MrSeb writes: "At its much-discussed “big unveil” this evening, Microsoft did indeed launch a tablet — but rumors that the device would showcase a Barnes & Noble partnership were misplaced. Instead, Microsoft showed a vision for a next-gen PC that combines the portability of a tablet with a minimalistic fold-out keyboard and integrated kickstand. Microsoft’s idea for the tablet (confusingly called Surface) is a device that integrates a better keyboard option than typing on the screen without adding size or weight. That’s where the new keyboard — which doubles as a screen cover — kicks in. At 3mm thick, it adds virtually nothing to the device’s size, but it opens up a world of inputs. There are two covers available — the Touch Cover (very thin) and the Type Cover (with proper, tactile keys). Microsoft is touting the device’s magnesium body, vapor-deposited construction, full PC functionality, and additional features like being the first tablet to showcase a 2×2 MIMO wireless antenna. Windows RT (ARM) and x86 versions are both in the works, with the x86 version apparently having a higher quality screen. No word on hardware specs yet; Microsoft is claiming it “rivals the best ultrabooks” and uses less power than the Core i5. I'm a little bit dubious on that front — and also dubious about how Microsoft's hardware partners will receive this new, rather competitive offering..."
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