Published On: Tue, Jun 19th, 2012

Microsoft unveils Surface Windows 8 tablets

Microsoft has unveiled Surface – its own-brand family of tablets.

The touchscreen computers will be powered by its upcoming Windows 8 system and contain a choice of an Intel or ARM-based processor. It allows the firm to challenge Apple’s bestselling iPad with a device that can run standard applications such as its own Office programs and Photoshop.

But it puts Microsoft in competition with other manufacturers planning to release tablets designed for Windows 8.

The devices have 10.6 inch (26.9cm) displays, built-in kickstands and are housed in magnesium cases – which the company described as the first of their kind.

The ARM-based tablets are 9.3mm (0.4 inches) thick – slightly less than the iPad – and run the Windows RT version of the new system. The Verge reported that the chipset will be built by Nvidia.

The versions using Intel’s x86 technology run Windows 8 Pro and are 13.5mm (0.5 inches) thick. The specifications mean the Surface tablets have bigger screens than the iPad but are heavier.

The devices are also designed to work with a pen accessory using what the firm dubbed “digital ink”. When the stylus is held close to the screen of the tablet it ignores touch-input from the users’ hands and “samples” the ink at 600dpi (dots per inch).

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