If you want to see firsthand what all the Microsoft Surface tablet hub-bub is about, it's time to mark your calendars; you'll want to head down to your nearest Microsoft Store on October 26. The Windows RT Surface tablet will officially hit the streets the same day as Windows 8 itself, as CNET discovered by digging into Microsoft's most recent SEC filing.
Found within the annual report was the following tasty tidbit:
The next version of our operating system, Windows 8, will be generally available on October 26, 2012. At that time, we will begin selling the Surface, a series of Microsoft-designed and manufactured hardware devices.
That's in line with what Microsoft announced at the Surface's unveiling. Note that the Surface tablets available at launch will be running Windows RT, a version of Windows that's designed for ARM processors and isn't backwards compatible with current Windows programs; it's Metro apps only.
If you want legacy support for Windows 7/XP/Vista programs, you'll need a Surface with Windows 8 Pro tablet, which runs on Intel's x86-based CPU architecture. Pro-packing Surface tablets won't become available until around the end of January 2013, however, and Microsoft has yet to announce pricing for any of the various Surface configurations.
Wondering what to buy? We've already measured how the specs of the Surface RT, Surface Pro and Apple iPad stack up.