On Monday, Microsoft entered the tablet competition with the launch of Surface. Surface boasts a full-sized USB port and a 16:9 aspect ratio – the industry standard for HD. It has edges angled at 22 degrees, a natural position for the PC at rest or in active use plus, Vapor Mg. Pronounced Vapor-Mag, it is a special process to, according to Microsoft’s press release, “mold metal and deposit particles that create a finish akin to a luxury watch.” The process provides the casing for Surface.
With Apple’s iPad and Google’s Android-based, Galaxy Tab, Microsoft’s Surface will more than likely take a piece of the tablet pie by offering consumers two important things the others don’t — an actual keyboard, as opposed to a virtual keyboard, and Microsoft Office products.
With Surface, gone is the typical touchscreen keyboard. Touch Cover, what Microsoft says is “10 times faster than any keyboard in use today,” was developed by a researcher at Microsoft named Stevie Bathiche. The Touch Cover is designed without mechanical keys and is ultra-thin at 3 millimeters. The technology uses pressure-sensitivity to detect when a user is pressing a key to type or resting their fingers on the home row.
A second keyboard is also available for people who love keys. The Type Cover includes mechanical keys and is 2 millimeters thicker than Touch Cover. Both keyboards will operate using the same multi-touch digitizer and will cling to the Surface magnetically.
Nomura Securities analyst Rick Sherlund said the keyboard could be a critical feature for people who use the tablet not just for reading or viewing orbrowsing the Web, but for creating spreadsheets or documents or other types of written content.
The other element tablet users will find beneficial, Microsoft Office. Surface will incorporate Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Surface users will not onl be able to read or browse the web but, they will have the ability to write, create and edit documents and spreadsheets through Windows based products.
Two Surface tablets will be available, one Windows RT-based and the other will be Windows 8-based. Although retail pricing of the tablet was not made available at Microsoft’s launch of Surface, accordingto Jefferies analyst Peter Misek, Surface needs to “significantly undercut the iPad to be competitive.”
An availability date for Surface has not been announced.