Microsoft Surface tablets announced: The iPad killers are finally here

Microsoft has finally decided to go head on against Apple iPad today with the announcement of their new hardware product line of Windows 8 tablets the Microsoft Surface (update: watch the full event after the break). Those of you who haven’t been leaving under a rock already know that besides being the number one Software company in the world Microsoft is also one of the leading hardware design tech firm in the industry thanks to it’s decades old line of keyboards, mouses, webcams, joypad/stick/wheels and last but not least, Surface tables and the mighty Xbox consoles. The Redmond company is also know to take bold steps that sometimes defy common logic when they think that their hardware partners aren’t doing a good enough job (Xbox, Zune etc..).

Today the company has introduced to Windows 8 tablets under the Microsoft Surface brand which was originally only used to refer to the Surface tables (now re-branded PixelSense for the Surface 2 SUR40 table manufactured by Samsung). So what’s really existing about them ? Well the first thing to note is that Microsoft is covering all bases by offering a Windows RT and Windows 8 Pro model. Both tablets have mostly the same design but have slightly different physical and hardware specifications to accommodate the chips powering them:

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HTC acquires stake in S3 Graphics from VIA

This doesn’t make much sense but HTC has apparently decided to acquire a stake in S3 Graphics from VIA for US$300 million. Back in the 90s S3 was known for making discrete graphics cards and the now infamous S3 Virge which was also known as the first graphics “decelerator” because of its relatively poor performance. S3′s major claim of fame was the introduction of the S3TC texture compression algorithm which was later licensed by Microsoft and integrated into Direct3D as DXTn.

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