If the catchy ads for the new Microsoft Surface tablet have piqued your interest in this tablet/laptop hybrid, you now have the chance to try one out in person.
Those interested can stop by the newly opened kiosk at Penn Square Mall in Oklahoma City to see the “Surface with Windows RT” and the redesigned Windows operating system 8 as well. Both the tablet and the computer software use applications developed specifically for Microsoft.
The staffed kiosk is one of 34 temporary stores that Microsoft has opened for the holiday season.
Microsoft spokespeople noted that the Penn Square store opened last Friday to a line of customers that started forming at 6 a.m.
The Surface, Microsoft's first foray into the popular tablet business, operates like a tablet until it connects to its thin keyboard with a click. Then it becomes more like a laptop, although users can swipe through applications on the screen and type on the keyboard to navigate the device.
“It's a really revolutionary keyboard,” kiosk manager Marcus Jones said during an interview. “It offers the best of both worlds.”
The tablet launched with more than 5,000 applications available on the Windows store, Jones said. The Windows Phone already has about 120,000 apps. The iTunes store, in contrast, had about 700,000 apps for its iPads, iPhones and iPad Touches as recently as September, according to an Apple news release.
On the Surface, you get a version of Microsoft Office preinstalled; other applications (Angry Birds, Cut the Rope) are familiar, too.
At the kiosk, Jones demonstrated the Microsoft 8's new “live tile interface,” a beautiful navigation system that helps users swoop through tiles to find the application they want to use.
Cost is $499 for a 32GB tablet only. For a tablet that includes a super-thin black “Touch Cover” keyboard, cost is $599 (32GB) and $699 (64GB). Colored “Touch Cover” or black “Type Cover” (for a more traditional typing feel) keyboards cost about $20 to $30 more.
The Surface has a microSDXC card slot to add up to 64 GB of extra storage, an HD video port to connect the device to your TV and a USB port for other connections as well. It offers Flash compatibility for certain websites.
Even though the app store isn't as evolved as Google Android's or Apple's, the Surface tablet is an appealing choice if you want to find a sweet spot between a laptop and a tablet.