The Microsoft Surface is a tablet line designed and marketed by the Microsoft Corp. and announced on June 28 2012, by CEO Steve Ballmer at Milk Studios in Los Angeles, California.
It comes in two versions: One uses Windows RT and the other uses Windows 8 Pro. Both models can install programs from the Windows Store, but only the Windows 8 Pro can install third party desktop programs.
The release of the Windows 8 unit came on October 26, 2012, and the Surface Pro was schedule to be available on February 9, 2013, but the Nor‘easter of 2013 delayed its release until February 16. The 128GB version sold out on the same day of its release. However, shipments would be delayed until March 1.
The Surface RT, released October 26, 2012, featured a quad-core CPU, 32 or 64 GB of storage, 2GB of RAM, and a 10.6″ touchscreen. The Surface Pro, released February 9, 2013, featured a dual-core CPU, 64 or 128 GB of storage, 4 GB of RAM, and a 10.6″ touchscreen
It has a molded magnesium casing with a PVD finish. Both units have a USB port, a micro HDMI slot, a magnetic strip to attach accessories, and a microSDXC port for external storage. They also have front and rear facing 1.2 mp cameras. Both units also have a kickstand to allow the device to be stood up at an angle. A physical windows keybard is located directly below the screen.
The display is a 10.6-inch screen using Microsoft’s ClearType HD technology with auto adjust screen intensity. There are two keyboard covers available, the touch cover and the type cover. Both serve as keyboard protectors when the unit is closed and keyboards when the unit is open. The touch cover has a pressure sensitive keyboard and the type cover is thicker using a tactile keyboard with physical keys. Both come with a multitouch touchpad.
The Microsoft Surface has brought mixed revues from critics. The hardware has been mostly positive while the high price tag and software brought negative reviews, most stating the operating system was confusing. Another drawback is the usable storage space. On the 64GB Surface Pro only 29GB is usable as the operating system uses the rest and on the 128GB only 89GB is available.
Image Caption: The Microsoft Surface tablet PC. Credit: Microsoft