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Microsoft unveils new Surface tablets

Company hopes new models will attract bigger audience in tablet market this time around

Microsoft hasn't exactly lit the tablet world on fire with its Surface tablets. That hasn't discouraged the company, however. Today, Microsoft announced tweaks to its line of Surface hardware, unveiling the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2. The new models (and new accessories) will launch in 22 markets (including the US and UK) on October 22. It'll also hit China in November. Pre-orders start September 24 at Microsoft's online store, its retail stores, and retailers like Best Buy.

The Surface Pro 2 is dubbed "a true laptop replacement" and can run most Windows software in addition to apps from the Windows Store. It comes packed with a fourth-generation Intel Core i5 processor "which, combined with other improvements, delivers increased performance and up to 60 percent longer battery life than Surface Pro." Prices for the Surface Pro 2 start at $899. It can be purchased in 64GB and 128GB configurations with 4 GB of RAM and 256GB and 512GB configurations with 8 GB of RAM.

The Surface 2 is the more affordable option, starting at $449, and is powered by an Nvidia Tegra 4 processor, and has better battery life (up to 10 hours for video playback) than the previous generation Surface. The 10.6-inch ClearType Full HD display offers 1080p video, and the tablet has been upgraded to USB 3.0 for faster file transfers. Additionally, the camera resolution has been increased, with a 3.5-megapixel front camera and 5-megapixel rear camera. It all runs on Windows RT 8.1, and comes in an overall thinner and lighter form factor. 32GB and 64GB configurations are available.

Microsoft has a ton of ground to make up in the tablets market. Total Surface sales were only $853 million, Microsoft noted in its last annual report. In stark contrast, Apple's iPad sales during a similar time period were $33.2 billion. Microsoft remains steadfast in its vision for the market, however. "We're right now focused 100 percent on building the best tablets for the world," Panos Panay, a Microsoft corporate vice president, said last week, according to The New York Times. "We haven't slowed down or lifted our heads a bit."

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Latest comments (9)

Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd3 years ago
Microsoft still can't admit the Surface RT is a useless device. They need to focus on making the Pro cheaper, and give up on the RT.
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I agree Nicholas. my next hardware purchase will likely be the Pro 2, but as you state, a better price point would make that easier. The RT, or just the surface as i think they want to call it, is pretty useless. The Pro 2 at 599, or even 699 is a no brainer, at 899, now your in with and competing with upper level laptops and even powerful desktops, and you get people balking at the price.

I have no idea how they could of focused group this and found 899+ as a good price point

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Todd Weidner on 23rd September 2013 10:00pm

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Adam Campbell Producer, Hopster3 years ago
Too bad the Nokia 2520 will probably cannibalise these, even with the the same restrictive OS...

I think Surface RT could be pretty good if it was virtually the same Windows 8, just utilising the ARM architecture. I don't see any reason for the heavy sand-boxing. That's fine for Windows Phone 8 but not so for a device you want to use a somewhat more versatile computing platform with.
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Show all comments (9)
If more apps moved to using Metro then it wouldn't be a useless device. The problem with focusing on the Pro is that they'll never be able to compete with iPad on price if they do and unless there's more RT devices then developers won't focus on that. They're caught between two stools.

What they should do is focus on getting all their Apps working seamlessly with the Metro interface on Windows RT. Not releasing the original Surface with a proper Office and Outlook was madness.
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Adam Campbell Producer, Hopster3 years ago
One more potential option that has been mooted is potentially merging Windows 8 RT and Windows Phone 8 in some capacity. If they did then perhaps there would be a more optimised and compatible experience there with an existing ecosystem.

Not sure how long Surface and (Microsoft) Lumia tablets can co-exist, so perhaps one brand can focus on the full Windows 8 experience and the other on the iOS competing Windows Phone 8, with devices scaling downwards to phablets then phones.
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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development3 years ago
They need to jack this in and concentrate on what they're good at. They will never steal hearts from Apple fans, or minds from Android fans.

Windows 9.

Like windows 7, but with a shop and hardware security at least as good as Apple's. A proper shop where you can buy call of duty, photoshop and office right from an icon on your useable desktop.

That's it really. World = pwned. Why they can't see this is quite beyond me.
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Tim Ogul Illustrator 3 years ago
I don't know, I just recently got a Surface Pro, and it's a nice little mini-laptop. It is a bit expensively priced though.
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Thomas Dolby Project Manager / Lead Programmer, Ai Solve3 years ago
They can add all the new features they like, but the one problem they don't seem to want to fix is the biggest, the price.

The Nexus 7 is so cheap some people can just buy it on an impulse. The Surface RT is pretty expensive compared to what you can get elsewhere, and the Surface Pro is at a price where people will be really cautious, and as a result it loses out because of the high competition in that area.
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Yiannis Koumoutzelis Founder & Creative Director, Neriad Games3 years ago
Surface 2 had a great update! Full HD awesome new screen and faster too!
Too bad they didn't go for Tegra 5.

Surface Pro 2 is a wonderful upgrade too! More of everything, and lighter.
Wonderful backlit super sensitive covers for both of them too! Sweet!

They both now are what they should have been in the first place. With software
being so easily ported between Mobile and Windows 8. That is very nice to have!

But Surface Pro 2 is way too expensive on the high end.
Despite what is offered, it is hard to justify that price for the size of the screen.

Discussing an LTE version that will come early 2014 though equals to
shooting themselves on the foot! So is the Nokia/Microsoft 2520 tablet!

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Yiannis Koumoutzelis on 26th September 2013 12:33am

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