More Surface areas

(Microsoft)

(Microsoft)

Relaxnews

, Last Updated: 5:25 PM ET

Microsoft has announced the next countries where its Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets are set to roll out.

By the end of March the Windows Surface RT -- which runs a pared-down version of Microsoft's latest operating system -- will be available in Japan, Mexico, New Zeland, Russia, Singapore and Taiwan.

The Surface RT is essentially a tablet in the vein of the iPad and Google's Nexus 10 but it also offers some notebook features -- most notably the typecover keyboard. And while it has been praised for its design and build quality, it has also received criticism for its performance and the fact that it can't run any legacy Microsoft applications. It is only compatible with specific Windows RT apps.

The Surface Pro, on the other hand is a fully-fledged notebook disguised as a tablet and, as it runs a full version of the latest Windows 8 operating software, can run full versions of applications written for the Windows platform. Following a successful launch in the US in February, it will also be available in Australia, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, New Zealand and the UK "in the coming months."

The fact that Microsoft is being less than specific about the launch date for its flagship tablet could, for many, confirm reports that it has underestimated demand for the product, or that it is having serious supply-chain problems. The Surface Pro sold out within 24 hours of its official North American launch but that was most likely due to very limited numbers being available.

"We are eager to see people and businesses in more countries get a chance to experience this new category of devices," said Panos Panay, corporate vice president, Microsoft Surface. "Surface is the best of a tablet and a PC."

Unlike its little brother, the Surface Pro has received nothing but praise since the first reviews started rolling in and the PC industry has high hopes that the device will stimulate growth and interest enough to help manufacturers compete with tablets such as the iPad and Amazon's Kindle Fire which are being blamed for falling PC sales.

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