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Microsoft refines its two-pronged approach to tablets

OK, let's be blunt; Microsoft’s first generation Surface tablets were a flop. The company took a $900 million charge on unsold inventory, and refurbished units have been dumped onto the market at rock bottom prices (pricing that some have said the units should have launched with in the first place).
 
However, the company is looking to right the wrongs of its first generation tablets with a reinvigorated second generation. Starting with Surface Pro 2, Microsoft has made the ClearType HD display is 46 percent more color accurate and added Dolby Pro 2 speakers for improved audio quality.
 
Under the hood, graphics performance has been improved by 50 percent, and overall performance has increased by 20 percent thanks to Haswell. In Microsoft's words, it's "faster than 95 percent of laptops today".

 

Surface 2 (L) and Surface Pro 2 (R)
 
The use of Intel's Haswell processor also means that Surface Pro 2 is quieter and cooler than the first generation. In addition, battery life has been improved by 75 percent.
 
Using the new Surface Power Cover (with its own integrated 30 Whr battery), battery life increases to 2.5 times that of the original Surface Pro.


Surface Pro 2 Docking Station

The kickstand has also been improved, and includes two positions this time around. The Surface Pro 2 will also be available with the Surface Docking Station. This will allow the tablet to output up to 3840x2160 to an external monitor and includes three USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port, a Mini DisplayPort, Ethernet, and audio in/out.


Surface Type Cover 2
 
The new Type Cover 2 is available in pink, blue, purple, and black. The accessory itself is 1 mm thinner then the previous generation, making it nearly as thin as the first generation Touch Cover. And Microsoft was able to accomplish this while making the keys backlit.
 
Next up is Surface 2 (the RT moniker has been dropped), which is now available in a nice silver color. The device is thinner and lighter than the original Surface RT, and it's of course much faster thanks to its NVIDIA Tegra 4 processor. The Surface 2 now comes with a 1080p ClearType display and the onboard USB 2.0 port has been upgraded to USB 3.0. Surface 2 also gets a two-position kickstand and battery life has been increased by 25 percent.


Surface 2
 
Both the Surface Pro 2 and Surface 2 are built around Windows 8.1 (Windows 8.1 RT in the case of Surface 2).
 
When it comes to pricing, Surface 2 will start at $449 for the 32GB model. Surface Pro 2 starts at $899 and will be available in 64GB and 128GB versions (4GB of RAM) along with 256GB and 512GB versions (8GB of RAM).
 
Both tablets will launch on October 22.





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RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By troysavary on 9/23/2013 11:49:33 AM , Rating: 5
If you have a premium product, you charge premium prices. MS is not after the $100 crap market. Especially with the Pro. Where else can you get a Haswell tablet with 8 GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage? This is not a device aimed at people who have no money because they spend their entire day posting "I hate MS" rants all over the internet rather than holding down a job.


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By Jeffk464 on 9/23/2013 11:52:30 AM , Rating: 2
Tablets were suppose to be for light duty tasks just like smart phones, they shouldn't need a Haswell CPU. If I need laptop functionality I will use my laptop.


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By troysavary on 9/23/2013 11:56:20 AM , Rating: 5
The Pro is a laptop. And a tablet. Who says tablets have to just be fat phones? If I just wanted to do light duty stuff, I'll use a phone.


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By Da W on 9/23/2013 12:00:04 PM , Rating: 2
Plus: i caught my 2 years old kid jumping with both feet on my surface pro. Not a scrach to be found, glass is okay, still running like new. Try THAT with a nexus!


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By Reclaimer77 on 9/23/2013 12:20:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Plus: i caught my 2 years old kid jumping with both feet on my surface pro.


See? Even little kids hate these things!! :)

(for those who are uptight morons, the above was purely for comedic good-natured ribbing)


By fic2 on 9/23/2013 1:52:48 PM , Rating: 2
LOL!


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By FITCamaro on 9/23/2013 12:48:25 PM , Rating: 3
Or you can have a tablet that also is your desktop. Put it into a dock and hook up an external monitor and dual screen it. Then when you want to go, you have all your data and applications right there with you in a still powerful, portable container.


By xti on 9/23/2013 1:48:52 PM , Rating: 2
this x1000. i want a laptop that doesnt weigh 8 lbs or have a crappy resolution...and can reuse all my x86 stuff.

pro is a great idea and they are getting closer to where it needs to be.


By rsmech on 9/23/2013 8:00:24 PM , Rating: 2
The same logic would have left us with phones are just for talking and texting. I'm glad we didn't stop there. Phones will keep improving as should tablets.


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By Reclaimer77 on 9/23/2013 12:15:01 PM , Rating: 2
What's the use of a premium product if nobody knows about it and nobody buys it?

At this point Microsoft needs to just get people INTO the mobile Windows ecosystem.

Especially RT. It's so far behind Android and (pains me to say) iOS as a mobile tablet ecosystem, they have to be on crack with that pricing!

quote:
Especially with the Pro. Where else can you get a Haswell tablet with 8 GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage?


The Pro is a hybrid between a tablet and ultrabook, but the reality is that it's not the best solution for either. It remains to be seen if it even has much of a place in the market.

Of course it could be the best device on Earth, but if you hate Windows 8, which most people seem to, it's not going to matter a whole lot.


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By troysavary on 9/23/2013 12:59:03 PM , Rating: 2
What is so great about the Android tablet ecosystem? It is mostly crappy phone apps that scale poorly to tablet size. Never mind the fact that many apps are just glorified webpages. Who care if you have a g-mail, youtube, maps, etc app? You can do all of that with the browser. Well, except on iOS, I guess.


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By retrospooty on 9/23/2013 1:33:34 PM , Rating: 2
"What is so great about the Android tablet ecosystem? "

The OS, the apps, and the hardware variety.

"It is mostly crappy phone apps"

Totally untrue

"that scale poorly to tablet size"

Totally untrue

But most importantly, it doesnt have those awful tiles. Fully customizeable to suit any needs, and no irritating UI.


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By Reclaimer77 on 9/23/2013 2:16:51 PM , Rating: 2
I can't even look such stupidity in the face. Does he really believe that stuff?

News flash: Android is king of the tablet OS today. iOS had a stranglehold on the tablet market just a few years ago. Now Android has decimated Apple's iPad, which saw its share erode from 47.2 percent in Q2 2012 to 28.3 percent in Q2 2013! That's a nosedive of epic proportions.

Android has enabled competitive products at a great price. That wouldn't happen if it was as bad as he's trying to claim.


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By troysavary on 9/23/2013 2:27:13 PM , Rating: 2
Newsflash, the most successful Android tablet is a fork of Android designed to sell Amazon content. Other than that, Apple is still the king of tablets. Android may be trouncing Apple in phones, but the high end tablet market is still mostly an Apple show.


By retrospooty on 9/23/2013 3:54:33 PM , Rating: 3
Sorry, like the other post with your tablets apps, your info is 1-2 years old.

http://www.tech-thoughts.net/2013/08/tablet-market...


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By troysavary on 9/23/2013 2:29:09 PM , Rating: 1
OK, I admit it has been a while since I used an Android tablet. When I last did, it was a painful experience. Maybe they have come a long way since then. I haven't cared enough to find out.


By retrospooty on 9/23/2013 3:50:42 PM , Rating: 2
They have. http://www.anandtech.com/show/7231/the-nexus-7-201...

And that is just a small cheap one.

Anand Lal Shimpi : "The original Nexus 7 gave us a decent Android experience at a very low cost. This year ASUS and Google raised the bar for sure. The new Nexus 7 is no longer just a decent tablet at a good price, it's an incredible tablet . With this Nexus, it's clear that Google no longer wants to rely on value alone. The 2013 Nexus 7 redefines what you should expect to pay for a truly great tablet. "


By Reclaimer77 on 9/23/2013 5:50:09 PM , Rating: 2
So basically you don't know what you're talking about, but troll on anyway?

Okay glad we cleared that up.


By rsmech on 9/23/2013 8:14:54 PM , Rating: 2
While I personally use Windows 8 desktop, Windows phone, and Windows tablet and personally love them I wouldn't call Android crappy. Not what I'm looking for but not crappy.

Google worked it's market from the bottom end up. MS is trying from the top down. One clearly works better than the other. MS marketing flat sucks. You can only charge more to the masses if you have good marketing. The only other way is be cheap. MS marketing doesn't match their products.


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By lifewatcher on 9/23/2013 12:17:55 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps. But tablets live in their own micro-cosmos. Paying much for something that will be obsolete in a year or less is not what many want/can do. People traded some power for mobility, when they started buying more laptops than desktops. They once again did that, when tablets started taking over. Nowadays consumers don't expect desktop performance out of a tablet, thus the eye-popping price for a tablet looks ridiculous to most. If MS is still trying to convince the mass market to buy Pro tablets with geeky "tera" this, "giga" that, the sales will remain the same. There's such thing as "enough" - the right balance between price and performance at the right time. Apple started moving down-market to compete with Android, but somehow MS thinks that $1K is the sweet price spot for a tablet. The history is full of examples of failures, due to being "ahead of the times".


By troysavary on 9/23/2013 2:32:22 PM , Rating: 2
No, MS doesn't think that 1k is the sweet spot for a tablet. The Pro is an ultrabook, plain and simple. It is very reasonably priced when pitted against devices of the same power. You notice they sell their tablet for less that half the cost of the Pro.


By YearOfTheDingo on 9/23/2013 1:49:06 PM , Rating: 5
If you have a premium product, don't market it like $50 picture frame. How is it that we never see the Surface Pro running useful software like Office? In all the promotion pictures, it's always the thing sitting on an empty table showing the stupid start screen. Is that how Microsoft imagine people will use it?

Worst. Marketing. Ever.


"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton













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