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Microsoft's Surface Tablet To Compete With iPad

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now in Hollywood last night, Microsoft unveiled its newest product: a tablet computer to compete with the iPad. Putting out a computer is an unusual move for Microsoft, which is mostly known for software.

NPR's Mandalit del Barco was at the announcement.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: At Milk Studios in Hollywood, a photo studio for the stars, Microsoft engineers revealed their snazzy new tablet, which they call Surface.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BARCO: The ultra slim Surface has a built- in kickstand to allow users to stand it upright, and a keyboard that is embedded into the cover and attaches magnetically. It's designed to work with new Windows 8 operating system like other full-size laptop and desktop computers. Other popular tablets like the iPad and the Kindle Fire run mobile operating systems.

Microsoft is taking a big risk by competing against Apple's wildly successful IPAD, says Todd Bishop , the editor of Geekwire.com.

TODD BISHOP: That is one thing Microsoft is really trying to do here with this release, is to say hey, look at this awesome piece of hardware that we've got, we've created it end to end, we've thought about the experience. You know, it sounds like a luxury car when the kickstand snaps back in.

BARCO: But Bishop says Microsoft can only compete with the iPad if the Surface is easy to use.

BISHOP: If it's more cumbersome, if it's a long learning curve for people, which it very well could be, it's going to be a challenge for them.

BARCO: And they didn't say how much it's going to cost.

BISHOP: No. No pricing information.

BARCO: Although Microsoft still wouldn't reveal when Surface will be available, along with Windows 8, insiders are guessing this fall.

Mandalit del Barco, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Mandalit del Barco
As an arts correspondent based at NPR West, Mandalit del Barco reports and produces stories about film, television, music, visual arts, dance and other topics. Over the years, she has also covered everything from street gangs to Hollywood, police and prisons, marijuana, immigration, race relations, natural disasters, Latino arts and urban street culture (including hip hop dance, music, and art). Every year, she covers the Oscars and the Grammy awards for NPR, as well as the Sundance Film Festival and other events. Her news reports, feature stories and photos, filed from Los Angeles and abroad, can be heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, Alt.latino, and npr.org.