With all of the hype around the iPad mini, it's easy to forget that Microsoft has its Surface tablet coming to market. The company has yet to confirm price, but if you're willing to place your bets on Microsoft, the company will officially start selling the first of two Surface tablets on October 26.
I say the first of two because Microsoft will offer both an ARM-based Surface RT device (on sale October 26), and then an Intel-based Surface Pro device approximately three months later. Mary Jo Foley discovered this link which details the specs, and even makes mention that the Windows RT Surface, which is targeted at everyone, comes with Office Home and Student 2013 RT.
It's clear that Microsoft is betting big on the Surface and is definitely looking at ways of differentiating it from the iPad and Android-based tablets. As you can see from the video below, Microsoft is not really showing off too many features, other than the ability to "Click in" a keyboard. That said, with it sporting the latest version of Office, it's going to be a great differentiator if the marketing is done right. Imagine having a tablet that you can just "Click in" a keyboard and it's a fully functioning PC? Many companies have tried to offer that solution, but having Microsoft itself offer it could be just the differentiator needed to see the Surface as a replacement to the PC, and not an "in addition to", like the iPad and other tablet devices that are currently in the market.
I'm excited to see what others with hands-on time say about the Surface. Also, it will be interesting to see if Microsoft can price it right. As Larry Dignan pointed out, the Surface is Microsoft's "biggest and best hedge against a declining PC market". He couldn't be more right, with many people now looking to see if they can just use a tablet device instead of buying a new PC.
The first Surface Ad is below: