Microsoft unveils Windows 8, Surface

RISE: A man checks his phone in front of a sign advertising the PC during the Windows 8 and Surface tablet launch event in New York.
RISE: A man checks his phone in front of a sign advertising the PC during the Windows 8 and Surface tablet launch event in New York.

Microsoft's new Surface tablet computer, running Windows 8 RT, is a sell out.

The software giant's first foray into the computer hardware market was launched internationally this morning, but pre-orders for the device in places like the US means that none will be going on New Zealand shelves for a while.

"Surface is really exciting development for us, unfortunately I don't have any more information on when it will be available in New Zealand," said Microsoft New Zealand managing director Paul Muckleston at the Windows 8 launch in Auckland this morning.

Thirty different new models of Windows 8 machines hit New Zealand retailer's shelves this morning from Microsoft's hardware partners such as Acer, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Samsung and Toshiba.

The number of models running the new operating system is expected to triple in the next few months.

Mr Muckleston said the new operating system, designed to run on traditional desktop and notebook computers as well as the new tablet computers, works with both a keyboard and mouse or with the swipe of a finger on touch enabled hardware.

"It's a project that's been going on for many years, reimaging Windows for the 21st century. It's important that we remain relevant," Mr Muckleston said.

"Twenty million people have been using it (a preview version of Windows 8) for the last five months."

Windows 8 includes an app store, pioneered by the likes of Apple on its iPad and iPhone, through which users can download software to add extra functionality to their computers.

"There are more than 100 Kiwi apps in the app store," Mr Muckleston said.

That number is expected to grow as Windows 8 replaces Windows 7.

"When you get this out of the box there's a short tutorial which shows you the ways of using it," Mr Muckleston said.

He has been using a touch enabled Windows 8 tablet as his main machine at both work, where it runs Microsoft Office, and home, where he uses it for watching movies and listening to music.  

Dean Edwards, of Microsoft, demonstrated the Xbox music function built into Windows 8 which can be used to stream its library of 30 million songs over the internet for free.

As well as coming pre-installed on new PCs from today, Windows 8 will be available for download to upgrade existing PCs in more than 140 markets and 37 languages, as well as on disk at retailers.

 New Zealand became the first country in the world to sell a copy of Windows 8, which will run on any machine currently running Windows 7 and Windows Vista.

The operating system software was sold to Greg Daniel at one second past midnight at the Wairau Park branch of Harvey Norman in Auckland.

Mr Daniel thought Windows 8 was the most innovative version of Windows since Windows XP was released in 2001.

Windows 8 laptops for less than $1000

At $1000 and less, you won't find any convertible laptop-tablets, or any form of Windows 8 tablet, just yet. What you will get is a selection of all-purpose products to suit most productivity uses - internet browsing, word processing, watching videos and the like.

If you're after one of the newer Intel Core processors, you'll have to spend $1000 or more (the $1,099 Dell Inspiron 15z even has a Core i7).

ProductTypeBase specificationsPrice (NZD RRP)Available at
Acer Gateway NE56Rlaptop15.6-inch, 1366 x 768, 2.2GHz Intel Pentium dual-core 960B, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, DVD-RW D/L, 802.11bgn$599Harvey Norman
Toshiba C850/00Xlaptop15.6-inch, 1.4GHz AMD E1-1200, 4GB RAM, 320GB HDD$699Harvey Norman
HP Compaq CQ45-802TUlaptop14-inch, 1366 x 768, Intel Celeron B830 dual-core, 2GB RAM, 500GB HDD, DVD-RW, 802.11bgn$699Harvey Norman
HP Pavilion 14-B006AU (black) and 14-B013AU (red)laptop14-inch, 1366 x 768, AMD E2-1800 dual-core, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, 802.11bgn$799Harvey Norman
HP Pavilion G6-2201AUlaptop15.6-inch, 1366 x 768, AMD A4-4300M dual-core, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, DVD-RW, 802.11bgn$899Harvey Norman
HP Pavilion G6-2203AU (silver) and G6-2202AU (black)laptop15.6-inch, 1366 x 768, AMD A6-4400M dual-core, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, DVD-RW, 802.11bgn$999

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Windows 8 laptops and convertibles from $1000-$1500

If you're willing to spend a little more than $1000, you can get a decently powered Windows 8 laptop, such as the value-for-money Inspiron 15z below, the decently-specced Envy M6 or the more powerful Samsung NP350V5C-S09AU.

In the $100-$1500 price range, there's also a single Windows convertible laptop/tablet -- the Samsung ATIV smart PC, which runs a lowly Atom processor. It's essentially not much more than a convertible netbook.

After an all-in-one or a touchscreen laptop? You'll be paying more than $1600.

ModelTypeBase specificationsPrice (RRP incl GST)Available from
Dell Inspiron 15Zlaptop15.6-inch, 1366 x 768, 1.87kg, Intel Core i7 3517U, Nvidia GeForce GT630M, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, DVD-RW, 802.11bgn$
HP Pavilion G6-2205AUlaptop15.6-inch, 1366 x 768, AMD A8-4500M quad-core, 4GB RAM, 750GB HDD, DVD-RW, 802.11bgn$1199Harvey Norman
HP Envy 4-1106TUlaptop14-inch, 1366 x 768, Intel Core i3-3217U dual-core, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, 802.11b/g/n$1199Harvey Norman
Samsung ATIV Smart PCconvertible tablet/laptop11.6-inch, 1366 x 768, 750g (1.48kg with keyboard), 1.5GHz Intel Atom Z2760, 2GB RAM, 128GB storage, 8MP/2MP cameras, 802.11abgn, 3G$1299
HP Pavilion G6-2209TX (white) and G6-2208TXlaptop15.6-inch, 1366 x 768, Intel Core i5-3210M dual-core, 4GB RAM, 750GB HDD, DVD-RW, 802.11bgn$1299Harvey Norman
Acer V5-571G-53314G75M577laptop15.6-inch, Intel Core dual-core, 4GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce GT630M 1GB, 500GB HDD$1299Harvey Norman
HP Envy 4-1107TUlaptop14-inch, 1366 x 768, Intel Core i5-3317U dual-core, 4GB RAM, 500GB SSD, 802.11bgn$1399Harvey Norman
HP Envy M6-1105TX (black) and
M6-1106TX (silver)
laptop15.6-inch, 1366 x 768, Intel Core i5-3210M dual-core, 4GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 7670M 1GB, 650GB HDD, DVD-RW, 802.11bgn$1399Harvey Norman
Toshiba Satellite U940 (14-inch)laptop14-inch, 1366 x 768, 1.85kg, Intel Core i5-3317U dual-core, 4GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce GT630M 2GB, 500GB HDD, 802.11bgn + Intel WiDi$1399
HP Envy M6-1107TX (black)laptop15.6-inch, 1366 x 768, Intel Core i5-3210M dual-core, 4GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 7670M 2GB, 1TB HDD, DVD-RW, 802.11bgn$1499Harvey Norman
Samsung NP350V5C-S09AUlaptop15.6-inch, 1366 x 768, 3.4GHz Intel Core i7 3630, Radeon HD 7670M, 8GB RAM, 1TB HDD, DVD-RW, 802.11bgn$1499Harvey Norman

-© Fairfax NZ News with PC World