Microsoft reveals its new Surface tablet in bid to challenge Apple

Kasmira Jefford
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MICROSOFT last night drew back the curtains on Microsoft Surface, its first, long-awaited tablet as it looks to step up competition with Apple’s iPad.

At a private event held at Milkwood Studios in Hollywood yesterday evening, the technology giant showed off two versions of the Windows-powered Surface device, a thinner 9.3mm model for the Windows RT version and 13.5mm for the Pro version.

Surface features a 10.6-inch HD widescreen display, USB and micro SD card slots, and a 3mm fold-out cover that also acts as a keyboard.

The tablet also come with an built-in “kickstand” that will allow users to prop it up for watching films.

The world’s largest software maker is on track to launch its touch-friendly Windows 8 operating system this autumn and wants to make a big impact with its own device to spark demand.

The tablets will be available when Windows 8 ships later this year, according to a Microsoft statement.

No details on pricing were mentioned, except that it would be “comparable” with current ARM tablets and Intel-powered Ultrabooks.

Microsoft shares rose slightly in after-hours trading. They closed down 0.6 per cent at $29.84 in the regular Nasdaq session.

Sales of tablets are expected to triple in the next two years, topping 180m a year in 2013, outpacing growth in traditional PCs.