US software giant Microsoft has announced a sleek tablet PC of its own to challenge Apple's famed iPad. Microsoft's device will come with some extra features that its rivals don't have and hopes for commercial success.
USsoftware company Microsoft said it would soon market its first self-branded tablet PC called the Surface. It emphasized the device would have special features which would put it in a position to seriously take on Apple's popular iPad.
Microsoft announced the Surface would come in consumer and professional versions, running the firm's upcoming Windows 8 operating system. Unlike the iPad, the device will have a keyboard and trackpad on the inside of its screen cover. What's even more essential is that the Surface will come with many more ports to enable connections to peripheral devices such as printers and screens.
"It's a PC that is a great tablet, and a tablet that is a great PC," Microsoft's Windows division president Steven Sinofsky said at a presentation in Los Angeles.
Possible side effects
No details were given as to the price and launch data of the Surface tablet, but market experts expect it to hit shops at the same time as Windows 8 in the third quarter of this year.
Microsoft touted the benefits of a single company developing both the software and hardware. "We believe that any intersection between human and machine can be made better when all aspects of the experience are considered and working together," CEO Steve Ballmer argued.
However, Microsoft's latest move is not without risks. There's a danger of the company alienating its traditional hardware partners like HP, Samsung and Dell by competing directly with them in the PC market. But with Apple currently holding more than 62 percent of the booming tablet section, Microsoft doesn't seem to have any other option.
hg/ncy (dpa, Reuters)