Microsoft’s mysterious product launch event last night turned out to be own-brand tablets, as predicted – although rumoured partner Barnes & Noble played no part in the event. Instead, Microsoft unveiled a pair of tablets running its Windows 8 operating system, using the brand ‘Surface’ – previously used for a novelty touchscreen table released a few years ago.

iPad killers? It’s too early to say: we don’t know details of when the new tablets will go on sale, or how much they’ll cost. They’ll be iPad-sized with 10.6-inch screens, although Microsoft has put a more computing spin on them with USB ports and higher priority for its Office suite on the marketing site than apps and entertainment.

Entertainment? The tablets will support Microsoft’s Windows Store, but the company didn’t talk about any plans to integrate its new Xbox Music streaming service into the tablets, although there is a Music icon on the sample screenshots. Talk of a Micro SD card slot to “bring your entire movie and music collection with you on vacation” hints at more emphasis on downloads than streaming though.

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