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Microsoft shows off two new Surface tablets: Surface 2, Surface Pro 2

Sep 23, 20134 mins
Data and Information SecurityMicrosoftMicrosoft Surface

Today Microsoft unveiled new-and-improved Surface tablets. The Surface Pro 2 will *only* cost $899.

If you were holding off on purchasing a Surface tablet, waiting for prices to drop as sales were a flop, a $900 million writedown, then get ready to be shocked as Microsoft has a new-and-improved Surface that costs $900! Oh, and that doesn’t include “Office products and other desktop apps.”

Today in New York, Microsoft unveiled two “faster, more powerful,” and more expensive Surface 2 tablets. The Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 will ship with the improved Windows 8.1 on Oct. 22. Reuters reported:

The new Surface 2, which runs on a low-power chip designed by ARM Holdings Plc, starts at $449 for the 32 GB version, not including a snap-on keyboard starting at $120. That is slightly less than Apple’s latest wifi-only 32GB iPad, which costs $599.

The new Surface Pro 2, which runs on an Intel Corp chip and is aimed more at the lightweight laptop market, starts at $899 for the 64 GB version, not including keyboard. Apple’s cheapest 128 GB MacBook Air costs $999.

If you couldn’t sell the inventory that you had, would you ignore that folks don’t like the products? That seems to be what Microsoft is doing. “We’re right now focused 100 percent on building the best tablets for the world. We haven’t slowed down or lifted our heads a bit,” stated Microsoft corporate VP Panos Panay. “We’re launching two of the most productive tablets on the planet,” he added. “We really focused on making sure these are the most productive tablets people can buy.”

Panay described the battery life in the original Surface as “awful,” merely lasting three or four hours. “For the relaunch, we don’t want to reinvent the wheel. We really wanted it to be a subtle change.” For Surface Pro 2, the battery life has a 75% improvement, supposedly capable of running for seven to 10 hours. The Surface Pro 2 runs the full version of Windows 8.1, meaning it can run any older Windows programs as well as apps from the Windows Store.

The Surface 2 “is the replacement to the Surface RT tablet,” which means similar to its predecessor, it runs Windows RT — the stripped-down version of Windows that only runs new Windows apps from the Windows Store. However, unlike its precursor, the Surface 2 is everything you’d expect from a second generation product — it is thinner, lighter and faster.” It is powered by a quad-core Nvidia Tegra processor and has a higher-resolution 10.6 inch 1080p screen.

It remains to be seen if the Surface 2 tablet will be able to compete against Apple and Android tablets. Last week, Steve Balmer admitted, “If there’s one thing I regret, there was a period in the early 2000s when we were so focused on what we had to do around Windows that we weren’t able to redeploy talent to the new device form factor called the phone.”

But it seems as if Microsoft is simply repeating past mistakes, trying to force users to accept the touch-centric Windows 8. That would of course be great if people loved Surface. Without a touch-enabled device, Windows 8 kinda sucks.

At any rate, here’s a look at Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2.

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ms smith

Ms. Smith (not her real name) is a freelance writer and programmer with a special and somewhat personal interest in IT privacy and security issues. She focuses on the unique challenges of maintaining privacy and security, both for individuals and enterprises. She has worked as a journalist and has also penned many technical papers and guides covering various technologies. Smith is herself a self-described privacy and security freak.