Microsoft Gives Tablets Another Try, Announces $449 Surface 2 and $899 Surface Pro 2
September 23, 2013 10:27 AM
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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
. 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
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.
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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Innovate or die as they say
9/23/2013 12:53:07 PM
Having lost marketshare leadership in the smartphone and tablet computer markets despite having early products, Microsoft is now trying to leapfrog its competitors with this new category of hybrid tablet/laptop device. I won't pretend to know the answer, but my two cents is that many end users seem happy with having a reduced functionality (albeit more portable) device that relies more on cloud services than a full-function device (less portable) that can do everything with or without the cloud.
Hats off to Microsoft for trying. They've got an uphill battle to fight.
By the way, those initial Surface commercials with the dancers were cool, maybe even exciting.. reminded me a bit of the initial ipod commercials with the silhouette dancers. But those Surface commercials did little to educate me on what the device was about.. I mean am I suppose to get up and dance or get some work done on Surface? :)
"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997
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