Microsoft Surface with Windows RT. Image credit: Microsoft

Microsoft Surface with Windows RT. Image credit: Microsoft

Today’s Windows 8 launch is possibly one of the most important launches in the history of Microsoft. A completely re-imagined, re-engineered operating system that is built for touch, and for the future. Microsoft calls it “no compromise” computing, and as a whole, it shows. The Windows 8 UI is immersive, interactive and fluid. It’s all about speed, simplicity and performance. And most importantly, it’s everything a modern day OS should be.

Microsoft may be a software giant but it has shown that it can make great hardware. And one of the most anticipated, and lusted products in recent months, is the Microsoft Surface tablet. The Surface tablet is a first for a couple of things. Firstly, it is Microsoft’s first ever Microsoft-branded computer. The innovative, sleek tablet was envisaged as a hardware reference product for manufacturers developing for Windows 8. Secondly, the Surface tablet is also one of the first devices to run Windows RT, a new operating system fundamentally the same as Windows 8 but optimised for use with ARM-based processors such as the NVIDIA Tegra 3.

Microsoft Surface with Windows RT. Image credit: Microsoft

The Surface tablet is powered by NVIDIA T30 processors with 2GB of RAM, both front and back-side 720p HD cameras and come with microSDXC card slot, USB port, two Wi-Fi antennas, and a 31.5 W-h battery, good for all-day use. It has a 10.6-inch, 1366 x 768 display, and weighs 1.5 pounds.

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Windows RT is, from ground up, built for touch. Unlike its bigger, fuller sibling, however, the new OS cannot run any of the millions of available desktop/legacy apps that have been developed for Windows over the years. No luck if you need to run a copy of Photoshop or play Torchlight II. It does have a Desktop environment that lets you run the pre-loaded copy of Microsoft Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and One Note).

The lust-worthy Surface tablet was sadly absent at the Windows 8 launch event in Singapore today, much to the disappointment of some of the Malaysian media who were present (yours truly included). We were eager to get a hands-on experience with the tablet. Key spokespersons from Microsoft had almost similarly scripted responses when we asked about the Surface:

[quote]”We are delighted with your enthusiasm. However, there are over 50 devices showcased by 10 of our key hardware partners today.”[/quote]

Perhaps it is not to alienate the 10 committed vendors who showcased some pretty exciting form factors and products powered by Windows 8 today.

Microsoft Surface with Windows RT. Image credit: Microsoft

Microsoft Surface with Windows RT. Image credit: Microsoft

Having said that, Microsoft has announced that the Surface tablet is available for pre-order online starting today (October 26), and Microsoft retailers in the US and several other countries (Canada, France, Holland and UK).

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Official Pricing:

  • $499.00
  • $599.00
  • $699.00

No news on availability in Malaysia or other countries yet. For more info on the Surface tablet, visit http://www.microsoft.com/Surface/en-US

The Surface with Windows 8 Pro is also said to be coming soon.

Microsoft Surface with Windows RT. Image credit: Microsoft

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