Citing its usual upstream industry supply sources, Digitimes reports that Microsoft has canned plans for an aluminum-magnesium design in its upcoming Surface tablet. Instead, according to sources, Microsoft will be adopting a chassis made entirely from magnesium -- a move driven by supplier constraints.
Despite the change in material composition, Surface will still bear Microsoft's touted VaporMG technology. This is especially interesting because little is known about VaporMG, but Microsoft has attributed the incredible thinness of Surface to it. If what Digitimes says it is true though, they may have inadvertently revealed that VaporMG is simply a coating rather than a proprietary metal alloy.
Microsoft's change of chassis materials stems from the inability of suppliers to meet the company's demands for manufacturing the Surface shell. Microsoft is hoping to crank out 5 million units before the end of 2012 but after talking to several chassis makers, purportedly none of them could meet such a production volume. According to Digitimes, this has prompted Microsoft to ditch aluminum in its alloy and go full-on magnesium. Unfortunately for Microsoft though, VaporMG appears to present its own high-yield challenges despite the more easily manufactured magnesium design.
Will Surface suffer from supply shortages? It's hard to say, but this could be one possible result.
The change of materials should still produce a sturdy case -- a fact supported by other magnesium-clad products like the Toshiba Portege. Meanwhile, VaporMG should still produce that pleasantly smooth, almost soft finish found on demo Surface units.
Additionally, Digitimes points out that the new design may make the tablet slightly heavier than originally planned, but I will point to the fact that magnesium is actually lighter than aluminum. Take that as you will.
Lenovo's ThinkPad Tablet is powered by an Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core 1GHz processor, 32GB of internal storage, 1GB of DDR2 system memory, front and rear cameras, 8.02.11 b/g/n/ Wi-Fi connectivity and a 10.1-inch WXGA (1280 x 800) IPS display with Corning Gorilla Glass.
The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Infinity TF700 features a 10.1" WUXGA Full HD LED Backlit screen with 10-finger multi-touch and SonicMaster audio technology. The TF700 packs an NVIDIA Tegra 3 Quad-core processor with Android 4.0 (ICS). It also sports a rear 8MP camera w/LED Flash and a front 2MP for video conferencing, a Micro-D HDMI port and a Micro SD card slot.
The Apple iPad (3rd-gen) includes a Retina Display operating at a resolution of 2,048 x 1,536. Powering the new iPad is a dual-core A5X processor with quad-core graphics, it also gets upgraded optics in the form of a 5MP backside illuminated sensor that features a 5-element lens, IR filter and ISP built into the A5X chip. Apple claims The new iPad is good for 10 hours of battery life and nine hours when using 4G LTE.
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