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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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Surface 2 - more confusion
By fishman on 9/23/2013 12:43:06 PM , Rating: 3
Back when it was called Surface-RT, it was confusing for some of the general public that it couldn't run regular windows programs - but the Surface could. Now the Surface 2 can't run the regular windows programs. I see even more confusion ahead by the general public. (Of course, we forum readers understand so there is no problem for us)

RE: Surface 2 - more confusion
By StanO360 on 9/23/2013 3:13:33 PM , Rating: 5
I just don't think that was the case. I would even bet that MS would be glad to hear that that many people were even thinking about the RT to be confused!

That's been the problem, customers just don't even know it exists. To draw their attention you need something to make them look at a product that is not the default (Apple in this case) hugely different included product or pricing.

The RT is a nice product, but the need to explain to people why it's valuable to them. Usually this means a better product at a lower price. Which it is, but it's a different product, but better for some and worse for others.

RE: Surface 2 - more confusion
By w8gaming on 9/23/2013 9:33:35 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think customer not knowing RT exist is an issue. Why? Because everywhere the Surface Pro is being sold, RT will be sitting there side by side advertising a much cheaper price. Dropping RT from the name obviously is the marketing department attempt to remove the bad reputation surrounding the moniker RT now. However, this might not be a very wise choice. As MS obviously does not believe in a price wars strategy for Windows 8, the next best thing MS should do is to closely monitor the unit sales and cut production at the first hint of trouble to avoid having too much excess inventory. Hey, if you want to buy a "device" company, you need to learn some inventory control. Hardware is not like software, hardware depreciates in value the longer it sits on the shelf.

"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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