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A tablet named Surface – a successful industrial design

A short time ago a new tablet was announced by Microsoft.

The new product named Surface derives its name from the Microsoft Table: Surface 2.0.

The original “Surface table”, a collaboration with Samsung, has been aptly  renamed named Samsung SUR40 with Microsoft® PixelSense™. You can find the blog dedicated to this amazing device here and the web site here.

Let’s talk a little about this new Surface. Like SUR40, it represents an innovation in terms of industrial design. Equipped with an ultra-resistant and scratchproof screen using “Gorilla Glass 2”, and an impressive 0.65mm thick, injection molded magnesium case. This metal casing is further protected by an ultra-resistant protective layer applied using the “physical vapor deposition” (PVD) process.  This process uses high vacuum technology to create a cloud of metal vapor which then condenses on the magnesium surfaces, gradually building up a thin, but extremely resistant coating.

The result is a light, scratchproof case, boasting an overall weight of only 676 grams, for the basic version of the tablet.

The acoustic design of the object has been very carefully taken into account, in an identical manner as used by luxury car manufacturers, who fine-tune the sound of door closing etc. This is immediately obvious in handling the surface, when opening the cover or the stand.

The Touch Cover, which protects Surface’s screen, also plays the function of a special keyboard. Here the user will find all the main shortcuts needed for the use of Windows 8 user interface.  This interface automatically takes on the color of the Touch Cover when it is clipped on the tablet. When folded to the back of the tablet, all keyboard functions are automatically disabled thanks to an accelerometer integrated into the 3 millimeter thick 7 layer cover. Additionally, the cover detects finger pressure on the keyboard allowing the user to rest his fingers on it without activating the keys. At the frontier between a virtual tactile keyboard and a physical one, this innovation appears to be a real success. Building on the extensive experience in mouse and keyboard conception, the design team has been able to find the perfect balance required for the tablet application.

Microsoft offers two versions of the Surface tablet, each for a different use.

The first is for a standard use of tablet (although a little more advanced than those of the competitors) in which one finds 2 USB ports, an HD display, a weight of 676 grams and a thickness of less than one centimeter. You have an access to the standard Windows desktop and the possibility of transferring files via USB (a real lack on other tablets). A second version is for professional use, with USB 3 ports, a full HD screen, a weight of 903 grams and 13,5 millimeters thickness. One also find a stylus for the actions on the standard desktop. With this version you will be able to install all your Pro applications like Photoshop, Illustrator, Visual Studio, Solidworks etc. it’s a real computer in a tablet.

Other interesting information on Surface: The edges of the slate are cut at 22° for more comfort when handling.

For the basic version (Surface for Windows RT) the launch is planned to coincide with the launch of Windows 8. The Pro version will be launched 3 months later.