By Michael Thurston | AFP –
Software giant Microsoft unveiled its first tablet computer, Surface, in a major hardware launch clearly designed to take on long-term rival Apple’s market-ruling iPad.
Chief executive Steve Ballmer described the iPad challenger — complete with a built-in stand and ultra thin covers-cum-keyboards in a range of colors — as a tablet that “works and plays.”
“The Surface is a PC, the Surface is a tablet, and the Surface is something new that we think people will absolutely love,” he said at an hour-long presentation in a Hollywood design studio.
No prices or release dates were given, but the Surface is expected to go on sale in the fall, with retail prices “competitive with a comparable ARM tablet or Intel Ultrabook-class” computers, Microsoft said.
There were spontaneous bursts of applause and whoops from tech journalists and bloggers as key features of the new tablet, which has a slightly bigger screen