All Sections

Windows 8: Announced today, launching tomorrow

Windows 8 is simply the best release of Windows ever!” The words spoken by Steven Sinofsky, head of Windows at Microsoft following the official unveiling of Windows 8 in Manhattan just hours ago. The desktop and tablet operating system is part of Microsoft’s overarching plan of attack, the second wave of which hits next week when Windows Phone 8 goes official.

Microsoft Surface is the flag bearer for the company’s new operating system, with two versions running the full desktop and the tablet-focused RT experience respectively. We’ll have to wait until tomorrow to get ahold of some true Windows 8 hardware, but we’ll be bringing you all that we can once the tablets and netbooks running RT become available.

Key features that Windows RT boast include instant on, extended battery life (over the notable competition) and a launch platform from a range of manufacturers. Microsoft’s own Surface tablet heads up the charge, but we recently encountered the Asus Vivo Tab RT which offers the same impressive functionality in Asus’s iconic Transformer form factor.

Check back soon for more information on Windows 8/RT.

October 25, 2012

Microsoft has released the first television advert for its Windows 8 Surface tablets.

The advert entitled ‘The Surface Movement’ is destined for  US TV and depicts a series of Microsoft Surface tablet users sat on benches outside on a sunny day. The click of the kickstand and keyboard are in time with beats in the music, as the users swap stands, while swiping the keyboards and dancing in the style of an MGM music. School children, students and business users are all depicted using the tablet – showing what Microsoft perceives as the target audience.

The only other information revealed is the launch date of 26th October 2012, find out more about Microsoft Surface below.

 

What is Microsoft Surface?

In a complete change of tact for the company, Microsoft is branding Surface under its own moniker, making this their first full-featured computing solution to offer both software and hardware under the company’s name. The Surface name will actually grace two individual products Surface with Windows RT and Surface with Windows 8 Pro.

 

What features will Microsoft Surface have?

The differentiation between the two products falls to the primary hardware, in particular the processor, with the Windows RT model built on ARM architecture, much like many current smartphones and tablets, whilst the Windows 8 Pro version makes use of an Intel-based processor, not unlike many desktop and laptop computers.

Surface with Windows RT:

  • 676 grams
  • 9.3mm deep
  • 1920×1080 10.6-inch ClearType HD display
  • 31.5 W-h battery
  • microSD, USB 2.0 support
  • 32GB or 64GB capacity options

Surface with Windows 8 Pro:

  • 903 grams
  • 13.5mm deep
  • 1920×1080 10.6-inch ClearType HD display
  • 42 W-h battery
  • microSDXC, USB3.0, mini DisplayPort support
  • 64GB or 128GB capacity options

What operating system will the Microsoft Surface run?

Windows RT is a modified version of Windows 8, designed specifically as a mobile tablet operating system, for use on mobile architecture like its ARM-made processor. The heavier Surface will run a full Windows 8 desktop operating system experience, enabling users to install full-featured applications. Such application support will not necessarily be guaranteed with the Windows RT model, however it will be cheaper.

Surface image gallery

What are the alternatives?

Each version of Microsoft Surface has its own target. With the Windows RT model, the company is setting its sights on the aforementioned tablet market, most likely Apple’s latest iPad, Google’s latest Android tablet, the Nexus 7 by Asus and Asus’ own Android-based Transformer series of devices.

Meanwhile the Windows 8 Pro-toting Surface must tackle tougher adversaries encroaching on territory inhabited by Apple’s MacBook Air, as well as leading netbook manufacturers such as Asus, Acer, HP and Sony, all of whom utilised Windows as their primary computing operating system.

How much will it cost?

 Initial pricing is rumoured to be in the region of £130. As competitive tablet pricing goes, this sounds a little unbelievable but that’s the word from DigiTimes which recently quoted Acer’s chairman JT Wang on his concerns surrounding the launch of the device.

Surface hero shot

 

Wang noted that Microsoft is currently looking for solutions such as creating a price gap to minimize the negative impact on other vendors’ product lineups, and he believes if Microsoft launches Surface at a price of US$199, it would have a rather significant impact, but if it is priced at around US$499-599, the effects will be a lot smaller.

Should Microsoft choose to release Surface at the lower price point it will undercut both leading rivals within the tablet space, but at the same time, the devices full desktop-computing credentials then risk hurting registered Windows 8 manufacturers, including Acer.

Where will Microsoft Surface be available?

As Microsoft have never released a product such as this internationally, we have no previous patterns to base our predictions on. However, they’ll likely target key markets first, namely the US, parts of Europe such as the UK, France and Germany and possibly Asian markets including China and Japan.

When will Microsoft Surface be available?

No-one knows when Surface will hit stores, although we’re hoping it’ll make it in time for the holiday season, having said that, don’t hold your breath.

Comments