By now, we are all surely familiar with MetroUI, the critically acclaimed interface powering Windows Phone 7 and the upcoming Windows 8 operating system. While the Windows 8 test builds have proven that the interface is indeed usable under the traditional computing model, many assumed that Microsoft had an ace up its sleeves. This is exactly what Microsoft announced yesterday at a mystery event in Los Angeles.
Roughly ten years after the launch of Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, Microsoft announced its next generation of tablets—one running Windows RT, and the other running Windows 8. While the two devices share some DNA in the form of PVD (physical-vapor deposition) magnesium casing, screen size, and basic design language; the two devices feature markedly different internals.
The Windows RT version weighs in at just 1.5 lbs and is 9.3 mm thick. It will come in 32 and 64 GB flavors, and will be powered by an ARM processor. The Intel-based Windows 8 version is a bit chunkier at 1.9 lbs and 13.5 mm, and it will be available in 64 and 128 GB varieties. It will also feature USB 3 connectivity, a “Full HD” (we assume 1920×1080) display, and digital ink support with a magnetically-attached pen. Both versions will featire a 10.6″ ClearType screen, a built-in kickstand, and a magnetically-attached Touch and Type keyboard covers.
Retail pricing for the Windows RT and Windows 8 tablets is currently unclear, but many expect it to be in line with current ARM tablets and Ultrabook PCs, respectively. The Windows RT version is expected in October, and the Windows 8 should be available around three months later.
Can’t wait to get your hands on one? Is this what you envisioned as the first step towards the future of computing? And most importantly, do Microsoft’s new tablets live up to their claims of a “no compromises” experience? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below, and join the discussion in our newly created Microsoft Surface sub-forum located in the Windows 8 Development and Hacking forum.