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What is the Microsoft Surface?

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The Microsoft Surface is Microsoft's tablet computer announced on June 18th, 2012 and due to be released later in the year. The tablet comes in two variants, with the 'basic' version running Windows-RT and powered by the same ARM processors that power many smartphone and tablet computers. The 'pro' version will run the full version of Windows 8 and be powered by Intel processors.

The two major features setting the basic version apart from other tablets is the Windows-RT software and the touch cover, which is a magnetic cover that includes both a keyboard and a touch pad. The Microsoft Surface also includes a built-in kickstand. Not much is known about pricing or key features, such as processor speed, graphics chips or the inclusion of an accelerometer, gyroscope, etc.

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The Microsoft Surface pro version differentiates itself from the basic version by including a much more powerful processor and running the full version of Windows 8. It is designed to compete with ultrabooks and laptops directly rather than competing with standard tablets, and Microsoft mentioned that it will be priced accordingly.

The Microsoft Surface represents the first time that Microsoft has introduced its own branded computer. This is significant because it puts Microsoft in direct competition with its own partners, companies like Hewlett Packard and Dell who put Microsoft's Windows operating system on their computers and are among the top PC manufacturers.

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