Microsoft's Surface Pro Release Date

Only 3 months after the debut of its Surface RT tablet, Microsoft has announced a release date for the Surface Pro, the more powerful variant with the capacity to run a full version of Window 8. Reports state that the Surface Pro will go on sale on February 9th with a starting price of $899.

Unlike the Surface RT, which can only run Windows 8-optimized Metro apps, the Surface Pro runs Microsoft's full Windows 8 Pro operating system. That means it can handle all legacy Windows apps.

While the Surface RT uses a stripped down version of Windows 8 and runs on Nvidia's Tegra 3 processor, the Surface Pro will utilize a dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with integrated graphics, 4GBs of RAM, 64GB of storage, and offer the same OS experience as you would find on a full-sized Windows desktop or notebook.

The tablet's Intel Core i5 gives it processing power that's comparable to a traditional desktop or laptop PC, but it's 0.53 inches thick and weighs two pounds. That makes it both thicker and heavier than the Surface RT (0.37 inches thick, 1.5 pounds). It's also got a shorter battery life, which is not surprising, more comparable to an 5-ish hour ultrabook than a 10-hour tablet.

The Surface Pro was originally slated for a January release in the U.S. and Canada, but the cause of the minor delay was not confirmed. Microsoft wants to deliver the device to U.S and Canadian customers on Feb 9th. Microsoft's plans for wider availability are currently unknown.