Today was the official worldwide launch of Windows 8 and Steve Balmer, CEO, Microsoft, took the stage this morning at a press event in NYC to celebrate the “best release of Windows ever”. Nothing really new was unveiled, in fact, everything regarding Windows 8, the new PCs, the new tablets and Surface has been announced during the past few months. We were eager to get our hands on the Microsoft Surface tablet since we only saw a prototype at the Surface announcement event in L.A, back in August. We have purchased a unit for internal software development that we will use for the upcoming complete Surface review, we know that our readers are impatient hear about our “unbiased” opinion (thanks for the comment Jimmy!).
During the Windows 8 event, several devices including Ultrabooks and tablets were briefly showcased and Steve Balmer closed the show by reminding the audience that there are 670 million Windows 7 installs out there, 16 Millions Windows 8 pre-release installs and that a total of 1.24 billion hours of public testing went into achieving the final version of Windows 8. Additionally, there are 420 million of compatible devices supported (including mice, keyboards and other accessories).
Starting today at 12.01 am Eastern time, Windows 8 will be available for download to upgrade existing PCs in more than 140 markets and 37 languages at http://www.windows.com/buy and it will come in three flavors: Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro and Windows RT for ARM-based devices such as tablets.
During a second press conference, we got a detailed overview of the Surface with its awesome 3 mm thin touch cover that integrates a keyboard.
Panos Panay, General Manager, Surface team, took the stage for about 45 minutes and went over the key features of the tablet: according to him, the 10.6-inch 16:9 ration Cleartype display provides better contrast, with enhanced black and white and reduced glare, more nominal storage than competing devices with 32 GB or 64GB internal and up to 64GB on SD card (keep in mind that the OS could occupy a lot of space), one day of battery life with fast charging (with the power magnetic dock), a sturdy touch cover that attach and detach easily thanks to its “flux fountain” of magnets built-in connectors.
He also demonstrated how the kickstand is convenient and it helped to design a new usage for the camera, allowing the user to be part of a video when shooting with the rear camera, or being able to capture a full room of people with the camera’s wide angle lens. He did not miss the opportunity to drop the tablet on stage to prove its sturdiness.
The 32GB is priced at $499, the 32GB with Touch cover costs $599 while the 64GB with Touch Cover costs $699. See the product page for complete specifications.