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Microsoft intros Surface tablet

SCRATCHING THE SURFACE: Microsoft has had a spotty history when it comes to hardware, scoring with the Xbox and bombing with the Zune. So it’ll be interesting to see how consumers respond to the company’s Surface, tablet, which was introduced yesterday at Milk Studios in Hollywood by honcho Steve Ballmer and Steve Sinofsky, the head of the Windows division. The key specs: it’s 9.3 mm thick, with a full magnesium case, a 10.6” optical display and front and rear cameras; it weighs under 1.5 pounds, with a stand built into the device and—most intriguingly—it boasts a full multi-touch keyboard. The full-touch keyboard is on the inside of the cover, which attaches magnetically. The Touch Cover, as it’s been dubbed, will be available in a range of colors. Surface (no “the,” according to Microsoft) will be powered by Intel chips as well as those licensed from ARM Holdings, the variety of chips that power the iPad. Sinofsky claimed the new tablets won’t just be for watching movies and surfing the web, but for typing and working on documents. The ultimate success of Surface will be closely tied to consumers’ acceptance of a radically redesigned Windows OS, called Windows 8. Sinofsky was vague about pricing, apart from saying it will be comparably priced with the iPad, nor did he reveal when Surface will be introduced to the market. (6/19a)

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