Microsoft Surface RT tablets available on Windows 8 launch

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 30, 2012
Hardware, Microsoft, Windows 8

If I had to pick one thing that I'm fully excited about in regards to Microsoft's upcoming operating system Windows 8, it is the prospect of trying out and buying a Surface tablet that Microsoft announced a month ago. Without rehashing what has already been said, the Surface tablet family comes in two major shapes. First with ARM processors and Windows RT, and then with Intel processors and a full version of Windows 8.

I'm not really interested in a Surface RT device as I can't use it to run legacy Windows applications on it, other than those - like Microsoft Office - that Microsoft is making available as specialized versions. And since I do not want to use a computer without the software that I'm using on my desktop PC, I have made the decision to evaluate the Surface Pro tablet to see if it ticks all the right boxes.

The operating system is not the only difference between those two device families. Surface RT devices come with 32 or 64 Gigabyte of storage, while Surface Pro devices with 64 or 128 Gigabytes of flash storage.

All devices ship with the option to attach two different physical keyboards to them to make writing tasks more comfortable. That, its size and weight, and the fact that it provides me with a touch-enabled device that I can test Windows 8 on is what got me interested in first place.

According to Paul Thurrott, I may have to wait until the beginning of 2013 before I can get my hands on a Surface Pro device.  He discovered that Microsoft revealed the launch date of its Surface devices in "a filing with the US Security and Exchange Commission" (which he failed to link).

The next version of our operating system, Windows 8, will be generally available on October 26, 2012. At that time, we will begin selling the Surface, a series of Microsoft-designed and manufactured hardware devices.

Microsoft will make Surface RT tablets available when Windows 8 launches. The company previously indicated that Surface Pro devices would become available at least 90 days after the launch of Windows RT, and 90 days after October 26 means at the end of January 2013 at the earliest.

This is disappointing news for Windows users who may have planned to get hold of a Surface Pro device by Christmas 2012.

Microsoft has yet to reveal the retail price for all Surface tablets, which, among other things, can make or break the tablet.

What's your take on Microsoft Surface? Are you interested in one? If yes, what interests you the most? If not, why not?


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  1. Dirgster said on August 2, 2012 at 2:19 am

    I’m using a Windows 7 desktop PC at home and am possibly interested in purchasing the Surface Pro for travel and convenience. If I understand correctly, Surface will let me install Microsoft Office, an important program that I like and use constantly. Also, the attached keyboard that comes as an option with the device will definitely be a great attraction for me.

  2. Gonzo said on July 31, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    Win 8 RT Surface – It will directly compete with Android and iOS. In this case I’d choose an Android unless M$ can compete dollar for dollar. Even then the large Open Source community and wide variety of apps would still see me choose an Android.

    Surface Pro x86 – IMO this “Jack of all Trades” looks like a master of none. I don’t like small screens with small keyboards for doing extensive work and I find Tablets larger than 10″ too big. I also fear that legacy apps on a touchscreen are going to be less productive than Metro on the desktop.

    I view Tablets as an additional/optional tool. I would opt for an Ultrabook and a 7″ Tablet. Access to my data from multiple devices is more of a concern than manipulating it with the same app.

    If I were interested in an x86 Tablet I’d at least wait for Intels 22nm Haswell.

    Martin, will the Surface Pro be replacing any of your existing tools? If so, what? If not, what use do you see for the Surface? Percentage wise can you estimate how much you plan to use it?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 31, 2012 at 10:09 pm

      Gonzo my plan is to get the tablet for trips that I make. I currently have an Acer Timeline laptop and while it does everything ok, I’d prefer a lighter tablet with keyboard that I can carry around and do all my typing on without having to go crazy using a touchscreen keyboard. So, the important aspect for me is that it has a keyboard, that I can use it to test Win8 with touch, that it is a compact device with a stand built-in, and that I can run legacy Win apps on it that I do not want to miss or replace. It only makes sense though if the price is right though and if the keyboard is well designed.

      I do not need the machine for gaming or any other activities that may require lots of processing power.

  3. ilev said on July 31, 2012 at 7:45 am

    Not interested in Windows 8 / Surface at all. I don’t the Surface selling more that all other Windows tablets have sold in the last 11 years, which amount to nothing.

  4. Threshold said on July 30, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    I would like a a tablet to mainly read comics\magazines (so it has to have colour display) and watch some youtube videos but I cannot neither afford nor I am willing to spend 800€ or more on it.

    So price would be the breaking factor.

    Anyway anything that gives Apple serious competition is welcome.

    1. fokka said on July 30, 2012 at 7:24 pm

      may i ask what is wrong with the existing solutions? the nexus 7 would be an affordable option, or an asus, if you happen to need more power/screen.

      1. Gonzo said on July 31, 2012 at 6:16 am

        The Surface is an Asus Transformer Prime with Win 8 RT.

        As for the Nexus 7, no SD card = no thanks! The cloud as an option not a requirement!

  5. Rahul said on July 30, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    I would love to get surface pro tablet, but i hope its cost is reasonable, not like overpriced macs for sensitive markets like india

  6. Roman ShaRP said on July 30, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    As I said before, I’m not interested in Win8 devices because I don’t like Win 8 at all.

    On the other hand, price like $200 can change my mind, mu-a-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha :)

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