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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 Da W on 9/23/2013 11:55:25 AM , Rating: 2
Hey you cheap bastards. MS wrote down 900M$ charge of unsold inventory and tried to sell its stock at rock bottom prices.

They are selling almost at cost! These things are quality products!


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By fic2 on 9/23/2013 12:10:08 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe us cheap b@stards will wait until they have to write down another $900M and buy one of these for 1/2 price...


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By retrospooty on 9/23/2013 12:32:29 PM , Rating: 2
"Maybe us cheap b@stards will wait until they have to write down another $900M and buy one of these for 1/2 price.."

Exactly... I'd rather wait 6 months until Surface 2 's poor sales have caused them to sell at rock bottom prices than get a Surface 1 at rock botowm prices today.

Surface 2 is a far better product that no-one wants than Surface 1 is.


By troysavary on 9/23/2013 2:19:12 PM , Rating: 2
How nice to have the powers of prophecy. What will next weeks Powerball numbers be, please.


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By nafhan on 9/23/2013 1:12:33 PM , Rating: 2
If MS wants to succeed here, they need to be competing with Google and Asus NOT Apple.

Also, please explain what this "quality" stuff does for me and why it's worth the $200+ that I'd be spending over a less expensive device.


By Da W on 9/23/2013 2:05:08 PM , Rating: 2
For you? Nothing.
For me? Work. Play. Music. News. Tablet stuff. Pc stuff.


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By tayb on 9/23/2013 1:51:31 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
They are selling almost at cost! These things are quality products!


Bullshit. The bill of materials for the Surface 2 is not $450 and for the Surface Pro 2 it is not $799. The fucking keyboard attachment is $129. Are you seriously trying to tell me that the margins on that keyboard aren't insanely high? No way.

The secret to entering a new market and competing is to undercut the competition or have a superior offering at the same price. I can make a case that the Surface 2 is the most superior tablet but it is more expensive than the competition!


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By troysavary on 9/23/2013 2:21:07 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah, just like Tesla entered the electric car market by undercutting the Prius.


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By StanO360 on 9/23/2013 2:57:10 PM , Rating: 2
COMPLETELY different markets targeted. One is an economy pitch the other a luxury pitch.


By troysavary on 9/23/2013 3:06:34 PM , Rating: 2
I realse it is a different market. But the idea that you HAVE to introduce a new product cheaper is ludicrous. If that were the case, every time a new product came out, it would have to be cheaper than the previous one, until no body made any money.


By tayb on 9/23/2013 4:21:54 PM , Rating: 2
The Yankees are going to miss the playoffs because Star Wars Episode VII is going to be released in 2015.

Oh, I thought we were making stupid comparisons?


By Da W on 9/23/2013 2:34:54 PM , Rating: 2
Accessories?
How much do you pay for Apple accessories?
Don't bash a tablet price based on the price of its accessories.

Sure you can have a dual core 16GB nexus 7 tablet for next to nothing. This ain't a full equiped surface pro.

The docking station is a killer!


By StanO360 on 9/23/2013 2:55:58 PM , Rating: 2
It doesn't matter, it's what the combination of marketing, perception and unique selling features mean to the buyer. MS is not hitting it.

Personally the RT is an excellent laptop-lite. It's more than a tablet, but not a full laptop. Flogging it as a different iPad will not help. Students, salesman, and others that may not need a massive app collection would be well served by it, at least at a sub $400 price with keyboard . . . that's the issue. Why not just buy an Asus touchscreen 12" laptop for $400-$500?

That being said we got an academic RT and my son loves it for school. Much better for that purpose than an iPad.


"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA














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