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Entries in Surface (3)

Tuesday
Oct162012

Microsoft Launches Surface Tablet for $499 with Ad Blitz

Microsoft's own Surface tablet and its magnetic Touch Cover. (Microsoft)(REDMOND, Wash.) -- While companies from HP to Acer to Lenovo have announced information about their forthcoming Windows 8 tablets and computers, Microsoft itself has stayed relatively quiet about its own hardware -- its Surface tablet. That is, until Tuesday.

Tuesday morning the company revealed that its first tablet computer will be available for pre-order starting at 9 a.m. Pacific Time Monday from Surface.com. It will start shipping and be on sale at Microsoft stores on Oct. 26, the same date that Windows 8 is officially available.

The Surface, which has a 10.6-inch screen and a pop-out kickstand, will start at $499 for the 32GB version. The base model doesn't include the company's new and innovative Touch Cover, which clips to the bottom of the tablet and doubles as a keyboard and a protective cover.

The 32GB tablet with the Touch Cover will cost $599. A 64GB version with the Touch Cover will start at $699. The Touch Cover separately will cost $119.99 and comes in a rainbow of colors, including red, blue, magenta, and white.

The price is competitive with Apple's iPad, which starts at $499 with 16GB of storage space. But the Surface is more expensive than many had predicted.

"We wanted a base package that would let people enter the tablet market. It's highly competitive," Steven Sinofsky, president of Microsoft's Windows and Windows Live division, said when speaking to a group of journalists on Microsoft's campus Monday. "We know the prices of our competitor and we know this is a better deal, plus it is a bigger screen and holds more stuff."

While a number of Android tablets have fallen below the $300 price level and a few below $200, all of the Windows 8 tablets and computers introduced so far are priced at $499 or more.

And that's intentional. Microsoft is marketing the Surface and other still-to-come Windows 8 devices as more than just tablets -- they are computers. They are the Windows experience completely "reimagined."

"We think of PCs as a generic device that can work across a number of different scenarios and form factors. They have peripherals and ecosystems and we wanted to bring all of that goodness to a kind of device that you carry along with you all the time, that has all-day battery life with its roots in the ecosystem and in the notion of productivity," Sinofsky said. "That's where we start with Surface. That's the perspective we bring to market."

The Surface is, however, just as much about hardware as it is about software for Microsoft. After years of letting other companies make hardware, the company decided to create the best hardware, it says, to set the best stage for Windows 8.

The tablet is crafted from a new "VaporMg" metal Microsoft says it developed to make the Surface extra-durable, able to withstand drops and bruises. The kickstand mechanism has been specially developed, even down to the very sound it makes when you snap it back. The Touch Cover keyboard doesn't have physical keys, but touch sensors built into the cover. And the 10.6-inch, ClearType HD screen was also specially made so it could accommodate a wider keyboard.

"We had to use every ounce of space smartly," said Panos Panay, the general manager of the Microsoft Surface project. Panos and his team went through over 250 mock-ups of the design for the tablet.

The tablet has a lower-powered Nvidia ARM processor, which unlike Intel processors is built on totally different underlying architecture. The new architecture doesn't let you run older apps on the tablet (you can still run those older apps on Windows Pro tablets or computers), but it does come with Microsoft Office 2013.

Microsoft's investment in the production of the Surface was clearly no small undertaking, and neither are its marketing efforts. Over the next couple of weeks Microsoft's advertising will be hard to avoid. It has begun running Windows 8 countdown ads on TV and just released a brand new ad for the Surface itself, heavy on dancing and choreography.

Additionally, Microsoft will open more of its own stores. Over the holiday season, it will put up an additional 34 holiday shops, making for 65 stores nationwide for the heavy buying season. On Oct. 26 it will launch a pop-up store in New York's Times Square, which will feature Surface front and center.

"I have used a lot of tablets and this is not a tablet, but this is the best tablet I have ever used. I've used a lot of laptops and this is not a laptop, but it is also the very best laptop I have ever used," Sinofsky said. "It's a new kind of device."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct092012

October Tech Bonanza: iPad Mini, Windows 8 and More Coming

Microsoft(NEW YORK) -- While President Obama and Mitt Romney may be racing against each other on the campaign trail and fighting it out behind podiums this month, the tech giants are up to something very similar.

This month, the major technology companies are all racing to get their new products on store shelves and one-up each other with better feature sets and price tags.  Before the month is out, Apple, Microsoft and Google are expected to make significant product announcements.

Of course, all the companies are preparing for the big holiday gadget buying season.

"All of these consumer technology announcements are about getting people excited for the holiday selling cycle, which constitutes up to 40 percent of all consumer technology sales," Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, told ABC News.

Moorhead explained the end-of-October rush: "Manufacturers have to announce, ship and educate the retail channels on all new products by mid to late October to make it for mid-November sales."

Here is what you can expect in the next couple of weeks:

Apple iPad Mini
Launch Date: Mid-to-end October


After months of rumors, Apple is expected to release a smaller version of its iPad -- dubbed the iPad Mini -- later this month.  According to reports, it will have a 7.85-inch screen, the same Lightning charging port as the iPhone 5, and an aluminum body.  There's no word on the pricing, but it is expected to be competitive with other smaller tablets.

Microsoft Windows 8 and Surface
Launch date: Oct. 26


After showing off the software for almost a year, Microsoft is ready with the next version of its operating system for tablets, laptops and desktops.  Windows 8 will begin shipping on new tablets and computers from Lenovo, Asus, Acer, Dell, HP and more on Oct. 26.  You will also be able to buy the software and upgrade on that day.

But there's another major launch coming around the 26th -- Microsoft's own tablet, called Surface.  Microsoft hasn't confirmed the exact date of release or the price.

Microsoft Windows Phone 8
Launch date: Oct. 29


After releasing Windows 8, Microsoft is planning to release Windows Phone 8 on Oct. 29 at an event in San Francisco.  The phone operating system has been previewed and has some new features, including new homescreen features.  Nokia, HTC and Samsung have already announced plans to release phones running Windows Phone 8 and those are supposed to be out shortly after the launch.

Google Nexus by LG
Launch date: Late October


Google has been rumored to be releasing the next version of its Nexus phone at the end of the month.  CNET has reported that Google is working with LG and will together launch a phone similar to LG's current Optimus G, which has an HD 4.7-inch screen.  But instead of Android 4.0, it will run the new Android 4.2, which will have new features.  Other sites have also reported that there will be other Nexus phones launched by Google around the same time.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun182012

Microsoft Unveils New Surface Tablet

Microsoft (LOS ANGELES) -- After a long build up about Microsoft's mystery announcement, CEO Steve Ballmer showed off the company's new Windows 8 tablet, called "Microsoft Surface," Monday night in Los Angeles.

The Surface is just 9.3mm thick, has a scratch-resistant magnesium exterior, weighs less than 1.5 pounds and has a 10.6 inch screen, which is slightly larger than that of the iPad. With a built-in USB port, a kickstand and cover that doubles as a physical keyboard, the Surface is more than just a tablet -- it's a PC, the tech giant says. Microsoft says the device is "designed to seamlessly transition between consumption and creation" and will function as a full PC that will run programs like Photoshop and Office.

The Surface is clearly meant to compete with Apple's iPad and other tablets already on the market, and Microsoft demonstrated several features existing tablets only have as accessories, if at all.  Engadget's Tim Stevens says other developers working on their own Windows 8 tablets should be worried.

"Microsoft has set the bar very high for Windows 8 tablets with these Surface devices.  They look great, they're very thin, they look to be very well-engineered," Stevens says. "And for companies like Aesus and Lenovo, people who are working on their own Windows 8 tablets … they've just had to rethink some things, I imagine."

Some critical specifications were not mentioned at Monday's unveiling such as price, screen resolution, battery life or the specific release date.

There are currently two models -- a basic Surface and a higher-end "Surface Pro."  The basic version will be available with 32 or 64 GB of memory. The more powerful Pro will be configured with 64 or 128 GB. Stevens says the Pro version could be priced similar to their UltraBook range of laptops, which cost anywhere from $700 all the way up to $1,400 or $1,500.  The basic Surface will likely be cost comparable to other Android tablet in the $400 to $600 range, he says.

So when will gadget lovers be able to purchase Microsoft's new tablets? Stevens says the lower-end Surface will be available around October and will launch at the same time as Windows 8.  The Pro version, he adds, won't be released for another three months after the initial Surface release -- which could be in early 2013.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio