Microsoft's Mobile Tablet Finally Surfaces

At an invitation-only event in Los Angeles yesterday, Microsoft’s Chief Executive Steve Ballmer unveiled its new family of Surface tablets. Shoppers can soon expect two versions of the Surface, the “RT” targeted at the casual consumer and the “Pro” for content creators.

After years of Apple dominating the mobile-friendly tablet market, Microsoft is finally getting into the race by using their best asset - software. Running on the yet-to-be-released Windows 8 operating system, these tablets will come preloaded with Office software. And with an included detachable keyboard, it looks like the Surface is not only gunning for the iPad, but is also looking to make laptops obsolete as well.

However, during the press conference, Steven Sinofsky, President of Windows, made it quite clear how he expects consumers to use the product. When describing the device he said, “It’s solid. It feels great in your hand like a book. It just fits there.”

So how will the new Surface products compare to other tablets and e-reading devices? Here is a handy chart to show the differences:

But while the Internet has exploded with buzz surrounding this announcement, Microsoft has conspicuously left out two important details: availability and price. Currently there is no official launch date set, but most experts predict the release of the Surface RT will coincide with that of Windows 8, due out this fall, with the Pro to follow a few months after. As for price, all the company has released is that the RT device will be priced in the range of comparable tablets (presumably closely matching the iPad price of around $450), while the Pro will be within the range of Windows-based Ultrabooks which are sold from $700 to $1,000+.

What are your thoughts on the upcoming Surface devices? Will you desert your current tablet for the upcoming Windows-based device? Let us know in the comments below. And for more about the Microsoft Surface, you can read the full press release here