Microsoft is set to release its Surface Pro tablet in Australia next month, way ahead of schedule, the company revealed today.
Earlier in the year the software giant indicated Australians might have to wait until as long as August.
Notwithstanding a lack of information about local pricing and an actual on-sale date, much is known about the anticipated, and somewhat controversial tablet so far.
Unlike the consumer-oriented Surface RT, which is unable to run traditional Windows apps, and is powered by an ARM processor, the Pro comes equipped with an Intel i5 processor, 4 gigabytes of RAM, and a choice between 64GB and 128GB of internal storage.
Because it’s running an Intel processor, the Pro is capable of supporting common business applications such as Office, along with the masses of Windows desktop software currently available for Windows 7.
New users might be put off by the “Metro” interface, which substitutes a tile-based screen for the traditional Windows desktop. However, it is understood users will also be able to boot into a standard desktop should they want to.
Additional specs include a magnesium case, ten-point multi-touch screen, and a 10.6 inch, 16x9 display. This display is a touch larger than the 9.7 inch display used by Apple for its full-size iPad. We also don’t know what the pixel density of the Pro is.
Like most of the tablets on the market, the Pro has two cameras (one forward, one rear-facing) and they’re both capable of shooting at 720p. This is a little disappointing given some competitors have at least one 1080p camera aboard. Also missing is GPS, and from the published specifications it appears cellular connectivity is not an option either.
Connectivity includes a single full-sized USB 3.0 port, microSDXC slot, a mini display port, and a special port for the optional (but recommended) add-on keyboard. Wireless is taken care of via wi-fi 802.11n.
The Windows 8 tablet sells for US$899 ($A862) for the 64GB model and $US999 (A$968) for the 128GB model in the US.