Microsoft has never really been a player in the hardware game. They have made their name, and fortune, on licensing out their software to various hardware manufactures.  They have occasionally attempted to enter the hardware business with varying degrees of success though, such as with their popular gaming console, the Xbox. While the Xbox brand of products have been successful, attempts such as the Zune and Kin phone were quickly forgotten by the public. The Zune was an excellent attempt at an MP3 device, but it ultimately failed to steal the spotlight away from rival Apple and their dominant line of iPod products.

Apple helped create and redefine the tablet market with the iPad and has since seen tremendous success unmatched by any of their competitors. Despite the failed attempts at dethroning the tablet king, Microsoft hopes to become a strong contender in the tablet market with their newly announced tablet computer, which they are calling “Surface.” Here is what we know so far.

There will be two versions of the “Surface” device, one which runs Windows 8 Pro, and the other runs Windows RT. Both tablets will have the same 10.6 in screen and a 16:9 aspect ratio for viewing content, and both devices will feature a built-in kick-stand on the back as well as a nifty cover that doubles as a fully-functional keyboard.

For a complete breakdown of the released specs click here.

I believe that Microsoft will be able to make a drastic change in the tablet market with this device. Not only will it be an excellent tablet to own, but with other recent additions such as “Smart Glass” for the Xbox 360, Xbox music, and the soon to be released Windows 8 phones and Windows 8 operating system for the PC, Microsoft has created an ecosystem that will likely satisfy your every need.

But will it match the iPad, and the system Apple already has set in place? Give me your thoughts in the comments below.

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