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Microsoft unveils Windows 8-powered Surface tablets

Microsoft has revealed a range of self-branded Windows 8 tablets called Surface, with two models shown at a launch event in Los Angeles, California.

Microsoft has revealed a range of self-branded Windows 8 tablets called Surface, at a media event in Los Angeles, California today.

The Surface tablet with a Touch Cover keyboard. (Credit: Microsoft)

Two tablet variants have been announced; one running Windows RT on an Nvidia ARM processor and the other running on an Intel Core i5 system with Windows 8 Pro. Both devices have a 10.6-inch display with Corning Gorilla Glass 2. The RT version will ship with 32 and 64GB storage options, while the Pro model has 64 and 128GB options available.

Microsoft expects to release the Windows RT version of the Surface alongside the general release of the Windows 8 OS later in the year. The Windows 8 Pro tablet will be available 90 days later, according to Microsoft's press release.

A range of cover accessories, with built-in keyboards, were also shown at the launch event. Touch Cover is the slimmer option with a multi-touch keypad, while Type Cover is thicker and has mechanical keys and a trackpad. The Pro version also comes with a stylus digitiser for handwriting and features palm-blocking technology.

The tablets are Microsoft's first mass-market device in this category. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer began the presentation by speaking to the importance of hardware and software "pushing each other", showing a video clip of some of Microsoft's previous hardware releases, including the first Microsoft Mouse and the Kinect gaming peripheral for Xbox.

OS variant Windows RT Windows 8 Pro
Processor Nvidia ARM processor Intel Core i5
Weight 676 grams 903 grams
Depth 9.3mm 13.5mm
Connectivity microSD
USB 2.0
Micro HDMI
2x2 MIMO antennae
USB 3.0
Mini DisplayPort
2x2 MIMO antennae
Storage 32 or 64GB 64 or 128GB