The tablet weighs only 0.680 kilogram and comes with an Ivy Bridge Core i5 processor or an ARM processor.
Under the bonnett is Microsoft Office, PDF markup apps and digital ink support is also built in.
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The tablet has a 10.6 inch high-definition touchscreen and front and rear facing cameras, which all fit into a 9.3 millimeter, 1.5-pound frame.
But Surface also brings some new innovations to the tablet space. The device's cover, for instance, flips down to become a full keyboard. It features a rigid case built from magnesium, a pen that clicks into the tablet and a built-in kickstand.
Microsoft is recycling -- or extending -- a brand name it has used before. The first "Microsoft Surface" device, which began shipping in in 2008, was a giant touchscreen computer aimed at retailers and other commercial customers.
Microsoft's Surface tablet will first be available on a version of Windows 8 called Windows RT. That operating system will run on microchips designed by ARM (ARMH), which are inside 95% of the world's smartphones and tablets. Another version of Surface will be designed for the fuller Windows 8 operating system, which will run on Intel chips.
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Microsoft didn't give specifics, but the company said the Windows RT version will be available sometime in the last quarter in 32- and 64-gigabyte versions, and will be priced "comparably" to other tablets on the market.
The full Windows 8 version will be available three months later in 64- and 128-GB versions. Microsoft plans to set its price point in the same zone as ultrabooks, which typically run around $1,000.