Surface Tablet (via Microsoft)
Unlike smartphones, tablets come in two flavors for most people; Apple and Android (unless you’ve modded yours to use another OS). This year (2012) looks to add a third contender to the tablet market with the introduction of Microsoft’s Surface line that features the eighth incarnation of the company’s Windows OS. Currently, Microsoft has only unveiled two of the upcoming tablets with the higher-end Surface Pro (Windows 8 Pro) which features a dual-core Intel Core i5 CPU, 10.6in ClearType Full HD (16:9 ratio 1080p resolution) touch-capacitive screen with 64/128GB of storage. The midrange Surface tablet (un-Pro version) uses the Windows RT OS which is essentially Windows 8 for mobile devices that run an ARM processor.
The OS choice makes sense as the entry-level Surface tablet runs an (rumored) Nvidia Tegra 3 ARM quad-core CPU, 10.6in ClearType non-Full HD (16:9 ratio) touch screen and 32/64GB of storage. Each tablet houses multiple connectivity inputs that include 2X2 MIMO WI-FI, USB 2.0 (3.0 for Pro), microSD (microSDXC for Pro) and micro HDMI (Mini DisplayPort for Pro). Battery power for the Surface line consists of 31.5Wh for the RT version and 42Wh for the Pro respectively which is great for everyday tasks but expect those numbers to be reduced while gaming or watching movies.
While both tablets feature some notable differences over the current generation of slates such as a built-in kickstand (sure you can get after-market stands but this feature should be included as standard), one of the major differences is the case/covers that are offered for both flavors that include Touch Cover and Type Cover. Both are connected to the tablets via a magnetic strip and protect the device when closed. When the cases are un-folded, they become a 3mm touch sensitive keyboard for the Surface midrange and a thicker tactile (traditional) keyboard for the Surface Pro. Both include a regular touchpad (like those found on laptops) and use an accelerometer and gyroscope sensors to determine the tablet's position which helps in preventing accidental input (keystrokes) like some smartphones do when carried in a pocket. The Surface mid-range tablet will be on hand as soon as Microsoft Windows 8 is released (sometime this year) with the Surface Pro becoming available three months after. There’s no information yet on the prices for both tablets, but you can expect them to be competitively priced over the current competition.