About 100 people waited outside of the Microsoft Store in Boston Friday to buy the company's new Surface RT tablet, which runs a new version of Windows. See also: Microsoft Surface RT vs Apple iPad comparison review.
Unlike any previous Microsoft OS, Windows RT runs on an ARM processor. That means that users could see long battery, but because it's not a traditional x86 environment it won't be able to run any old software. All of the software and apps will need to be purchased from the Windows Store specifically for Windows RT machines. For some, that doesn't seem to be a deterrent.
The Surface interface was very fluid and responsive when I tried it in the store. Browsing the web was easy and the controls were intuitive. Pulling from the sides and top of the screen revealed options like adding another browser window or getting back to the start screen. Launching some apps took a little longer than I expected, but for the most part the device was snappy. The screen was bright and vibrant and text was very easy to read. The touch cover will probably take some getting used to for new users as there's no tactile feedback when a key is pressed, but the cover is surprisingly thin and clips on securely.
One customer saw the Surface as a chance to stay in an ecosystem that he's used to and has already invested in.
The tablet has a 10.6" display, a full size USB 2.0 port, an SD card reader and an HD video port and weighs 1 and a half pounds. See also: Hands-on with Microsoft Surface RT: 10 things we've learnt.