Microsoft’s Surface tablet was quite a surprise when it debuted earlier this week. There were hints that the company would be getting into the tablet hardware business — they’ve done it before with mice, keyboards and other accessories — but the resulting product was something few could have predicted.
According to TechRadar, who received the inside scoop on the matter, Microsoft designed and worked on the prototypes of the slate inside a windowless underground bunker. Like a Mission Impossible movie, there were safeguards in place to ensure no one was snapping illicit photos, and that no unauthorized personnel were allowed inside the chamber. The team used 3D printers, along with paper, cardboard and sketches, to ensure that they were on the right track, before moving onto production units to test WiFi capabilities.
They were also careful not to talk about two things: screen resolution or price. These two (important) numbers are still not known to the public, as Microsoft was reticent to discuss what the production units would cost. Speculation has pegged the ARM version, dubbed Surface RT, at $599 for the 32GB version; the Intel-based Pro version is speculated to run $999. The ARM version may have a Tegra 3 SoC inside, while the Pro looks to be equipped with a Core i5.
The screen resolution is also under scrutiny, but for the ARM version it looks like it will end up a modest 1366×768 which makes the pixel density on the 10.6-inch display a paltry 148ppi. The Pro version should have a more crisp 1920×1080 Full HD res, which will account for some of the higher price.
Nevertheless, the Surface in either incantation should be quite a popular device in both the consumer and enterprise space. We’re not sure when it will be released — we hope soon, for Microsoft’s sake — but the slate has the ingredients to be a fantastic product.