“Microsoft Surface Tablet”
IF you are planning to buy a new Laptop or Tablet computer or an iPad, then wait a bit; Microsoft the Software giant is planning to launch new products late this year. The launch of the family of Surface tablets is a showcase of the platform for the company’s next-generation Windows 8 operating system, Microsoft executives is quoted to have said. Microsoft Corp introduced its own line of tablet computers on Monday at a much-hyped press event in Los Angeles, marking a major strategic shift for the software giant as it struggles to compete with Apple Inc and re-invent its aging Windows franchise. The new tablet line, named Surface, includes a consumer device aimed directly at the Apple iPad, and another, larger machine designed to compete with lightweight laptops. Both include a keyboard that doubles as a cover, and both will be powered by versions of the new Windows 8 operating system. This move breaks with Microsoft’s operating model of the past 37 years, which has relied on computer manufacturers to make and market machines running Windows. It could throw the world’s largest software company into direct competition with its closest hardware partners such as Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Hewlett-Packard Co.
However, the success of Apple in recent years has underscored the benefits of an integrated approach to hardware and software, and Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said on Monday that the company “didn’t want to leave anything uncovered” as it rolled out Windows 8.
The new software is the biggest overhaul of Windows in years, and features a new touch-friendly interface dubbed “Metro”. It is scheduled to be available for the Christmas shopping season.The Surface tablet incorporates the brand of Microsoft’s Surface, a table-top UI that is regarded as more curiosity than must-have product. But this Surface will compete in a thriving tablet market against the best-selling Apple iPad and numerous Google Android tablets, many of which vary greatly in quality, capabilities, and price. “With Windows 8, we did not want to leave any scene uncovered,” Ballmer said. “Much like Windows 1.0 we wanted to give Windows 8 our own companion hardware.”
The Surface tablet comes in two flavours. There are consumer-targeted slates powered by an NVidia Tegra processor and running Windows RT, Microsoft’s first OS designed for devices using ARM-based chips, and there’s also a “professional” version of the tablet for content creators that uses an Intel Core i5 chip and runs the x86-optimized flavour of Windows 8 for mobile devices. The new tablets include a “kickstand” for viewing content, as well as a cover that also doubles as a keyboard and touchpad for content creation. A version of the tablet will include a “TypeCover” designed to replicate a full-size keyboard. The lighter, thinner version of the Surface tablet, built on an NVidia Corp chip designed by ARM Holdings, will be the first to market at the same time as the general release of Windows 8, and will feature Microsoft’s popular Office suite of applications. It is comparable to Apple’s new iPad, heavier but slightly thinner. It has a 10.6 inch screen and comes in 32GB and 64GB memory sizes.
A second, heavier tablet aimed at the new generation of lightweight laptops called “ultrabooks”, running on traditional Intel Corp chips, will come in 64GB and 128GB models. That will be available about three months after the ARM version, Microsoft said. (To be continued).