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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 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.


"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner














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