The Microsoft Surface RT Launch - NYC Times Square last night


A fan snapping the opening event with a Windows Phone

Last night, Microsoft finally kicked off the Surface RT here in New York City and they did so with great enthusiasm.

We were there for the event, which kicked off at about 9:45PM EDT right in the middle of Times Square.  Some folks had begun lining up earlier that day and Microsoft gave them some free Surface jackets for their trouble. The line itself had a few hundred people and it took about nearly two hours just to get into the Store as they had it very controlled--only a specific number of people could enter at a given time, pending others exiting.

The funny thing was, even if you were the first in line and paid for your Surface, you couldn’t pick it up until midnight, as that’s when the Surface officially was available.

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Some of the crowd

The staff were very helpful, some of the crew gave out coffee to those waiting in line and overall, sales were high for the Surface RT as you can see in the photos and video that we captured.

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Some of the Surface team was there including Microsoft general manager Panos Panay and at midnight they even autographed the first official sale of the device for all the TV crews on hand (see image below).


Overall, it was quite exciting to see that much interest in a Microsoft product as it was akin to what an Apple event is like. The question remains though if interest and sales will continue throughout the holiday season as typically only the “hardcore” users do the whole "lining up" thing.

We are getting reports though in some major US cities that “hundreds” queued up this morning to get theirs. Did you?

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Panos Panay


Reader comments

The Microsoft Surface RT Launch - NYC Times Square last night


Looks like a good event, though from comments in the forum it seems the TV crews you mentioned must have been sucked into some black hole as their TV coverage has apparently gone AWOL....
So did you get one?

Yup I m installing rt now... Its awesome to get my hands on.. Waiting for surface windows 8 pro... Saying on MS site "coming soon"

Yea, I wached the news in CT last night..and they didn't say a word about Windows 8... I reember the 7 release and yes, it was big coverage

There were some TV crews, but most of the media I saw onsite last night were taking pictures - there weren't a lot of film crews that I saw.  I'm curious if it made the local news at 11 in the area, but we might hear (and see) more about it during today's news cycle as the rest of the Microsoft stores and holiday stores popped up today and are officially selling the devices.

Checkout AnandTech review. Love how they do these extensive objective display tests (like notebookcheck.com).
I saw yesterday VivoTab RT at Best buy (weird how they have it yet Microsoft store couldn't show anything at that point). Display was amazing but haven't seen the Surface yet.

Hey Josh! Double check into Microsoft News Centre website you'll find it there with the Windows 8 Video ;). Hope this help!

any news when other countries not mentioned on microsoft's website will be having surface? akin to own one... if only it is available here in my country. :(

They did really well down here in Aventura Florida too...I would say about 50 people in line and people were coming thru steady....got mine with a cyan touch cover to match my lumia 900 and then my lumia 920 next week.

Miamiiii representin' !
I went to dadeland mall instead. I had class so i didnt see the store opening, but seeing the traffic flow in and out of the store while i was there, i was impressed. I had to walk to the apple store of course lol it was crowded (ipad mini and 4th gen ipad of course) BUT yes the microsoft did have more people :)

So jealous of my fellow Floridians. :( I can go see the Surface at the FL mall but I won't torture myself since I have to wait for the funds to get one.

That can't be the real event. You guys staged that. All the tech bloggers and geniuses said that it was a flop and a disaster. No one would want it and it was a horrible OS. 

Surface is simply amazing.  You can live your life by listening to pundits that get paid to praise a fruit, but seriously, try it for yourself. It leaves ipad in the dust. iOS looks like a relic from the 1990's next to Surface.

Actually I wish this culture ends where you line up for devices coz it seems downright stupid to me..

though it could be a case of sour grapes..#third world problems

I was at the Times Square launch after having drinks with Paul Thurrott and Mary Jo Foley at their blogger tweetup nearby. The center of Times Square was filled with Microsoft employees showing Windows 8 to the passersby, and many of the electronic signs were dedicated to Surface and Windows 8. Steve Ballmer then made a little speech before pulling the curtain to reveal the store. All in all, very well done and an impressive launch for Surface and Windows 8.

Funny, read any major paper and this launch was just a small speck, but apple and the mini are still headline news. Talk about biased reporting.

Dallas had a couple hundred in line at the kiosk (*ahem* "popup store") in Stonebriar Mall.  A little ridiculous...

Sadly, here in Hong Kong Surface availability is "early November". 32GB model pre-orders are sold out, 64GB selling well apparently. Both models come with a black Touch cover. If you want another colour buy a second cover :-(

Got my Surface at the Glendale Galleria (along with the free 1 yr Xbox music) after work! Its amazing!!! Seriously, if you were on the fence, get it!!! Its sleek, feels lightweight, and is eons ahead of iPad. You can do infinitely more thing ls with surface. The touch and type keyboards are awesome! I went with the touch red because it feels odd to have the type keyboard folded on the back with the keys...

I really wonder what all this bias reporting is all about. The other day a guy from the verge was being interviewed on CNN and he completely killed the Surface (RT) If you were a potential buyer you would simply not buy it. Funny enough he praised W8. It seemed like he knew that W8 would succeed (coz W7 is destroying the competition right now) but he simply didn't want the Surface to succeed... He said that the Surface is not smooth and intuitive. He also said that even though the Surface is about the same size as an iPad (don't know which one) it's still much bigger. Weird reasoning... I think a lot of these reviewers think that there should only be one kind of tablet (the ipad) and other manufacturers must design tablets that look and work like it. That's pretty close minded. The iPad is a good product but I think this industry can do better...