Microsoft Surface goes on sale at midnight

Microsoft’s ambitious attempt at competing in the tablet war will be official as soon as the calendar ticks to October 26.

To celebrate, some stores will be selling the $499 tablet right at midnight. Microsoft is also opening a handful of special retail store locations throughout the country tomorrow, with Surface being one of the primary drivers of these retail storefronts.

October 26 is also the official launch date of Windows 8, which will be unlike any previous version of Microsoft’s operating system because it will have a dedicated focus on tablets that will be separate from the standard PC version.

Microsoft has a lot of ambition with Windows 8, and with a complete interface overhaul and functionality up the wazoo, it does have a chance to make a splash.

The most distinct aspect of Windows 8 is what’s known as the “Metro UI,” which allows users to have complete customization on their home page, including widgets, RSS readers, weather information, date/time, etc.

In addition, since this is such a revolutionary new platform, Microsoft wants to scrap out all remnants of the “old-school” look and feel. Instead of a Start bar, hovering your mouse over that corner of the screen will allow you to swap between the Metro UI and the traditional desktop. For the mobile version of Windows 8, the Metro UI will be the default interface.

Surface is Microsoft’s own first-party line of tablets powered by Windows 8. The cheapest Surface model is $499.