Microsoft is hoping that the second time’s the charm with its Surface tablet. The company on Monday announced its new Surface 2, a Windows RT 8.1-based sequel to the Surface RT that will launch on October 22nd and will sell starting at $449 for the 16GB model.
As expected, the new Surface will feature a 10.6-inch 1080p full-HD display, a Tegra 4 processor, a USB 3.0 port, a 25% improvement in battery life and a redesigned kickstand that will provide better “lapability” for people who want to stand the devices up in their laps. Microsoft claims that the device will be three to four times faster than the first-generation Surface RT. The device will also ship with the full Microsoft Office suite — including Outlook — and will come with 200GB of free cloud storage on SkyDrive.
Microsoft also unveiled its new Touch Cover 2, a new version of its soft click-in keyboard that measures in at 2.5 millimeters thick and features a whopping 1,092 integrated sensors, a huge increase from the 80 integrated sensors featured in the first-generation Touch Cover. The new keyboard has a predictive typing feature that corrects common errors made on keyboards and also features gesture support.
The new Surface Pro 2 will feature an HD display similar to the original, but with improved color reproduction. Dolby sound has also been added to the new Pro. According to Microsoft, the original Surface Pro was faster than 94% of the laptops on the market, but the Pro 2 will be 20% faster than the Pro — “lightning fast.” Graphic performance is also up 50% from its predecessor.
The new kickstand design will allow for multiple viewing angles, something that was an issue with the original Pro’s kickstand. Speaking of improvements, Microsoft says that the battery life will be up to 75% longer than the first Pro. The Power Cover keyboard accessory announced at the event will also double the battery life of the Pro 2. With a Power Cover, the Surface Pro 2 will have 2.5 times the battery life of the original Surface Pro.
Microsoft also announced the Surface Docking Station for the Surface Pro 2. The Docking Station features 4 USB ports, Mini DisplayPort, Ethernet port, audio in and audio out. It can also support up to 3840 x 2160 resolution external displays. Continuing with accessories, Microsoft showed off the new Type Cover 2 and a multitude of available colors. Type Cover 2 will be exactly 1 millimeter thinner than the previous Type Cover, and is also backlit and completely silent. The Type Cover 2 will be released next year. Both the Surface Pro 2 and the Surface 2 will come bundled with “Best of Skype,” which allows for free international calling and free Skype Wi-Fi hotspot access for a year.
There will be four configurations for the Surface Pro 2: 64GB or 128GB of storage with 4GB of RAM, and 256GB or 512GB of storage with 8GB of RAM. Preorders for the new Surface tablets will start at 8AM on Tuesday, September 23rd. The Surface Pro 2 will be available on October 22nd starting at $899.
Preorders for both the Surface 2 and the Surface Pro 2 will start on Tuesday at 8AM ET.
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