Microsoft will begin selling its Surface Pro tablet in January, with a starting price of $899 for a model with 64GB of storage. A 128GB version will run $999.
Both tablets will feature Intel Core i5 processors, Windows 8 software, and a Surface pen for writing or drawing with pressure-sensitive input. But if you want a Touch Cover or Type Cover keyboard, you’ll have to pay extra.
Microsoft already sells a Surface RT tablet for $499 and up. But while the Surface Pro looks a lot like its cheaper sibling, it has a higher resolution display, a faster processor, and runs the full Windows 8 operating system (with support for desktop apps designed for Windows 7 and earlier.
The tablet will have a 10.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel Clear Type display, a full-sized USB 3.0 port, and a mini DislayPort with support for external displays with resolutions up to 2560 x 1440 pixels.
The tablet weighs less than two pounds and measures 0.55 inches thick.
Like the Surface RT, the Microsoft Surface Pro has a built-in kickstand and supports special covers with built-in keyboards.
The $899 starting price makes it clear that Microsoft isn’t targeting this tablet at customers considering a $499 iPad. But unlike an iPad or Android tablet, the Surface Pro basically has the guts of a decent laptop computer. It can run everything from Office to iTunes to Photoshop, as well as tablet-friendly apps designed for the new Windows 8 Style user interface.
I suspect that using desktop apps on a 10.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel screen will be a bit of a challenge, though. While full-screen, modern apps look great at high resolutions, traditional desktop apps will feature tiny text and graphics on a high resolution 10.6 inch Windows tablet.