Microsoft announces tablet computer 'Surface'

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Microsoft has unveiled Surface, a tablet computer to compete with Apple's iPad.

CEO Steve Ballmer was on hand to announce the tablet, calling it part of a "whole new family of devices" the company is developing.

The 9.3 millimeter thick tablet comes with a kickstand to hold it upright and keyboard that is part of the device's cover. It weighs under 1.5 pounds.

Steven Sinofsky, the president of Microsoft's Windows division, called the device a "tablet that's a great PC --a PC that's a great tablet."

In producing its own tablet computer, Microsoft Corp. is entering a market dominated by Apple Inc. Six out of every 10 tablets shipped are iPads, according to research firm IHS iSuppli.

Here are the top five manufacturers of tablets last year:

  • Apple Inc., maker of the iPad, 40.5 million shipped worldwide, 62 percent share
  • Samsung Electronics Co., maker of Galaxy line, 6.1 million, 9 percent.
  • Inc., maker of Kindle Fire, 3.9 million, 6 percent
  • Barnes & Noble, maker of Nook products, 3.3 million, 5 percent
  • AsusTek Computer Inc., maker of Transformer line, 2.1 million, 3 percent
  • Other, 9.4 million, 14 percent
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