Microsoft Surface Tablet Release Date with Windows 8 Confirmed for Oct. 26?
Following in the footsteps of Apple, Microsoft has announced its own enigmatic media event. The company said today via "save the date" invitations that it will hold an event on Oct. 25 in New York to launch Windows 8. Could this also be quiet confirmation of the Surface tablet's release the same day? We'd bet on it.
Microsoft is still not sharing the specific venue, time or agenda for the New York launch. And while Microsoft officials divulged that there will be a Manhattan holiday pop-up store opening this fall, they declined to say whether it would be open in time for the Windows 8 launch.
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Microsoft is making Windows 8 -- and Surface RT, its first tablet running the Windows RT on ARM version of the product -- available commercially on October 26.
New York City has been Microsoft's chosen site for many of its recent Windows launches, including Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.
And as we saw a few weeks ago, the company already seemed to be trying to build anticipation, possibly through a guerilla street-art campaign.
The Microsoft Surface street art features a colorful keyboard below the word "surface." Microsoft was either hoping that its low-profile advertising campaign would get people talking about its new product, or maybe there's just a graffiti artist who is psyched about the Surface Tablet.
And while Microsoft failed to comment on the matter, we're going to go ahead and guess this was a suave marketing strategy. Either way, it certainly has people talking about Surface and Windows 8.
Windows 8, similar to Windows Phone 7, comes with a totally new interface, called Metro UI. Microsoft first introduced Metro in its Windows Phone 7. Later, advanced versions of the interface appeared in Windows Phone 7.5 and the newest Windows Phone 8. Indeed, the tile-based interface will add much grandeur to the look and feel of the Surface tablets.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is so confident in Windows 8, he says the launch could be the most significant in the company's history --even bigger than Windows 95.
"You know, Windows 95 was certainly the biggest thing in the last 20 years until now. I think Windows 8 certainly surpasses it," Ballmer said in an interview with The Seattle Times over the weekend. In fact, Ballmer is so confident about Windows 8 that he won't even entertain the notion that the new operating system and the products built around it end up being anything other than a success.
Some of Ballmer's confidence in the potential for the operating system appears to come from his belief - and presumably the company's as well - that the PC market is stronger than it gets credit for.
"People talk about: 'How healthy is the PC market?'" Ballmer said in the interview. "There's going to be close to 400 million PCs sold in the next year, which makes it a big market. And whether it's 405 (million) or 395 (million), it's a big market, and Windows 8 will propel that volume."
There's no doubt that there's still a healthy customer base for PCs, but analysts expect Windows 8 will provide only a minimal boost to this market, nothing that will turn this industry around.
Where Windows 8 is really expected to shine though is on tablets and smartphones.
Ballmer announced in the same interview that Microsoft's Surface tablet would be priced to compete with Apple's iPad, starting somewhere around $300 for the basic Windows-RT model, and likely around $800 for the Windows 8 version.
The new price point is certainly competitive against Apple, but we have to wonder if Microsoft's Surface will be able to compete when it comes to the device's over-all functionality. Will it integrate apps into your book/magazine reading experience like Apple and Kindle? Will it even have a comparable app store?
It's only natural Microsoft is trying to create buzz for the Surface with an iPad competitive price. The company clearly wants to position the Surface Tablet as a revolutionary product in the tablet market, and the only way to do that is to take on Goliath. Of course, that positioning has a lot to do with the Surface's ties to Windows 8, which is almost certainly being released simultaneously.
Both Surface models sport 10.6-inch Clear type Full HD displays with 16:9 widescreen. That means they are among the biggest tablets in the market. If you are not satisfied with the typical 10.1-inch tablet, you can go for the Surface tablet. Along with the touch keyboards with the device, you can turn the machine to a small notebook.
The Surface tablet comes with five Touch Covers. Well, you can pick up any one while purchasing the machine. Different from typical keyboards, the Surface keypads provide brilliant typing experience thanks to their touch-based surface.
The Surface tablets mount both front and rear cameras. The front camera, named life cam by Microsoft, makes the tablet perfect for video chatting through Skype or other services. Using the rear camera, you can capture images and video clips.
Microsoft puts forward better memory options with the Surface tablets. The device comes in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB options. The 128GB is available only with Surface Pro. Further, you can expand the memory using external memory sticks thanks to microSD card slot. That is, you can store enough data including music, software items and video in external clips.
The 3mm Touch Cover features a revolutionary kickstand. Along with fully functioning keyboard and track-pad, the integrated kickstand helps you place the gadget in both portrait or landscape modes. The Touch Cover can be connected to your Surface tablet with a single magnetic click. Now you can easily type text and send messages quite easily.
The tablet is being touted as an "all-in-one" tablet. But will it integrate apps into your book/magazine reading experience like Apple and Kindle? Will it even have a comparable app store?
CEO Ballmer said last month that Microsoft's new tablet could sully relationships with PC manufactures like Asus, Acer, and Dell, but Ballmer expects to sell millions of tablets after the Surface's debut in October.