After saving things for the very last minute in an effort to keep today’s news under wraps, Microsoft is finally ready to get the show under way here in Los Angeles, California. The topic of today’s event is still something of a mystery, though a pair of well-sourced reports from last week suggest Microsoft is about to enter the the tablet game with its first own-brand offering. Microsoft is no stranger to hardware, though it has seen mixed results in the past; the Xbox 360 is still the best-selling console in the world seven years after its 2005 debut, but the Zune player was a mess from start to finish. Nothing is confirmed until we hear it straight from the horse’s mouth, however, so hit the jump to follow BGR’s live coverage of today’s event, which is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. Eastern, 3:30 p.m. Pacific.
UPDATE: Be sure to check out our hands-on with the Microsoft Surface tablet.
7:58PM:In around 20 minutes I’ll be going to try out a Surface for myself, and we’ll get our hands-on first look up as soon as possible. Thanks for tuning in!
7:57PM:And it looks like the main presentation has wrapped up.
7:57PM:“Because of Windows 8, the Surface is a PC, the Surface is a tablet and we think the Surface is something new that people will absolutely love.”
7:57PM:“Ballmer: We took the time to get Surface and Windows 8 right to do something that was really different and really special.”
7:56PM:Ballmer back on stage now
7:56PM:In other words, no definite pricing and availability yet, but ballpark estimates
7:56PM:Surface will be available through MS stores and select online outlets
7:55PM:Surface for Windows 8 professional will be priced comparable to other PCs
7:55PM:Surface for Windows RT will be available in 32gb and 64gb model and will be priced comparable to other tablets
7:54PM:Pricing information coming up!
7:54PM:“keyboard measures 10x faster than any keyboard you use today”
7:53PM:Now giving a demo of Touchcover
7:53PM:“We knew that if we brought you touch cover and touch cover wasn’t any good, boy what a breaking moment”
7:51PM:“We designed this organically like a book, we wanted it to feel like that… this spine feels like a book, when you carry it against your books, you’re going to feel like it’s another book”
7:50PM:3 mm thin. that’s the keyboard thickness
7:50PM:surface can click right into the touch cover keyboard and then actually switches its screen color to reflect the color of the keyboard
7:49PM:“When you touch it, you’re going to want to hold it. I promise you.” Kinky!
7:48PM:“for us to get to the design needed for this product we had to be able to mold to .65 mm”
7:46PM:“We wanted you to have an emotional attachment to this product through the kickstand.”
7:46PM:“When you close the device, the kickstand will go away”
7:45PM:“We knew that if we did not get kickstand perfect the whole device wouldn’t work.”
7:44PM:“We always strive for perfection on every part of this product.” Definitely trying to give off a Steve Jobs vibe here…
7:43PM:“This was built as a stage for Windows 8, it was important that we have hardware fade to the background so Windows 8 can come to the surface”
7:42PM:My expectations were pretty low for this event but so far I’m impressed.
7:41PM:Panos Panay is now on stage giving a video history of how Surface got created
7:40PM:So here’s the whole surface family: Surface for Windows RT, Surface for Windows 8 Pro and many variations of the Surface Type Cover.
7:39PM:Now showing off Surface Type Cover, a separate keyboard
7:38PM:One thing to watch afterwards will be how good the keyboard feels. Remember the original Droid looked sweet but the keyboard hurt the experience.
7:37PM:The stylus clicks right into the side of the tablet magnetically
7:36PM:.7 mm difference between the stylus and where you see the ink
7:36PM:Oh and it seems we have a stylus as well — virtual ink at 600 bpi
7:34PM:hey folks, server is being slow sorry if updates aren’t immediate
7:34PM:So this is the enterprise-centric version of Surface. Nifty.
7:33PM:less than 2 pounds, less than 14 mm, but it’s a full pc
7:32PM:working on a version of the surface for Windows 8 professional… michael angiulo introduces
7:31PM:and there’s more!
7:30PM:that is legitimately cool
7:29PM:has a ful keyboard that flips out
7:29PM:Surface has a full multi-touch keyboard. Crowd erupts into applause!
7:28PM:“It feels great in your hand like a book… it just fits there”
7:28PM:“The hinge design is like that of a fine luxury car… once you have this kickstand you can enjoy a truly hands-free experience and that’s what entertainment should really be about”
7:27PM:And Surface has an EVO-esque kickstand!
7:26PM:Surface has dual 2×2 MIMO antennae
7:26PM:Netflix will have this app ready at the Windows 8 launch.
7:26PM:Now showing Netflix app specifically for Windows 8
7:24PM:under 1.5 pounds
7:24PM:full magnesium case, liquid metal formed into rigid and light frame
7:24PM:9.3 mm thick
7:23PM:Ballmer: Let’s now learn more from MS Surface team
7:22PM:And it is a tablet
7:22PM:And it’s officially called Surface!
7:21PM:It’s a whole new family of computer devices from Microsoft Ballmer says
7:21PM:Ballmer: With Windows 8 we did not want to leave any scene uncovered. like windows needed the mouse to be complete we wanted to give windows 8 its own hardware innovation
7:20PM:Over 375 million Windows PCs a year in 2013, Ballmer says
7:20PM:Ballmer now talking a lot about partnerships with hardware makers, OEMs, etc.
7:19PM:With Kinect we’ve created whole new user experience, doing exciting things for both the game console and Windows PCs
7:18PM:Ballmer: Take the mouse. Early reviews of mice weren’t strong, people didn’t understand the value.
7:18PM:Ballmer: We believe any interraction between human and machine can be made better when all aspects of hardware and software are working together
7:16PM:And now we have… a video! Time for me up post more pics!
7:16PM:Ballmer: Our #1 revenue product in 1980 was a heartburn product — the soft cart
7:15PM:“Today we want to add another piece to that Windows 8 story.”
7:14PM:“We’re gratified by the enthusiastic response to Windows 8… excitement is high”
7:14PM:“We approached Windows 8 product design for the world we know in which most PCs are mobile and the ability to create content from anywhere any time”
7:13PM:Ballmer: While we are optimists to the core, Windows has exceeded more than our most optimistic prediction, powers more than 1 billion PCs, ATMs, NASA work stations and more
7:11PM:steve ballmer has taken the stage
7:10PM:And I have to say, Microsoft has done an impressive job of keeping this secret. No one definitively knows for sure what we’re about to see.
7:10PM:Current rumors suggest strong Xbox integration.
7:09PM:Not to sound too Tom Friedman, but my cab driver on the way to this event thought the Microsoft tablet would be lame.
7:07PM:and we’re about to begin
7:06PM:we’ve moved from the “somebody i used to know” stage to the “1901” stage. still waiting
6:56PM:My three guesses: A Vista Phone, a Microsoft Bob Tablet and the refreshed update on Clippy.
6:53PM:So far we still have no official word of what’s going to be unveiled today.
6:51PM:There was a long line outside so it looks like it’ll be a while before things start. Here are some pics of the stage.
6:49PM:Howdy everyone I’m here in Milk Studios in Hollywood for Microsoft’s (rumored) tablet event!
6:43PM:The line is moving! We’re right up front so we should be situated in a few minutes.
6:38PM:Well, things were scheduled to begin at 3:30PM local time, 6:30PM Eastern but we’re still on line outside the venue.