Microsoft's intent with the Surface tablets is to create hardware that puts the software front and center, to provide the hardware necessary to allow Windows 8's strengths to really come to the foreground. At the launch event, however, the software took the back seat. This was all about the hardware and with good reason.
The Surface tablets are smart, good-looking, carefully considered, well-built, slick pieces of kit, and there's nothing even close on the market today. Of course, they're not on the market today either, but unless the PC OEMs inject a serious dose of quality in their build and design processes, the Surface units will stand alone when they eventually go on sale.