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New Microsoft Tablet Unveiled

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Gone are the days of Apple versus Google in the tablet wars.

At a private event in Los Angeles today, Microsoft presented Surface for the first time, a new line of innovative tablets.

"The Surface has been a long time coming," said John King, CIO of TEC Systems in Redondo Beach. "It looks like a solid contender, but maybe not the showstopper Microsoft wants it to be."

The Surface tablets sports a large 10.6” multi-touch screen bundled in a sleek magnesium case that Microsoft dubbed VaporMG. The icing on the cake is a magnetically attached touch cover that folds down and functions as a full touchscreen keyboard.

Another option available is the 5-mm Type cover, which features a full track pad. Both keyboards power off when they’re folded back thanks to a built in accelerometer (thanks Apple!)

According to the presenter, the first generation of Surface tablets will be available in two distinct versions. Initially the Windows RT version (think of it as a diet version of Windows 8) will launch in the Fall, and run on a greasy-fast ARM CPU. While it won’t be the full version of Windows 8, it will include the full Microsoft Office suite at no additional charge.

Surface RT tablet key specs

  • Windows RT operating system
  • 9.3mm thick
  • Nvidia ARM CPU
  • 10.6-inch ClearType HD Display
  • 676 grams/23.85 ounces
  • 31.5 watt hour battery
  • Ports: microSD, USB 2.0, micro HD video, 2x2 MIMO antennae
  • Storage options: 32GB and 64GB for Windows RT
  • Front and rear-facing "HD" cameras

Next winter a “Surface Pro” version of the table will follow. The Pro will include a larger 10.6” screen, the full Windows 8 operating system running on an Intel Ivy Bridge CPU, and the same chip found in ultrabooks. The Pro will be slightly thicker, provide better peripheral support, sport twice the storage capacity of the RT version.

Surface Pro tablet key specs

  • Windows 8 operating system
  • Intel third-generation Core i CPU
  • 10.6-inch ClearType "Full HD" Display
  • 903 grams/31.85 ounces
  • 13.5mm thick
  • 42 watt hour battery
  • Storage options: 64GB and 128GB
  • Ports: microSDXC, USB 3.0, mini DisplayPort video
  • Front and rear-facing "HD" cameras

Unfortunately, Microsoft keeping mum about networking details on Surface, so it's not clear if it will offer built-in cellular support beyond the on-board Wi-Fi.

"Only time will tell," said King. "It has impressive specs, but offers nothing new in the way of innovation."

What do you think? An Apple Google Killer?

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