops" and desktops do that extremely well. I don't see how Surface changes anything.

Online
Posted by afrofools

@xyzygy: ditto everything you said. Windows Phone 8 will be able to run native code so we will be able to finally get decent 3rd party app performance. You could potentially be watching a movie while on a train (do they have wifi?), then get home and finish it on your television.

Posted by Zaapp1

It seems to me that it's not so much about Microsoft trying to put something new out there as trying to guide the industry. Windows 8 is geared towards touch, even though it's also a desktop OS. By putting out a more powerful tablet with functions like a laptop they're essentially saying that tablets are the new laptops, both in the hardware and software side. It's an easier transition to swallow than going from laptops to iPads. If that message resonates with people I think this could do well.