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Microsoft Surface tablet, Windows 8 coming Oct. 26

Microsoft is planning to hold a press event on Oct. 25 in New York City. The software giant is expected to launch its new operating system Windows 8 the following day, along with its new Surface tablet.

Microsoft's head of Windows Steven Sinofsky announced during a sales meeting in July that Windows 8 will ship on Oct. 26.

A report by The Verge suggests that Microsoft will start selling the Surface tablet at midnight on Oct. 26 at its holiday pop-up shops. The company plans to open over 30 of the mini retail locations across the United States and Canada.

Windows 8features a tablet-friendly design and is a complete departure from previous versions of the ubiquitous operating system. Icons are now large tiles. There is full touch screen support and a multi-touch on-screen keyboard.

Microsoft's Surface tablet features a 10.6-inch display, a full version of the Windows 8 operating system, Gorilla Glass, a built in kickstand and a tactile multi-touch keyboard.

Two versions of the Surface are planned: an Intel-powered Surface Pro and the Surface RT, which is powered with an ARM chip that runs Windows RT - a version of Windows 8.

Microsoft has not confirmed a price for the Surface tablet, but rumors have circulated that the device will cost about $199. If the purported price of the Surface tablet is correct, it will be the cheapest full-sized tablet to be released this fall.

For comparison, Apple's newest iPad retails for $499, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 starts at about $400, the Kindle Fire HD+ starts at $299 and Barnes & Noble's Nook HD+ starts at $269.

Microsoft announced the Surface tablet in June. This will be the company's first hardware launch.