For the last few days the technology media has been abuzz about what Microsoft had planned for its launch event on Monday night, and it seems they took a page out of the Apple playbook in terms of keeping these plans secret. Microsoft launched their own branded tablet – in other words, the tablet will not be marketed by a HP or a Dell – it is Microsoft’s own, just like the Xbox. And we like that.
First off, the tablet will run Windows 8, and will be available in two versions. A thinner, lighter version running with a ARM processor will run Windows 8 RT, and a higher end, thicker, heavier model running a full version of Windows 8 Pro. Microsoft was however not very upfront about everything – there is little in the way of actual specs, battery life, etc. Some media channels are reporting that the RT version will run a standard 10.6 inch HD display (think 1280 x 720) and the Intel based one will have a decent Full HD display, both covered in Gorilla Glass.
The actual build of the device is made of magnesium, which is both light and strong, and is apparently fingerprint resistant. Both devices will have a kickstand that pops out from the rear, which makes the operating angle adjustable. In terms of connectivity there is USB (the ARM has USB 2, the Intel one has USB 3), and HDMI.
Microsoft also showed off two new covers – which both attach magnetically (very similiar to the Apple Smart Cover), but Microsoft has a very cool idea – they built a keyboard (and touchpad) right into the cover, available in a touch type version, and also a thicker standard type keyboard. It will be available in multiple colours, so you can customize this tablet somewhat.
We are very excited about this new tablet, and it’s great to see that Microsoft is confident enough to bring their own branded device to market. The hardware looks great, but Microsoft also did not reveal pricing, which makes us a little worried. Microsoft does mention that the RT version will be competitive with other ARM tablets, and the Intel based tablet will be competitive with ultrabooks on the market.