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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 othercents on 9/23/2013 11:56:34 AM , Rating: 3
The pricing isn't really a premium price for what you get hardware and design wise. What Microsoft really needs is to have a budget 7" Surface to compete against all the other budget devices, but is that really the market they want?

RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By Amoro on 9/23/2013 12:43:25 PM , Rating: 2
It isn't much of a price premium but for me there's a price threshold on devices like these and $900 is WAY more than I want to pay for ANY tablet. Even starting at $450 is too much for a device with such limited usage scenarios. I just don't see much of a market for these devices.

What's the point in putting an expensive low voltage Haswell in there when atom would do just fine? Why do they need that much power and performance? I think the silvermont tablets make much more sense.

By troysavary on 9/23/2013 2:22:40 PM , Rating: 2
There are plenty of OEMs making cheaper Atom based Windows tablets. I think MS doesn't want to be seen as competing with them.

By Mint on 9/24/2013 9:18:25 AM , Rating: 4
For $900 you're not buying a tablet. You're buying an alternative to a MacBook Air 11, Acer S7, etc and getting tablet convertibility for free (and with the docking station they aim to replace your desktop, too). MS's pricing is right inline with other ultrabooks.

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