backtop


Print 118 comment(s) - last by barturtle.. on Sep 30 at 7:39 AM

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.



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By retrospooty on 9/23/2013 12:30:56 PM , Rating: 2
"You do realise that those Samsung phones you love so much would be much more expensive than the Surface 2 (non-pro) without carrier subsidies, right? And the Pro blows away the MacBook Air for less."

You are correct... And yet, no-one is buying Surfaces in any significant #'s. MS needs to concentrate on why that is.


By inighthawki on 9/23/2013 12:42:39 PM , Rating: 2
Because you cannot buy a Surface 2 with a phone contract?


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By troysavary on 9/23/2013 1:00:14 PM , Rating: 3
The iPhone and Galaxy would not sell in nearly the number they do if people had to pay the 6-700 dollar MSRP.


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By retrospooty on 9/23/2013 1:06:28 PM , Rating: 2
What is your point? Carrier subsidies exist in the same manor for any phone. Surface doesn't compete with those products, it competes with iPad, Kindle, Nexus tablets etc... And regardless of how good they are, no-one wants them, at least not in any significant #'s.


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By troysavary on 9/23/2013 2:17:42 PM , Rating: 2
The Kindle and Nexus are not in the same category pricewise as either the iPad or Surface for obvious reasons. They are just as much subsidized as phone are, just by different companies for different reasons.


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By danbob999 on 9/23/2013 3:18:38 PM , Rating: 3
If Google can "subsidize" (ie selling with low profit margin) the Nexus, Microsoft can subsidize the Surface too.


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By troysavary on 9/23/2013 4:53:35 PM , Rating: 2
MS would get bashed for competing with OEMs if they did that. They might even have another round of anti-trust fines from the money-grubbing EU. For some reason, no one holds Google to the same standards.


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By nafhan on 9/23/2013 4:58:46 PM , Rating: 2
That might be a reason it's overpriced. It's still overpriced from a consumer perspective.


By troysavary on 9/23/2013 5:02:51 PM , Rating: 2
It only seems overpriced because people got used to loss leaders and subsidies in their mobile pricing.


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By BZDTemp on 9/23/2013 5:59:49 PM , Rating: 1
The EU is not "money grubbing". The EU acting on behalf of consumers and competitors enforcing laws that are there to ensure fair and open competition. You should be glad the EU is doing that rather than letting big companies getting away with all their dirty tricks.

And as for the money try and learn a little about what the EU is and you may realize the fines put out against big companies are of no consequence to the EU finances. The EU represents over half a billion people and it is the worlds biggest economy.


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By Reclaimer77 on 9/23/2013 6:04:12 PM , Rating: 4
Oh please, what are you shoveling pal?

quote:
You should be glad the EU is doing that rather than letting big companies getting away with all their dirty tricks.


And the EU should be glad those "dirty" companies exist, or else they might have to develop their own technologies and products.

Seriously the EU is a goddamn black hole. Everything is sucked in, and nothing comes out.


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By Paj on 9/24/2013 8:05:58 AM , Rating: 1
The EU is far from perfect, but it does do many beneficial, important things, particularly where consumer protection is concerned.

quote:
And the EU should be glad those "dirty" companies exist, or else they might have to develop their own technologies and products.


It's pretty clear from this that you could benefit from doing a bit more research into what the EU actually is. It's a public entity, not private.


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By Reclaimer77 on 9/24/2013 2:49:33 PM , Rating: 2
I'm aware of that, it wasn't my point.

Maybe you haven't noticed, but pretty much every ubiquitous technologies and products we use come from North America or Asia. Coincidence?

The EU might want to examine the impact their "consumer protections" are having on their markets. Especially when it comes to technologies and products. They are crushing innovation. Rampant Socialism isn't helping either.

Instead of fining the Google's and Microsoft's of the world, they should ask themselves "where are OUR Google's and Microsoft's??"


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By BZDTemp on 9/24/2013 4:38:32 PM , Rating: 1
What a wonderful simplistic view you have of the world.

For sure a lot of great things are going on in the US but thinking that the rest of the world has nothing to offer is rather narrow minded.

Just take the way that socialism is a dirty word in the US which is really rather sad. You really should open you eye to the world and if you do you'll may find that the "socialism" found in the EU is preferable to a society where the middle class is struggling and the top 1% is grabbing everything for them self.


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By Reclaimer77 on 9/24/2013 8:29:13 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
but thinking that the rest of the world has nothing to offer is rather narrow minded.


Did I say that?

Look I know you don't want to swallow your pride and admit that pretty much everything awesome, practical, revolutionary and "game-changing" that we have, we owe to the West and Asia..but them's the facts!!

You wouldn't even be on your computer, talking to someone on the Internet, if it wasn't for America! I know you absolutely hate when you're reminded of that too, it tears you up inside. You can't stand the truth.

quote:
Just take the way that socialism is a dirty word in the US which is really rather sad.


Socialism has failed EVERYWHERE it's been tried aside from a few isolated examples. Hello? Most of Europe is currently in crisis. During the 20'th century socialism in Europe collapsed entirely over and over, only to be later reformed and re-purposed.

Why do you even have a "European Union" today? And even that has failed due to Euro-Socialism. Emergency funds are a temporary fix.

Your saving grace and economic powerhouse, Germany, owes it's success not to socialism, but purely CAPITALIST policies. Funny how you extol the virtues of socialism, while crawling hat-in-hand to your Bavarian capitalist betters for a bailout!

The fact that you equate socialism with the betterment of the population as a whole proves you're either a teenager, or someone who hasn't done the most basic of research.

Do you think Capitalism is the reason America's middle class is struggling? You must be joking! We've been plunging headlong into Socialism for over a decade now, and guess what, things are -predictably- getting worse!!


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By Cixelsid on 9/26/2013 12:33:12 PM , Rating: 2
Uhm... Germany is semi-capitalist. By America's standards, Germany is a socialist country. State mandated medial aid, state pension fund contributions, solidarity tax (for rebuilding East Germany), state mandated unemployment insurance. My wife gets a year's salary from the state while we take care of our firstborn. As for tech contributions from Europe, just off the top of my head, Nokia, Airbus, Tele Atlas and not forgetting the whole automotive industry in Germany which has properly destroyed any semblance of auto manufacturing that exists in America. But then again, what do I know, I'm just an German software engineer.


By Cixelsid on 9/26/2013 12:49:35 PM , Rating: 2
BTW France is a socialist country and the Netherlands is a monarchy with a very socialist government. Economic powerhouses that make do with a tenth of the labor and landmass that America has. Germany is the third strongest economy in the world, with only 80 million people and less than a third the landmass of the US. Capitalism did not bring us here, the hard work and rebuilding efforts of our fathers and grandfathers did.

In the end it was greed and an unregulated investment market that caused the 2008 financial crisis. It was austerity and the social safety nets put in place by the socialist state that saved Germany.


By retrospooty on 9/23/2013 4:30:45 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, I am not seeing your point.

I was saying above that he was comparing "direct sale tablets" to "carrier contract sold phones". The phones have subsidies and tablets don't. Not a valid comparison. You have to compare tablets to other tablets.


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By Reclaimer77 on 9/23/2013 1:09:42 PM , Rating: 3
Talk about going off on a useless tangent. You and inighthawk go off the deep end constantly and it's annoying.

Why even bring up Samsung phones or smartphones in general here? It's a completely insane comparison!

Nobody else sells tablets or PC's using the carrier model, and they seem to do just fine. So why even bring that up here with the Microsoft Surface as some kind of bizarre defense?

You guys need to flush out your goddamn head gear and make some sense once in a while.


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By inighthawki on 9/23/2013 1:35:13 PM , Rating: 1
Says the guy who brought up PC computing efficiency and price comparisons to a innocent remark about how I wished the next gen consoles had better hardware, and then brings me up into an this conversation. Yeah *I'm* the one going off on tangents.


By Reclaimer77 on 9/23/2013 1:48:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Says the guy who brought up PC computing efficiency and price comparisons to a innocent remark about how I wished the next gen consoles had better hardware


Except you didn't say that. You said the consoles had "awful" hardware, and you brought up the video card in your PC as an example of presumably "non awful" hardware.

Nowhere did you come out and say "I wish the next gen consoles had better hardware", or even elude to that.

Anyway who cares? This is a totally different discussion.


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By troysavary on 9/23/2013 2:16:04 PM , Rating: 2
It is relevant. You cannot price tablets as cheaply as the Kindle and Nexus tablets because both of those are sold either at cost or at a loss to lock people into an ecosystem, either for advertising or a content store. MS has no interest in selling a loss leader tablet. Even if they wanted to, people would be screaming at them for undercutting the OEMs.

I am trying to drive home the point that the hardware in higher end ARM tablets is at least as costly to manufacture as the higher end phones, yet you expect them to be sold at half the price? I am making perfect sense, not my fault you are too stupid to see that.

To state it another way, since you can't grasp simple concepts. You think a $400 tablet is expensive, but think a $650 phone isn't?

No one else besides Apple, Samsung and Amazon are even a factor in the tablet market, so I am not sure where you get that "everyone else" does fine. Most tablet makers have been losing money in the tablet market, or are selling barely any. It is not just MS struggling. Or they are cheap garbage on Android 2.2 selling for 50 bucks.


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By Bubbacub on 9/23/2013 4:23:20 PM , Rating: 2
but there are no win rt OEM's left - they could (and should) sell the ARM version of surface at nexus levels of pricing.

after a couple of years of market share building they could then increase the price


By troysavary on 9/23/2013 4:59:29 PM , Rating: 2
The Nexus has far less hardware cost, as in a smaller screen, less RAM, smaller amount of Flash, no memory card slots. While I personally don't have any interest in RT devices, and think they should have just used WinPhone as their tablet OS, I think the argument that they need to match Nexus prices absurd.


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By retrospooty on 9/23/2013 4:33:50 PM , Rating: 2
"You cannot price tablets as cheaply as the Kindle and Nexus tablets because both of those are sold either at cost or at a loss to lock people into an ecosystem, either for advertising or a content store. MS has no interest in selling a loss leader tablet"

Are you completely incapable of seeing logic? Reclaimer is right, WTF. Do you think MS doesn't benefit from people using Windows? They make money from MS office, Exchange CAL's server CAL's, other apps and many other ways. Google is just selling better products that people actually want to buy. That is it and that is all.


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By troysavary on 9/23/2013 4:56:19 PM , Rating: 1
Fuck, you two are stupid. If MS used predatory pricing to sell their tablets, the EU would be all over them. I'm done with this conversation. You guys are so far up Google's ass it is pointless speaking to you. Carry on with your two man circle jerk.


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By retrospooty on 9/23/2013 5:06:22 PM , Rating: 2
Whatever man... All I am saying is that people arent interested in buying MS's tablets. You want to blame it all over the place except on MS.

Good luck with that logic.


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By Luticus on 9/24/2013 1:19:13 PM , Rating: 2
I'll take a surface 2 pro any day! Performance of a gaming PC in a tablet format at a decent price, plus amazing battery life as compared to any other full featured tablet...

Now if we're talking a surface 2 (RT) I agree, I'm not ever going to buy one for the same reason I'm not touching android or IOS tablets. I want a PC in the tablet form factor, NOT an up-scaled cell phone.


By invidious on 9/24/2013 4:18:40 PM , Rating: 2
+6

Most of the arguing in this thread is due to people not distinguishing which version of the surface 2 they are talking about. Everyone who is advocating the sufrace 2 is ambiguously talking about the pro version and assuming that everyone realizes such. It is pretty obvious to me but clearly not to everyone.

Comparing Surface 2 PRO to the iPad in terms of price is just wrong. There is no Apple product that competes with the Surface 2 Pro so there is no point in drawing comparisons to Apple. But if you really must, you should be comparing it to a macbook or macbook air.

In absolute terms the Surface 2 Pro is a really cool machine. I would love to have one. But lets wait for some 3rd party reviews and benchmarks before we all light our hair on fire and run around screaming like lunatics.


By Ammohunt on 9/23/2013 2:35:46 PM , Rating: 2
Becasue pople want a tablet with a lightweight tablet OS and not a keyboardless(keyboard is $130) laptop with full blown Windows? Put some semblance of windows 8 phone on a tablet and watch the interest level rise. I predict the Nokia Phablet will sell well.


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By augiem on 9/23/2013 4:08:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You are correct... And yet, no-one is buying Surfaces in any significant #'s. MS needs to concentrate on why that is.


You guys fail to bring up the fact that the Surface RT was completely underpowered and underspec'd for the price they launched it at. Hell, it's underpowered and underspec'd even at the new clearance price... A new Nexus 7 gives you a higher res screen and faster CPU/GPU than a current RT for more than $100 less.

Microsoft seems to be FINALLY getting it. The new RT is actually competitive with a Tegra 4 and a 1080 screen and is still priced $50 lower than an iPad. I'm really pleasantly surprised to see they've finally taken the blinders off. Now I have a tiny bit of hope that they'll do the same with their Windows phones at some point and we can get the real competition off the ground at long last.

MS's problem in the last gen wasn't that they charged too much. It was the fact that the value per $ was horrible. Things are looking up.


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By retrospooty on 9/23/2013 4:17:25 PM , Rating: 2
". A new Nexus 7 gives you a higher res screen and faster CPU/GPU than a current RT for more than $100 less."

You are right there...

"Microsoft seems to be FINALLY getting it. The new RT is actually competitive with a Tegra 4 and a 1080 screen and is still priced $50 lower than an iPad."

See what you said above. For $200 less, the Nexus 7 gives you a better screen. The Tegra 4 does outpace the SDpro in the NExus 7, but not the SD800. Tegra 4 runs hot, and isnt as fast as the latest Qualcom chips. Still prices way too high.

The other part is specs aside, people just don't seem to want it.


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By troysavary on 9/23/2013 5:05:17 PM , Rating: 2
To be 200 less, you need to get the 8 GB Nexus. Garbage.


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By retrospooty on 9/23/2013 5:16:25 PM , Rating: 2
Really? Your math is as bad as the points you are trying to make...

"Surface 2 will start at $449 for the 32GB model"

My Nexus 7(2013)32mb was $249 although full MSRP is $269... So $180 cheaper. But again, the main thing is people actually want it.


By Mint on 9/24/2013 8:57:05 AM , Rating: 2
This is a 10.6" tablet, not a 7/8". It's competing with the regular iPad, Nexus 10, Galaxy Tab 10.1, etc. None of those are $200 less than the Surface 2.

There are rumors of a Surface Mini, but I doubt MS cares about that market because there's no money to be made there.


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By augiem on 9/23/2013 6:26:36 PM , Rating: 2
Granted, it's not Nexus 7 competitive, but at least its iPad competitive this time around. Then again, nothing is Nexus 7 competitive, really.

It is likely more expensive to produce than the Nexus 7, is bigger (whether that is good or bad is debatable), has a faster cpu/gpu, so it's probably one rung up in class vs Nexus 7. In fact, it's much more in line with the Nexus 10 which is still $499 for a 32gb from Google. Yes, bang for the buck, Nexus 7 wins hands down. But Surface 2 it definitely not nearly the dog of a deal the last RT was.


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By EnzoFX on 9/24/2013 2:34:20 PM , Rating: 2
Except a N10 can be had for $350. Over $400 and there's no point at all in switching to this new RT.


By augiem on 9/24/2013 3:10:13 PM , Rating: 2
Good to know the N10 is available that cheaply. But N10 is slow with underpowered GPU for its screen res. The SoC and the SD card slot are two big reasons I'd prefer RT2 over N10 even at $90 more. Now apps, that's another story...


By TheJian on 9/23/2013 11:07:59 PM , Rating: 2
Tegra 4 is running in a xiaomi phone coming shortly (Hugo Barra from Google now works there...hmmm). Not sure what you mean by saying they are hot. That would not be possible at 1.8ghz in a phone correct?...LOL. Shield is comfortable in your hands for hours at 1.9ghz and other than toshiba's build quality on their write device, I see no issues at Asus, HP etc. I've seen mi3 score 29000+, which is reasonable considering shield scores 41K in Antutu and the ref tablet 1.9ghz scored 36k (just above S800 scores I've seen). They have another month to optimize also.

Also it is FASTER than S800 in CPU, you can debate the gpu depending on the job being done (can't wait to see them head to head in actual games). But the CPU side is owned by A15's.

Links showing S800 scores better than T4 in cpu. Since xiaomi mi3 is coming with BOTH chips T4 and S800 shortly this will be put to rest soon. I don't see any qualcomm optimized games or a website like tegrazone dedicated to gaming either. So you can glbench etc all you want, but I'll take the chip that is made by a company dedicated to gaming for 20yrs and showing they're planning to do the same to mobile. The number of optimized games specifically with tegra features is growing. Check out the tegrazone site. With kepler mobile coming Q1 they will finally have desktop optimizations floating directly to their socs (game devs know the hardware inside out already for over 2yrs). That will continue for ages. Good luck to QCom now that everyone has modems coming. Modems made them special. Next year GAMES will make you special, and without them you'll start to lose no matter who you are. The same happened to rimm etc. They had Enterprise email which made them special, then everyone got Exchange. Suddenly you're not special and tanking.

Not quite sure why Apple hasn't figured this out and announced a 5Bil gaming plan (like 200x5mil AAA games just for IOS per year for 5yrs...LOL). Torchlights were made for 2mil or so, and games like Witcher 1 & 2 were 7mil each. You could easily avg 5mil or so and pump out 1000 awesome games for IOS (remember apple can spend 5B over 5yrs and just laugh about it even as a total loss which it obviously wouldn't be). I hope NV or google announces something like this soon also (1B or whatever dedicated to android games output to your TV etc for gamepad use). Any of these guys (heck qcom also) can take out consoles by announcing these intentions thus drawing even MORE devs away from planning anything for next gen consoles. They are already running if you look at 2800 devs from GDC 2013 USA/EU.

It's going to happen anyway, but you might as well RUN to consoles deaths full bore ;) If you can keep them from selling 10mil each the first year they're screwed. Apple, Amazon, Google etc all have boxes coming to compete with consoles (all 3 rumored to be higher end) so not sure why there hasn't been a huge game announcement yet to slow up console excitement. Maybe they'll announce all that in Nov a day before Xbox1/ps4 launches...LOL.


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By augiem on 9/23/2013 6:38:54 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
$50 lower than an iPad


Oops, didn't even realize. 16GB ipad is $499, 32 is $599. 32GB Surface 2 is $449. So $150 less than equivalent iPad. Hmm, not too shabby.


RE: Microsoft you cannot charge premium prices!
By mellomonk on 9/24/2013 12:07:29 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Oops, didn't even realize. 16GB ipad is $499, 32 is $599. 32GB Surface 2 is $449. So $150 less than equivalent iPad. Hmm, not too shabby.


Actually, it is not quite that easy of a comparison. The Win R/T install is north of 10Gb! That is why they do not make a 16Gb version, there wouldn't be much usable space. A 16Gb iPad formats out to around 14 Gb usable after the OS. A 32Gb Surface has roughly 20Gb usable after it's Win RT and default Office install.


By augiem on 9/24/2013 3:13:19 PM , Rating: 2
Valid point. That's why its good they included an SD card slot. Pop a 64GB card in there for $60 and you've got a 80GB+ tablet after the OS for just over $500.


"We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs














botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki