Microsoft Corp launched its first ever tablet computer, the Surface in a move to compete against Apple’s highly successful iPad. Microsoft developed its own device to spur the growth of its touch friendly Windows 8 operating system which is going to launch by the end of the year. As compared to the iPad, the key difference is that Surface has a protective cover-cum-keyboard whereas iPad comes with “virtual” keyboard. Most users find the iPad’s keyboard which senses the heat of a finger on the glass screen is not suitable for extensive typing. Surface sports a 10.6in screen compared to iPad’s 9.7in screen. Other than that, the Surface features USB ports, 2×2 MIMO antennae and MicroSD slots and display outputs whereas the iPad has 30-pin dock connector port.
The Surface is available in two version, one powered by Intel Corp chips whereas another using Nvidia Corp chip designed by ARM Holdings. Both versions will feature fold-out cover which also functions as a keyboard. The first version designed by ARM Holdings is slightly heavier than Apple’s new iPad, but slightly slimmer. This version running on Windows RT is just 9.3mm thin, weighs 1.5lbs, includes a built-in kickstand, the first PC with a vapor-deposited (PVD) magnesium case and will ship in either 32GB or 64GB memory sizes. The Windows RT PC will be available at the time of the Windows 8 general availability estimated in October.
The second heavier version Microsoft’s Intel-based Surface tablet will run Windows 8 Pro. Other than that, the Windows 8 Pro version comes with a thickness of 13.5mm, a weight of 1.9lbs, and USB 3.0 support. It is enclosed in magnesium casing and has a built-in kickstand This version will come in 64GB or 128GB storage and will be available 3 months after the ARM version. The Surface differentiates itself with the iPad because its not only meant for web browsing or reading, but also for creating spreadsheets or other documents with extensive typing.