Microsoft this morning announced the release date for the next member of its Surface family: Surface Windows 8 Pro. An Intel Core i5-powered tablet, the new Surface will launch in the US and Canada on the 9th of February. In the US it will be available in Microsoft stores, Staples, Best Buy and online from Microsoft.
As unveiled to the press at CES, Surface Windows 8 Pro comes in 64GB and 128GB versions (for $899 and $999) respectively). Both have 4GB of RAM and a 10-point multi-touch 1920 x 1080 pixel 10.6” screen. Unlike the ARM-based Surface Windows RT tablet, the new Surface comes with the Pro edition of Windows 8, and can run both the new WinRT touch applications and existing Windows desktop applications. It uses the same Type and Touch Covers as Surface Windows RT, and adds support for a digitizer pen with palm-blocking for work with desktop applications. The pen comes with a magnetic connector and can be carried in the Surface’s power connector while in use.
With Windows 8 Pro installed, the new Surface can be part of a Windows domain, making it easier to manage when used as part of a BYOD scheme. Other key BYOD features include support for BitLocker whole disk encryption, and a Mini Display Port adapter for connection to a monitor or a projector. Connectivity comes with support for 802.11 a/b/g/n wireless networks and through a single USB 3.0 port (an additional USB port on the power supply allows you to charge USB devices while still using your Surface). 10-point touch will allow more than one person to work with an app at once, allowing improved collaboration with the device laid flat on a table.
At the same time, Microsoft will be offering an unbundled version of its 64GB Surface Windows RT tablet for $599, along with a set of limited edition Touch Covers and a version of its Wedge Touch Mouse designed to tone with Surface’s VaporMg case.
Dates for international launches of the new Surface have yet to be announced, and a Microsoft spokesperson told CITEworld, “We are taking a phased approach to the rollout of Surface Windows 8 Pro to satisfy retailer and customer demand.”