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Friday, November 22, 2013

Gadgets to die for: Microsoft Surface Tablet

Microsoft Surface is a series of tablets designed and marketed by Microsoft. Announced on June 18, 2012 by CEO Steve Ballmer at aLos Angeles event in Milk Studios, Surface was the first major initiative by Microsoft to integrate its Windows operating system with its own hardware.[15]
The Surface debuted in two models, marketed as Surface RT and Surface Pro. Surface RT uses an ARM (ARMv7) CPU runningWindows RT whereas Surface Pro utilizes an Intel Ivy Bridge CPU running Windows 8.[16][17][18]
Sales did not meet Microsoft's expectations, which led to price reductions and other sales incentives.[19][20]
The successors, Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 were released on October 22, 2013.

The Surface devices use a molded magnesium casing known as "VaporMg" (pronounced "VaporMag")[21] that houses Surface's components paired with a PVD finish.[22] A built-in kickstand allows the device to be propped up for viewing without any additional hardware.
Both devices include several hardware buttons and inputs, including a power button and volume rocker. A touch sensitive Windows key is centered directly below the screen. The bottom of both Surface devices includes a magnetic data connector through which the keyboard covers connect to and communicate with the device. For ports, Surface RT features a full-size USB 2.0 port, an HD video out port, and amicroSDXC card slot; Surface Pro includes a full-size USB 3.0 port, Mini DisplayPort port, and microSDXC card slot.[23] Both models have two 720p HD front- and rear-facing cameras,[24] and a 0.77 millimetres (0.030 in)-thick kickstand which allows the device to be stood up at an angle for hands-free viewing.

Surface RT uses a Nvidia Tegra 3, an ARMv7 (system on chip),[25][26] while Surface Pro features an Intel Core i5 processor.

Surface RT and Surface Pro have screens of 10.6 inches (27 cm) with a 16:9 aspect ratio. Both tablets use Microsoft's ClearType HD display technology and support an ultra-wide viewing angle and auto-adjusting screen intensity. In announcement talk, Michael Angiulo said that when Surface Pro is held at 17 inches (43 cm), the eyes will not be able to distinguish between individual pixels.[27][28][29] Both screens feature Gorilla Glass, scratch and crack-resistant glass.[30]
The display functions as a multi-touch input device. While Surface RT includes 5-point capacitive touch, Surface Pro includes 10-points of touch detection. In addition, Surface Pro includes a digital pen and Wacom digitizing technology. This allows the pen to be contacted with up to 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity. To achieve highly precise pen inputs, the display produces a weak electromagnetic (EM) field, which induces a current in the otherwise passive pen, which in turn impacts the EM field. This allows the system to detect the position and angle of the pen starting at a distance of 1 inch (2.5 cm) from the display. During pen use, the touch system rejects inputs from the user's palm. While not in use, the pen can be stored on the magnetic connector that is also used for device charging. As a result, the pen must be detached while the device is charging. In addition to the display inputs, both Surface devices include an ambient light sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass.[31]

Microsoft offers two keyboard covers for Surface devices—the Touch Cover and Type Cover—both of which connect to the device via a magnetic strip. Both serve as protective covers when folded against the device, and function as keyboards when opened. The Touch Cover is 3.25 millimetres (0.128 in) thick and has a pressure-sensitive keyboard. The Type Cover is thicker at 6 millimetres (0.24 in) and includes a tactile keyboard with physical keys. The keyboards have a gyroscope and accelerometer sensor to determine, based on position, whether or not to accept input. Both also include a multitouch touchpad.[32]

Surface RT launched alongside the general availability release of Windows 8 on October 26, 2012.[33] Surface Pro became available on February 9, 2013.[34] Surface decives were initially available only at Microsoft Stores and online, it was later expanded into other vendors.[35]
At the June 2012 unveiling event, Steven Sinofsky, President of the Windows and Windows Live Division, stated that pricing for Surface RT "[would] be comparable to other ARM devices" and pricing for Surface Pro "[would] be comparable to current ultrabooks." In a recent interview with the Seattle Times, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer responded to the question about Surface pricing stating that the "sweet spot" for the bulk of the PC market was $300 to $800, but did not detail any more specifics.[36] On October 16, pricing was revealed for Surface RT,[37] and pre-orders opened to ship, "for delivery by 10/26".[38]
Microsoft outsourced the pre-order process to several different partners, leading to customer confusion about the status of their deliveries.[39] Microsoft has responded to the delays by offering vouchers to pre-order customers who complain about the late deliveries.[40][41]
In November 2012, Steve Ballmer described the distribution approach to Surface as "modest".[42] On November 29, 2012, Microsoft revealed the pricing for the two versions of Surface with Windows 8 Pro (64GB and 128GB).[43] The tablet would go on sale at February 9, 2013, in the United States and Canada.[44] Earlier reports were saying sometime in January.[45] A launch event was set to be held on February 8, 2013, but was cancelled at the last minute due to the February 2013 nor'easter.[46] The 128GB version of the tablet sold out on the same day as its release. There was much less demand for the 64GB version, because of the much smaller available storage capacity, but supplies of the lower cost unit were almost as tight.[47] The 128GB version was back and available for order again on February 16, 2013. However, shipments would be delayed until the following March 1.[48] As of March 3rd, shipments would be delayed until March 12, according to the Microsoft Online Store. As of March 7 the 128GB Tablet became available again and resumed shipping.[citation needed]


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