Microsoft Surface announced -- twice. ARM, x86: your choice.

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | June 18, 2012 - 09:27 PM |
Tagged: windows rt, windows 8, tablet, microsoft

Steve Ballmer led the enigmatic announcement of “Surface”, a Microsoft branded consumer tablet. The tablet will contain a 10.6” display and run either Windows RT or Windows 8 Pro depending on whether you choose the NVIDIA-powered ARM variant or the higher-end Intel x86-based sibling. The device’s cover will contain a built-in Bluetooth keyboard and multi-touch trackpad.

Microsoft generated a lot of hype around their latest announcement.

In the end what we received the entirety of what was expected -- except the product looks compelling.

The Surface, borrowing the brand from their business-oriented smart table products, is a series of consumer tablets with a 10.6” 16x9 form factor. Would you like a full Windows 8 Pro experience on an Intel device or would you prefer a thinner and lighter Windows RT device powered by an NVIDIA ARM processor? Let us weight the Pro and cons.

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So would this be like -- an Ultra…clipboard? Ooo -- Ultraclippy, that has brand power.

Early reports testify that the device feels well built. The announcement made somewhat of a big deal that the tablet has a magnesium chassis and a Gorilla Glass 2 screen. You will cover the screen of the device with a small Bluetooth keyboard which will be available in a few colors. With the tablet resting on its included kickstand and its keyboard cover flowing out from beneath it -- the Surface looks very similar to a laptop.

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So -- magnesium chassis. This should be fun to thermite.

The Intel variant will feature a larger battery although extra battery life is not an immediate guarantee. The Pro device will allow for MicroSDXC cards, USB 3.0, and mini DisplayPort output. Both devices feature 2x2 MIMO antennae for their WIFI connectivity which could provide a fair chunk of bandwidth for streaming media.

Pricing and availability are currently unannounced except that they will be comparable to what is available. The ARM device will be available in 32 and 64GB models with the x86 Pro-class device available in 64 and 128GB.

Source: Microsoft

June 18, 2012 | 11:29 PM - Posted by PaulDriver

So, umm, Thermite, is that a promise, or a tease?

June 19, 2012 | 03:24 AM - Posted by FrostyWinnipeg

Let us weigh the Pro and Arm's.

June 19, 2012 | 10:08 AM - Posted by Dadzilla (not verified)

Hmmm, wonder if I can play my old games like Descent, Doom and Castle Wolfenstine on this? Think portable gamer that will also do email and media.

June 19, 2012 | 12:29 PM - Posted by pdjblum

Thought I was the only one who played Descent.

June 25, 2012 | 03:27 PM - Posted by OctaveanActually (not verified)

No way man, I'm down witht he Decent too ;)

June 19, 2012 | 10:39 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

finally a useful tablet.

June 19, 2012 | 02:51 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

will there be an AMD version? why has there been no news on this?

June 20, 2012 | 10:05 AM - Posted by collie man (not verified)

I'm super excited for this one {x86} to get into the testing lab. I wanna know: will it accept all USB devices {mouse, game pad, printer, USB/finger drive etc...} will it be fully compatible with new and legacy applications, can I change the OS? Use a remote desktop applications? use a USB dial up modem when I'm at the cottage? Basically will this completely replace/upgrade my net-book or is has MS locked the device to the point where it's just a better take on the transformer prime? Looking forward to the review. ANNNNND the thermite! Dear God I wanna see more thermite.

June 20, 2012 | 12:55 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

if you pick the x86 version, you get the full win8.

if you pick ARM, you get metro only. - so if you want it to do everything, pick the x86 version.

June 20, 2012 | 02:27 PM - Posted by collie man (not verified)

yea, but do we know that for sure? I know it's only been 2 days since the announcement, but they never said one way or another the capabilities of the atom version, only it's processor mem and ports. I ASSUME, like you, it will be a full windows 8 system, but until it reaches the bench-markers hands we only know what MS has told us. UNLESS you know something I don't know.

June 22, 2012 | 01:08 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The Surface Pro with Windows 8 is an Intel Ivy Bridge core i5 machine. In other words, a real PC comparable to an ultrabook.
The Surface with Windows RT is ARM based. No desktop apps will be allowed to run on ARM. MS did port MS Office which is included free but that's it. The ARM machine only runs software from new MS App Store. You can't run your own programs.

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