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Revealed: Microsoft Back in the Hardware Game With New Surface Tablets

surface_pc.pngAfter the brief announcement last week, gossip has reached a mild fever in advance of Microsoft's hushed press event, taking place at Milk Studios. With partners and product names flying about, what will the company really reveal?

The Magical Mystery Tour

The Internet has been buzzing since Friday and Microsoft's rush announcement of a mystery press event. Will it be a new media service, a tablet PC running Windows 8 or RT, or some new cross-platform service? The truth comes out very soon. Microsoft is supposed to be showing off Windows Phone 8 in a few days, so this shouldn't be about smartphones. Check below for the news as it happens. 

So far today, Barnes & Noble has denied it has anything to do with them. A recently leaked Xbox 720 document has been pulled by lawyers on behalf of Microsoft and most pundits are returning to the theme of a Windows RT-powered tablet. With Apple having recently unveiled iOS 6 and Amazon looking at new Kindle Fire hardware, we'll find out in just a few minutes. 

Somewhere in Los Angeles…

Latest updates at the top: 

4:50 Again, this is Microsoft hardware, not something designed by its partners, who probably won't be too thrilled by this news. No word on pricing, which is usually where Microsoft falls down. The press release is out and highlights some of the hardware design:

  • It has edges angled at 22 degrees, a natural position for the PC at rest or in active use.
  • Integrated Kickstand that lets you transition Surface from active use to passive consumption – watching a movie or even using the HD front- or rear-facing video cameras. The kickstand is there when needed, and disappears when not in use, with no extra weight or thickness.
  • Touch Cover: The 3 mm Touch Cover represents a step forward in human-computer interface. Using a unique pressure-sensitive technology, Touch Cover senses keystrokes as gestures, enabling you to touch type significantly faster than with an on-screen keyboard. 
  • DisplayPort output for running on larger screens and USB 3.0 support for fast peripherals. 

surface4.png

4:40 Here's the specification sheet for both Windows RT and Windows 8 models. There's support for both touch and pen/stylus input with an Ivy Bridge i5 processor inside giving them PC-like grunt. 

It comes with 10.6" display, Gorilla glass, weighs 1.5lbs and has a magnesium case. A new site has gone live and will have the event video shortly. A super-thin PC keyboard makes it a PC or tablet depending on your need. 

And here it is, the first Surface-branded tablet from Microsoft. 

surface3.png

4:20 "What is this innovation? Something new, something different, a whole new family of computing devices from Microsoft for Windows 8.

4:15 "Today we want to add another piece, another bit of excitement, to the Windows story. Our most successful hardware has been the Xbox. Developers are pushing it to do more. We see that combination working in our PC ecosystem. We believe in the strength and innovation of that ecosystem.""

4:10 Here we go. Steve Ballmer is onstage to address the audience. "Windows is the heart and soul of Microsoft. It's proven to be the most flexible, general purpose software ever created. With Windows 8 we've reimagined Windows to power a new generation of PCs. We designed Windows 8 for the world where people want access to information, and the ability to create content anywhere and anytime."

4:00PST Posters are getting bored on Twitter, "It seems somewhat fitting for a Microsoft event to take ages to start up" says one. Most people there are using Macs or iPads points out another, ouch! 

3:50PST Attendees are filing in, on a big screen is what looks a bit like a floor plan, but it could be the outline of a tablet. Even a dual-screen one like the fabled Courier tablet. 

3:30PST The event has been delayed as huge queues of journalists and camera teams wait in line to get into the studio. Has the look of a rush job, never a good thing. 

 
 
 
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