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Many are expecting a newer, better Surface

Microsoft sent out invitations to its Surface 2.0 event today, which is expected to show off new Surface hardware.

The Surface 2.0 event will be held September 23 in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. 

While Microsoft hasn't been clear about what it's revealing at the event, many suspect it will be a new Surface model (or even more than one). 

According to TechCrunch, we likely won't see a Surface with a radically smaller screen than the previous generation (which sits at 10.6 inches for both the Surface Pro and Surface RT). Also, other reports have said that the next-generation Surface RT (which is rumored to be called Surface 2 with no RT in the title) will have Qualcomm's Snapdragon processor, and that the Surface 2 Pro will get over eight hours of battery life, a Haswell processor, a docking station (which is supposed to feature three USB ports, a microphone port, an audio output port for headphones or external speakers, and a 1 Gbps Ethernet port for a direct connection into a router) and 8GB RAM. The Surface 2 reportedly won't be compatible with the docking station.

Microsoft really needs to step it up with the next Surface. The previous generation didn't seem to attract many buyers for various reasons, from the fact that Windows RT was a bust (it's not a full Windows 8 experience and cannot run legacy apps) to the high prices of both tablet models. 

Surface with Windows RT was released in October 2012 while Surface with Windows 8 Pro was released in February 2013. The 32GB Surface RT launched at $499 and has been slashed to $349 (the 64GB version is now $449). The Surface Pro also saw a cut from $899 to $799 for the 64GB model. The 128GB version costs $899.

In July, it was reported that Surface sales totaled just $853 million for the fiscal year 2013. Microsoft failed to mention which portion of those sales were Surface RT sales and which were Surface Pros. 

Microsoft worked real hard to push its Surface tablets with promotions like giving away 10,000 Surface RT tablets to teachers at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and introducing the "Microsoft Surface for education limited time offer," which gave discounted Surface RTs to schools and colleges interested in adopting the tablets until August 31.

But the efforts failed. In July, Microsoft took a $900 million charge on the Surface due to the flop in sales. 

Microsoft is now trying to become a devices and services leader with a new restructuring plan -- called "One Microsoft" -- that will bring Windows Phone, PC and Xbox units closer together for a more seamless experience across multiple devices. Current CEO Steve Ballmer will also be replaced in the next year, possibly by Ford CEO Alan Mulally or Computer Sciences Corp.'s (CSCs) CEO Mike Lawrie. 

It remains to be seen whether or not the restructuring plan and all of its changes will help the Surface make a splash in the tablet sector. 

Source: TechCrunch

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It's kind of a shame...
By retrospooty on 9/10/2013 12:21:41 PM , Rating: 5
Surface pro is actually really nice. The 2nd round will be even better I am sure. It's actually a decent product. The problem is not enough people want it, or consider it worth the price. MS has some serious image issues to overcome.

RE: It's kind of a shame...
By Labotomizer on 9/10/2013 12:25:48 PM , Rating: 1
It's a niche product. For some of us there isn't anything better. But most don't have my usage pattern. Haswell and 8 GB of memory makes it even more tempting. But not a lot of people won't spend $1k on a tablet. Heck, most people won't spend that much on a laptop/desktop. And even if it can do all 3 it's not worth it for a lot.

I think the Surface Pro is supposed to be the top of the line for Windows tablets. Other people will make cheaper Atom tablets, etc. Surface Pro is everything done top notch.

RE: It's kind of a shame...
By retrospooty on 9/10/2013 2:33:34 PM , Rating: 1
I agree, but MS didnt plan it as a niche product. They planned to sell mass quantities... Then again, we already know it lost 900 million on round one. Ouch.

RE: It's kind of a shame...
By ArcsinZ on 9/10/2013 6:37:02 PM , Rating: 2
Completely and totally wrong. Microsoft designed it very specifically to get manufacturers to build better devices. They created a bar to which all other tablets will be compared. It was always intended as a loss leader product. Well, I'm sure they envisioned it breaking even, but they didn't want to stop HP and Dell and Asus and Samsung and Acer and the multitudes of others from making tablets. That's where MS makes it's money. The Surface was supposed to be the device people lusted after and then bought one from one of the other OEM's once they decided they couldn't afford it.

RE: It's kind of a shame...
By Cypherdude1 on 9/11/2013 12:44:17 AM , Rating: 2
It's a niche product. For some of us there isn't anything better. But most don't have my usage pattern. Haswell and 8 GB of memory makes it even more tempting. But not a lot of people won't spend $1k on a tablet. Heck, most people won't spend that much on a laptop/desktop.
There is a niche where a Surface Pro 2.0 will fit: Traveling abroad. If you want to travel via jetliner you really must have a tablet. I have a Lenovo 15.6" laptop and it's just too heavy for airline travel, totally impracticable. If you want to use real programs on a tablet while traveling abroad, you need a Windows-based tablet. A Haswell-based tablet is the best choice. Of course, Microsoft will have competitors, probably in November, such as Lenovo, Acer, perhaps HP, etc... The reason why the RT failed was because it couldn't run Windows programs. The reason why the Surface Pro 1.0 failed was because it didn't have a Haswell CPU. This will all change soon. The reason why the Surface 1.0 failed was the same reason why Vista failed: The hardware did not yet exist to fully support it.

I have been watching the business news. I think the analysts and investors got it wrong simply because they don't understand the underlying technology. I don't believe anyone should be blamed for the failure of the Surface 1.0. The Haswell CPU simply did not yet exist. All this will soon change. I believe the Haswell CPU will change everything. I believe there will soon be a major shift from Windows-based laptops to tablets. Personally, I would like to buy a 15.6" tablet when it finally arrives.

RE: It's kind of a shame...
By piroroadkill on 9/11/2013 4:13:17 AM , Rating: 2

Yeah, you don't mean that. You mean "impractical".

Also, just because you have some crappy large 15.6" laptop, doesn't mean others don't have 13" laptops which are far nicer to use than a tablet.

I have a Vaio Z series and it is light, and extremely powerful. Comfortable to use even on economy flights...

RE: It's kind of a shame...
By CZroe on 9/11/2013 12:55:47 AM , Rating: 2
It's hard to convince your partners to follow when even you can't make money with your attempt.

RE: It's kind of a shame...
By kleinma on 9/10/2013 3:59:27 PM , Rating: 4
How is a do everything device a niche product? How is it a niche product versus something technologically inferior in everyway like the iPad (I will throw the iPad a bone on the retina screen since the surface only (ONLY) has a 1080p screen.

So it is a niche product because???? It has a USB3 port? It has a MicroSD port? You can use touch, KB,Mouse, Touchpad, stylus for input? I am still thinking of where this do everything, be everything device fits into in the niche section of electronics...

If you want to think about it as a tablet, then go get an iPad. If you want something that is a laptop when you want that, and a tablet when you want that, and everything in between those, then the surface pro is by far the best device on the market, and priced exactly in the range of ultrabooks with LESS specs.

RE: It's kind of a shame...
By Argon18 on 9/10/13, Rating: -1
RE: It's kind of a shame...
By kleinma on 9/10/2013 4:50:42 PM , Rating: 3
If you want to spew nonsense, then can you back it up with facts.

Please show me 1 single link to ANY laptop that costs 299 that is equal to the surface pro. Any one at all, please, I will be waiting...

Shit, the iPad 128GB is 799.99, so go ahead and show me any laptop that costs 799.99 that matches the feature specs of the surface pro.

RE: It's kind of a shame...
By CaedenV on 9/10/2013 5:46:34 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is not that it is not a good value (it is a great value), it is more that the price is simply too high period. I mean, even Apple does not sell that many 128GB iPads at $800. And Apple has a strong reputation as a hardware vendor, where MS does not.

As a newcomer to the hardware market MS is going to have to start low and build high just like every other electronics vendor on the market. They do not need to build junk... but they could still build a decent $250 tablet for an entry level device on the RT side, and a decent sub $750 device on the Pro side. Even after price drops they are nowhere near those prices. Yes, they are premium devices, and you get what you pay for... the problem is that nobody wants a 1st gen device, and nobody wants to pay that much for what is essentially a disposable piece of hardware. People don't want to pay Apple's price for their hardware either, but they do it because it is popular, they don't want to look foolish for trying something else, and because there is a huge amount of apps and support built into the apple ecosystem that MS does not have.

Apple became popular by selling $150 MP3 players. They were expensive for MP3 players, but $150 is not a ridiculous price for a quality tech gadget, so it sold. Now Apple sells much more expensive gadgets in quantity because they built a user base. I hate Apple, and dislike their products, but it is no great mystery how they got to where they are. MS thought that they could waltz in and be just like apple without building the lower level hardware first, and that just does not fly these days.

RE: It's kind of a shame...
By kleinma on 9/10/2013 5:56:12 PM , Rating: 2
Sure, I agree with you there. MS knows what people spend on computers. MS was not trying to sell a surface to every single person out there. They were selling the surface to people who need what the surface does, and I have not heard of a single person who owns the surface pro, and doesn't like it. That doesn't mean it is perfect, but the faults are pretty small, especially for a first gen hardware device. Apple makes one iPad, in a few different connection and capacity flavors. MS sells the surface products along side not only google and apple products, but also a range of OEM windows devices as well. It isn't supposed to sell as many as any single one device like the iPad.

RE: It's kind of a shame...
By inighthawki on 9/10/2013 9:05:32 PM , Rating: 2
128GB ipads also still can't do much. a $900 surface pro will run every app you've ever known and loved and can use all your USB peripherals.

RE: It's kind of a shame...
By NellyFromMA on 9/11/2013 12:49:18 PM , Rating: 2
It depends on how you look at it, which largely has to do with how MS has asked you to look at it.

Comparing Surface Pro to the iPad is really hard.

Comparing it to the MacBook Air frankly seems like a better idea and maybe its hindsight, but I'm somewhat surprised this was not the approach out-of-the-gate.

You are referring to price points for devices that are not on parity with Surface Pro. I think the comparison is justified because the manufacturer asked you to.

It's just important to realize (I think) that Surface Pro at its pricepoint isn't bad when considered for what it actually is: a glorified and premium laptop that happens to behave like a tablet if you'd like. Using strictly as a tablet, however, is quite hard...

RE: It's kind of a shame...
By flyingpants1 on 9/10/2013 10:54:50 PM , Rating: 2
It's a niche product because it's a ~$1000 laptop, with a very small screen, with no real keyboard and no real way to prop it up on a non-flat, uneven surface.

The average person is not going to spend that amount of money on it. Understand?

Convertibles should be priced at $700 with Core i3 and 90GB SSD to compete with iPad. HP Split X2 looks awesome for $699.

RE: It's kind of a shame...
By w8gaming on 9/10/2013 11:34:41 PM , Rating: 2
I do think such a price point should be possible, especially since it is using i3. Microsoft should really consider making various variant of tablets at different price points if they really want to become "a device company". If they never really intend to be a device company, then they really should not have said that and scare away their partners, and continue to do what they are doing and just make showcase products with limited quantity. Do not over-produce those and end up writing off excess inventory. Microsoft really need to choose what they want to do, to be more like Apple? Or to continue to support their partners?

RE: It's kind of a shame...
By flyingpants1 on 9/11/2013 1:34:05 AM , Rating: 2
Not only is it possible, it's available right now at Best Buy for $699 including shipping, with a 128GB SSD.

$699. For the 128GB version. That's INCLUDING a REAL KEYBOARD. It's EXPANDABLE TO 8GB , for god's sake. A Haswell version of this will be incredible.

You are totally 100% correct about what you said. If Microsoft is serious about becoming a device company, a $1000 10-incher is not going to cut it. For that $1000, you could get a higher-res iPad with better tablet app support, AND a faster laptop.

They need to totally rethink what they are doing.

Or just keep making trash that nobody wants (RT, Surface Pro, Win8), and see how that goes.

RE: It's kind of a shame...
By Labotomizer on 9/11/2013 9:12:24 AM , Rating: 2
You misinterpreted my statement as a negative I believe. It's niche in that there is only a limited market that really understands the value that this brings. Many prefer a laptop for creation and a tablet for consumption. At $1000 you're getting a better device than what you could get from each for a combined price of $1000. But people don't see things that way. For people like myself the Surface is probably the best device I've purchased in years. And that goes for numerous engineers here at work that have purchased them. We leave our monster "mobile workstations" at the office now and use VPN/RDP to access the processing power required remotely. And travel with a Surface Pro. It works out great.

RE: It's kind of a shame...
By MrBungle123 on 9/11/2013 11:04:08 AM , Rating: 2
How is a do everything device a niche product? How is it a niche product versus something technologically inferior in everyway like the iPad

It's a niche product because like it or not the majority of people are not masochistic enough to want to use a 10" device in the same way they use a desktop/laptop.

Here's how this goes 90% of the time:

Salesman: "You might check out the Surface; it has a core i5, runs on Windows 8, includes Office 2013, it's as powerful as many laptops and can run all your windows software."

Customer: "Oh that's cool, how much is it?"

Salesman: "With the keyboard cover... right around a $1000"

Customer: "nah, I already have a computer... I'm just looking for something cheap that I can use for facebook and netflix."

RE: It's kind of a shame...
By chmilz on 9/10/2013 2:52:09 PM , Rating: 4
MS often makes great things, but they simply SUCK at marketing. One day they'll learn how to advertise and their products will fly.

RE: It's kind of a shame...
By Argon18 on 9/10/13, Rating: -1
RE: It's kind of a shame...
By CaedenV on 9/10/2013 5:34:13 PM , Rating: 2
That is very much a generational thing. My generation does not lust after those old brands like our parents did. But the thing about being the top brand of a given item is that you get to make your product ultra exclusive and sell extremely low volume. I mean, compared to Ferrari unit sales the Surface RT was a huge hit... but Ferrari's have a bit more profit per car to make that work for them.

But you cannot sell electronics the same way you sell cars, watches, and... whatever Prada is or sells (I honestly don't know, I only know the name). Ultra exclusive items have ways of fighting the devaluing nature of time, and some even increase in value at times... but not computers. A 10 year old computer with a gold case is the same thing as a 10 year old computer in a steel case: scrap metal.

All that said MS has a serious problem outside of all of that, and I am an excellent example of it: I am a MS fan, and I have no inclination to buy any hardware from them.
I mean, the XBox, the X360 (after the rrod issue was dealt with), their keyboards and mice, the Zune, and Surface have all been pretty great products... but I have never actually wanted to buy any of them. I buy and use their software all of the time, I purchase apps from their various ever-changing ecosystems without any qualms or concerns, and I really like MS as a company. But when it comes to their hardware there is not a single one that has jumped out at me as a 'must have' item even if price was not an issue (and their price would detour me even if they did have something I wanted). I sadly do not have any constructive criticism as to why this is, but if they have not won me over on the purchase of a product when I am a fan, then I am really confused as to how they think they will reach a broad audience.

RE: It's kind of a shame...
By Argon18 on 9/10/2013 9:08:02 PM , Rating: 1
It is absolutely not a generational thing. Porsche, Ferrari, Rolex, Prada, and other luxury brands are posting record profits. It isn't old farts buying either. It's young people with money. Not bragging but I'm 27 and just bought my first new Ferrari (a California). I don't give two shits about tablets and electronic gizmos. I don't own any Apple or Microsoft products even, not one. I have a PS3 that I haven't used in a few years, and an Android phone from 2010. I don't know how old you are, but I'm guessing you don't care about luxury goods because you cannot afford them.

By The Von Matrices on 9/11/2013 12:05:30 AM , Rating: 2
This absolutely is a generational thing. You are an exception, and there have been numerous studies to support this. For example, Dailytech even reported on it a few years ago:

RE: It's kind of a shame...
By troysavary on 9/11/2013 8:55:18 AM , Rating: 2
Not everyone has to compensate for their small penis with a Ferrari. You show the typical elitist idea that if someone doesn't want what you have, they must secretly be jealous. I don't want a Ferrari because it has no use at all for me. I have 4 kids, I like going offroad, I camp, fish and hike for fun. How would an overpriced two seater with a couple inches of ground clearance and no real trunk suit me?

RE: It's kind of a shame...
By Cheesew1z69 on 9/11/2013 10:27:50 AM , Rating: 1
And love how he says "Not bragging but"...

Yep, no bragging at all, like anyone gives a shit what he bought to begin with... LOL

RE: It's kind of a shame...
By troysavary on 9/11/2013 5:16:46 PM , Rating: 2
I would not even have bothered to reply if he didn't end by saying that only those who can't afford it say thy don't want it. There are plenty of multi-millionaires who could easily afford a fleet of Ferraris but own none because they have no need or desire for one. I can't afford one, but even if I could, I wouldn't want one. If one were given to me, I'd sell it. I judge my purchases on how it will benefit me or my family, not on what status it will give me in the eyes of people I neither know nor care about.

RE: It's kind of a shame...
By w8gaming on 9/10/2013 7:37:21 PM , Rating: 2
What I want to see in Surface Pro 2 is an option to go with a 256Gb SSD instead of 128Gb. And please do not charge another $200 just because the increased storage, SSD is really not that expensive nowadays.

RE: It's kind of a shame...
By althaz on 9/10/2013 8:44:11 PM , Rating: 2
Upgrading from a 128Gb drive to a 256Gb drive basically has to bump the price by a minimum of $200, because that's how much extra it would cost (if not more) the manufacturer (cost of parts + costs of having an additional model). They have a 256Gb options and $200 extra is a pretty fair deal, IMO. Even if it were cost of the drive only, it would be $120 extra, which is frankly just unreasonable.

RE: It's kind of a shame...
By w8gaming on 9/10/2013 11:08:33 PM , Rating: 2
Well, as you said cost of parts = $120, but how does costs of having an additional model come into play? If they make it right the drive should be located at a place where you can simply remove it and plug a different one in. That minimum of $200 actually means they are able to charge a higher premium just for the priviledge of having extra storage, very much like how Apple charging $799 for 128Gb iPad.

I know all hardware vendors are practically doing the same thing. I am just saying Microsoft can try to be different and selling their hardware at a fairer price, to encourage people to buy it. Just look at the ultrabook segment with 256Gb SSD drive, see how much it cost now? Microsoft can be a game changer by selling it cheaper while not eating into their profit margin compare to selling the 128Gb model. Or they can just follow the crowd mentality and be just the same as everyone else, that approach will not really make their product stands out.

RE: It's kind of a shame...
By flyingpants1 on 9/11/2013 1:37:14 AM , Rating: 2
I've seen 256GB SSDs go for $159. The NAND itself should be less expensive. And Microsoft is not paying retail prices.

RE: It's kind of a shame...
By NellyFromMA on 9/11/2013 12:45:00 PM , Rating: 2
They should consider comparing it to the MacBook Air instead of the iPad. They should talk about it being a laptop first and a tablet second until the tablet usage is ironed out more.

They should perhaps also consider exposing some (if not all) of the RT API to the desktop environment and / or open up RT development.

If they did these two things, our company and our customers would be all over it.

Those are our perceived barriers. We want to go with Microsoft in addition to support for iOS and Android as our flagship product is .Net based and we enjoy that quite a bit for all of the expected reasons. However, we can't really embrace Surface as a substitute without usage without a keyboard being refined further. We love the touch capabilities in "RT land / Modern UI" however we can't justify paying to get into a market that is still so small and I imagine that stalling pattern is similar for other businesses.

We want open development with easy development of touch-friendly interfaces and we want to enable that with as few barriers as possible.

At present, we could only ever justify the costs to develop on RT platforms IF the market were comparable to the iOS and Android device pool.

Android market share exploded not because it was a superior OS to iOS initially (which at this point I would say it is on par with iOS 6 when you factor in all of the pros and cons of each as of iOS6 and Android 4.2) but because Android was simply an open platform. If an alternative open mobile platform that just so happened to have superior development tools were to be provided by MS, I'm confident their market share would expand quite appreciably. To be clear, I am speaking in terms of development, not source code. But, they need to not hold out much longer and make some choices here. I think perhaps the Windows Store can still exist as is, developer subscription and all. Perhaps these apps can be billed as "MS certified" and somehow that can equate as safer or cleaner somehow. But, side-loading and open development are crucial for RT / Modern UI to retain relevance.

There is a REAL need for a BETTER mobile development environment. MS CAN win. But it must, as it did with Xbox, reverse or modify its current course in the above regards before businesses (MS's real friend) can embrace their approach in the mobile sector going forward...

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive

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