Microsoft is finally naming a date for its Surface Pro launch today: February 9th. The software giant may have missed its January release date promise, but the Windows 8-powered tablet will be available to purchase next month from retailers in the US and Canada. Microsoft is "taking a phased approach" with Surface Pro availability that may disappoint some international customers. "It will be available initially in the US and Canada with additional markets to follow in the coming weeks and months," says a spokesperson.

Microsoft's latest Surface tablet runs on a full version of Windows 8, meaning it will support existing desktop applications in addition to the new Windows 8-style ones. The Surface Pro is similar to Microsoft's Surface RT tablet on the exterior, with a 10.6-inch screen and support for Touch and Type Covers. However, pen support and a Full HD display with an Intel Core i5 processor means this tablet is significantly better specs wise. Earlier this month The Verge got an early look at Microsoft's Surface Pro tablet. We were particularly impressed with the display and the accuracy of the pen that Microsoft has supplied with this tablet. There's some trade offs with the Surface Pro compared to the RT, with an increased thickness and weight combination, but the speed and desktop apps support may make up for that.


Surface RT European expansion and new Touch Cover designs

Alongside the Surface Pro availability, Microsoft is also expanding the number of markets for its Surface RT tablet. 13 new European countries will be able to purchase the Surface RT in the coming weeks, doubling Microsoft's available markets. Three new Touch Covers will also be available for a limited time with unique designs along with a special Wedge Touch Mouse, Surface Edition. The Surface Pro will start at $899 without a cover for the 64GB model.