At last, Microsoft’s latest PC flagship Operating System, the Windows 8, is just around the corner. The hype has had itself building for well over an year now, and Microsoft has been dishing out previews to let consumers and developers know what to expect. First the Developer Preview, then the Consumer Preview, and finally, the Release Preview before the actual release, which will be done on the 26th of this month. But amidst all this, the software manufacturer has also been gearing up for its first full-fledged hardware product, the Surface Tablet. Previously, we only knew that the Surface is going to be released somewhere near the launch of Windows 8. But now, invitations sent out by Microsoft for the launch event highlight the release of the Surface to be just before the release of Windows 8.
The invitation, sent out last week, reads: “You’re invited to Celebrate Windows 8. Including a Microsoft Surface Reception.” Windows 8 was pre-scheduled to be launched on October 26th. But the Surface will be launched on the midnight of October 26th (the night between 25th and 26th). For this midnight launch, some of Microsoft’s holiday retail locations will open up, and the majority of these temporary pop-up stores will be situated in the same malls or shopping centers as Apple stores. These stores were announced last month by Microsoft.
What to expect?
We have already talked a lot about Windows 8 new and cool features, and why all the radical changes. So let’s talk a bit about the Surface. The Surface will be coming in two versions, Surface for RT, and Surface Pro. The RT tablets will compete with the industry leaders, such as the iPad, whereas the Surface Pro will go for the Ultrabooks. Here’s a glimpse of the features.
- 10.6 inch Display
- Nvidia Tegra Chip
- 32-64 GB Storage
- USB 2.0, microSD
- 9.3 mm thick, 680g weight
- 31.5 Watt-Hour Battery
- 10.6 inch HD display
- Intel Core i5 Processor, Ivy Bridge, 3rd Generation (= Vow :P)
- 64-128GB storage
- USB 3.0 and microSDXC. Mini DisplayPort Video
- 13.5 mm thick, 903 g weight
- 42 Watt-Hour battery
Despite the early speculation about the Surface prices to be around $1,000, Microsoft still hasn’t cleared out the issue, nor has it announced the exact prices even when the release date looms so close. Microsoft’s CEO, Steve Ballner, has hinted at a range of $300 – $800 as being the “sweet spot for pricing.”
“If you say to somebody, ‘Would you use one of the 7-inch tablets, would somebody ever use a Kindle [Kindle Fire, $199] to do their homework?’ The answer is no; you never would. It’s just not a good enough product. It doesn’t mean you might not read a book on it…If you look at the bulk of the PC market, it would run between, say, probably $300 to about $700 or $800. That’s the sweet spot,” Said Ballner in an interview to the Seattle Times.
Whatever the pricing though, it’s one gamble that Microsoft seems willing to take. How well can the software giant perform in the hardware market? Only time will tell. In the meantime, just sit back and wait for the Surface and Windows 8 to debut. We all are waiting to get our hands on either of the products. Two Cheers for Microsoft 🙂