Microsoft Mystery Event: It's a Tablet!

After days of speculation, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced more than the tech bloggers anticipated, with not one, but two tablet products and what it calls "touch covers."

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We are keeping a close eye on all the news coming out of Microsoft's super-secret announcement this evening, which is set to start at 6:30 EST.

After days of speculation, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced what all the tech bloggers anticipated: Microsoft's own tablet. They call it Surface. "It embodies hardware and software working together," he said. And, actually Microsoft has two versions for us, adding the Surface Pro to the line and what it calls "touch covers."


Outsides: It's just 9.3 mm thick, weighs less than 1.5 pounds, which is where the iPad comes in, and has a 10.6 inch ClearType HD display -- about an inch bigger than the iPad. It also has a what Microsoft says is the first vapor-deposited (PVD) magnesium cover that is less than 3mm thick, which folds out into a more legitimate computer type deal, with a full mult-itouch keyboard, a trackpad, Metro keys and a kickstand, which has the techies particularly excited. It also comes with a 2X2 antenna, so that Microsoft can claim the best WiFi reception out there for a tablet today. It also has USB 2.0 capabilities MicroHD and MicroSD video.

Insides: Windows 8 RT processor, powered by NVIDIA, as expected, which means it not only works apps, but also heftier programs like Microsoft Office. It will be available in both 32GB and 64GB.

Pricing: "Competitive"

Surface Pro

Outsides: A bigger tablet, it still weights less than 2 pounds and is under 14 mm thick. It also has a ClearType display with full HD, 2x2 antennas for the best wifi performance, and USB 3.0 support.

Insides: This one runs Windows 8 Pro. It is powered by the Intel IvyBridge processor, and uses less power than today's Core i5. To keep it cool, it has Perimeter venting all the way around the case. It also comes with a cool pen for writing and editing on the tablet, something designed to excite its blogger audience, perhaps? It also comes a bit bigger, at 64 and 128 GB.

Pricing: "Competitive with Ultrabooks"

Touch Covers

Outsides: For those who want a fuller computing experience, Microsoft will offer -- in addition to the fold out cover, a Type Cover, which is a full tactile keyboard. It has a full touchpad with clickable buttons. These will come in multiple colors. It's only 3.3 mm thin, so it feels like a book, says Microsoft. "Typing is twice as efficient as typing on glass," said Microsoft's Steven Sinofsky.

Here's a little tour for you:

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.