Microsoft announced on Monday night in Los Angeles the Surface family of tablets designed to work with the new Windows 8 operating system and challenge Apple’s stronghold on the tablet market with the iPad.
The launch event, which marked Microsoft’s first foray into personal computing hardware in years, was in itself noteworthy. Tech journalists who turned up had no idea what to expect, and Microsoft managed to keep the contents of the event almost completely secret until the announcement was made.
The Surface will come in two physical versions: A lighter and thinner model with the Windows RT OS for users constantly on the go, and a more powerful (but sightly chunkier) Windows 8 Pro version for those with more serious computing needs.
Pricing and availabilty for both devices were not immediately announced, but they are expected to be priced ‘competitively’ against both tablets and ultrabooks out in the market. The Windows RT device will be released first, with the Windows 8 pro version to be launched around four months later.