Microsoft Surface: Image Gallery

Microsoft's just-announced tablet play, Surface, is long on looks. Here's a graphical look at Microsoft's first entree into the PC hardware business.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer hosted an unveiling of the Surface family of tablet PCs in Los Angeles on Monday evening. The Microsoft-designed hardware for Windows 8 and Windows RT is the company's first foray into the territory of its OEM partners -- personal computer hardware. Microsoft provided several photos showcasing the industrial design of the new devices.


Microsoft President for Windows and Windows Live Steven Sinofsky describes Surface as the "stage" for Windows 8. The tablet will be for sale but it also serves as a reference device for OEM tablets to get the most out of the new operating system and its ARM sibling, Windows RT. The blue keyboard at the front of the image is the Touch Cover. Magnetically attached to the Surface, the 3-mm-thick cover includes a trackpad and typing keys. Sinofsky said typing on the Touch Cover keyboard is roughly twice as fast as using an on-screen keyboard.


The Surface for Windows RT is only 9.3-mm wide. The version for Windows 8 measures 13.5 mm. Within that narrow span, Microsoft wedged ports for USB, video and microSD. The body is made of a material Microsoft calls VaporMg (pronounced "Vapor Mag"). Although none of Microsoft's product shots show the Surface without the magnetic cover, it is removable.


A built-in kickstand folds out to prop up the Surface at a 22-degree angle. The rear-facing camera seen here at the top of the device is also angled at 22 degrees to provide for hands-free video recording or picture taking while the Surface rests on the kickstand. When not in use, the kickstand is designed to fold back flat and flush with the back of the Surface.


Users interested in a more robust typing experience will be able to opt for an alternate cover, called the Type Cover. Slightly thicker at 5 mm, the Type Cover keys move.


Judging by this image, it looks like Microsoft is planning Touch Covers in white/gray, orange, pink and blue, with the Type Cover available in black. The Surface will be available from Microsoft Store retail locations and online.

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About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.