surface

Surface RT is great device. You’ve got beautiful hardware, held back by a somewhat under-whelming processor. The Surface RT launched in October 2012, nearly a year after the Tegra 3 system-on-a-chip inside of it did. Now, clearly Microsoft has more planned for the Surface brand than the Surface RT and Surface Pro. Obviously for the Surface Pro we can expect some Haswell magic for their Intel processors, but what about Surface RT? How about Qualcomm?

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Microsoft is everywhere and they want you to know that. The two latest commercials (see the second ad after the break) from the boys in Redmond show off the harmonious marriage of various services on Windows 8 and Windows Phone devices. Internet Explorer, Bing, Xbox, Skype, SkyDrive, and the App store - are all touched upon.

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Microsoft is making it cheaper and more convenient for consumers to personalise hardware. To join the deal that has been featured in Europe, Microsoft has unleashed a free Touch (including limited editions) and Type cover offer for consumers when Surface RT Windows 8 tablets are purchased. It's a limited time offer and has only just kicked off, but we're pleased to see such a bundle arise to help push more units.

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Yesterday we mentioned the Microsoft Surface RT being on sale at Staples for $399. Just in case you don't have a Staples near you, it might be worth a trip to your local Best Buy.

We were tipped by Windows Phone Central reader Austin that he showed the sale priced pictured above and Best Buy matched the $399 price for the 32GB Surface RT. No guarantees but it's worth trying to save a few bucks through the marvels of price matching.

Thanks, Austin, for the tip!

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Microsoft has a goal for its well-received line of Windows 8 tablets, according to Paul Thurrott. Sources have revealed the company plans to take up and maintain 50 percent of all Windows tablet sales in the coming year with their Surface lineup. Microsoft already achieved this figure in Q1 2013 when Surface hardware took 50 percent of the Windows tablet pie, but there's more to the story.

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Microsoft is pushing out a series of updates for both the Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets.

The updates for the Surface RT addresses the low speaker volume and other stability improvements. The Surface Pro updates deal with improved Wi-Fi connectivity and stability along with a video update to improve Skype performance.

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WPDownUnder has managed to confirm just how much the Surface Pro tablet will cost consumers in Australia. Sourcing two participating retailers (Harvey Norman and JB Hifi) who have the Windows 8 tablet on their systems, the RRP (recommended retail price) of Microsoft's high-end product is now publicly available, so be sure to start saving those coins. 

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According to data released by research firm Strategy Analytics, Microsoft has managed to obtain 7.5 percent of the tablet market with Windows 8 and Windows RT. Tablet shipping in general reached an all-time high of 40.6 million units in Q1 2013, a huge climb from 18.7 million reported in Q1 2012. Apple still dominates the market with 48 percent, but Android is close behind with 43 percent of the pie. So what's hindering Microsoft's advance?

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We have covered this story before: Microsoft made a special SKU of Surface (Intel processor powered) for China, replacing Windows 8 Pro with Windows 8, but pre-loaded with permanently licensed Office 2013 Home & Student. To many, not necessarily Chinese, this version is even more desirable than the stock Surface Pro. However, according Panos Panay, the leader of the Surface team at Microsoft, such region-specific SKU won't happen anywhere else, unless strong enough consumer interest is shown.

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Since first being captivated by the beauty and excellence of Nokia's Lumia family of Windows Phone devices, people having been wondering if Nokia would follow Microsoft's lead by creating a Windows-based tablet, like the Surface. While we're nowhere closer to learning the answer to that question, what we do know is that Nokia had their sights on building a tablet back in 2011.

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Let’s not beat around the bush. When the touch-centric iPhone came out in 2007 it changed mobile gaming – for the better. It helped to push mobile gaming to the masses and cement touch as a viable input option for games. Since then Android and Windows Phone have had their share of awesome games – beautiful and fun games stuff like Tentacles and Contre Jour are examples of games that couldn’t exist without touch. One thing that’s lacked in the tablet and smartphone space is a unified input system. A recent patent filing shows that Microsoft is positioning to change that.

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It’s “Patch Tuesday”, the traditional day where Microsoft tends to push out some major OS fixes and updates and while it used to be a big Windows day, it’s increasingly more important for Surface owners. That’s because the Surface, a work in progress, is constantly getting tweaked for performance and usability. Today is no different.

Both the Surface RT and Surface Pro have numerous updates queued up for installing, including a few for Office 2013. The bigger deal though is the included firmware, which once again will hopefully fix a few lingering issues some of you may still be having.

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Microsoft China posted an update on popular social network Sina weibo earlier today that Surface Pro, the Surface tablet/ultrabook that's built on Intel's desktop processor, will be available on 9:00pm, April 2nd (Beijing time). Microsoft announced on its official blog that Surface computers will be available in more markets in 2013, and China will be the first new market for Surface Pro.

The Chinese version of Surface Pro will be sold through Suning, the partner who was partly responsible for the lackluster sales of Surface RT in that region. But this time Microsoft isn't giving anyone "exclusive dealership" any more, for it has established its own Microsoft Store (online only) in China, and built an official store on Tmall.com, China's largest B2C e-commerce platform ever.

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We’ve got quite the variety when you look at the sea of tablets, slates, ultrabooks, and convertibles we have now in the Windows 8 landscape. Crazy designs like the ThinkPad Yoga and Dell XPS 12 spring to mind when thinking of the different ways manufactures have differentiated themselves.

Microsoft threw a wrench into the traditional PC world last June when it announced the Surface family of devices. The Surface is also unique in its design and has recently been awarded a design patent for it's Touch keyboard cover and magnetic coupling.

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Sure, props for your Xbox LIVE avatar are gimmicky and they can be quite absurd, but we still love ‘em. We also love our Surface, so when the two collide, we can’t help but get a little gitty.

If you head over to the Xbox site and follow this link, you’ll be able to add the “Windows 8 Tablet Avatar Prop” to your collection. Yes, that’s right.

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