Today, in an event, Microsoft unveiled the second generation of its tablets running the company operating system Windows 8.1.The Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2, the successors of Surface RT and Surface Pro. In addition, the software giant offers an expanded portfolio of new Surface accessories.
While Microsoft keeps the form factor virtually unchanged, the innards of both tablets from significant updates, including improvements to processing power and battery life, to display and camera resolution, and to the Kickstand, now with dual angles. The new devices benefit enhancements in Windows RT 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Pro to make them even more powerful and customizable.
The ARM based tablet is using Windows RT 8.1 and apps written specifically to this platform, gets the new NVIDIA Tegra 4 processor, which helps to prolong the battery life to 10 hours. The 10.6-inch ClearType Full HD display now renders 1080p video. Camera resolution has also increased, with a 3.5-megapixel front camera and 5-megapixel rear camera, both capable of capturing 1080p video and featuring improved low-light performance. USB 3.0 port is available. Surface 2 is pre-loaded with Office Home & Student 2013 RT and Outlook 2013 RT. Surface 2 is available in 32GB and 64GB configurations; it will start at $449
Surface Pro 2
Thanks to the fourth-generation Intel Core i5 processor , the Surface Pro 2 delivers increased performance and up to 75 percent longer battery life than Surface Pro. Starting at $899, Surface Pro 2 will be offered in 64GB and 128GB configurations with 4 GB of RAM and 256GB and 512GB configurations with 8 GB of RAM.
Today’s announcement also includes seven new accessories that will make Surface even more flexible, more portable and more productive:
- Touch Cover 2. Thinner and lighter than the original Touch Cover, measuring only 2.75 mm thin, Touch Cover 2 features backlit keys for even better readability. Touch Cover 2 is more rigid, registers keystrokes with greater accuracy and features updated sensors that support a variety of gestures across the entire keyboard. Touch Cover 2 has an estimated retail price of $119.99. It will be available for pre-order on Sept. 24 in all markets where Surface devices are available for pre-order.
- Type Cover 2. Type Cover 2 features the same super-thin, lightweight design of the original Type Cover, but it’s now backlit and will be available in Cyan, Magenta, Purple and Black in the coming months. It’s also more rigid, providing a better lap-typing experience, and is designed to be noticeably quieter when striking keys. Type Cover 2 will have an estimated retail price of $129.99. It will be available for pre-order on Sept. 24 in all markets where Surface devices are available for pre-order.
- Power Cover. Power Cover delivers the same great typing experience you get with Type Cover while extending the battery life of your Surface 2, Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 by up to 50 percent to help you make it through that late-night meeting or the entire flight. Power Cover will have an estimated retail price of $199.99 and has a projected release date of early 2014.
- Docking Station for Surface Pro. The Docking Station for Surface Pro lets you quickly connect Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 to desktop PC peripherals in a single step, taking you from laptop to desktop in an instant. While Surface Pro or Surface Pro 2 is docked, it can connect with an external monitor, Ethernet, speakers and power supply. PC peripherals connect via its one USB 3.0 port and three USB 2.0 ports. The Docking Station for Surface Pro will have an estimated retail price of $199.99 and has a projected release date of early 2014.
- Wireless Adapter for Typing Covers. The Wireless Adapter for Typing Covers connects magnetically to any Touch or Type Cover, letting you type from anywhere in the room using Bluetooth technology, so it is even easier to connect Surface to a TV or monitor and type from another location, such as the couch. Wireless Adapter for Typing Covers will have an estimated retail price of $59.99. It will be available for pre-order in the U.S. and Canada beginning Sept. 24.
- Car Charger with USB. Car Charger plugs into most cars’ power or lighter ports and charges Surface without the need for an additional adapter. It also features a USB port to allow simultaneous charging of a phone or other device. Car Charger will have an estimated retail price of $49.99 and has a projected release date of early 2014.
- Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition. This special-edition Arc Touch Mouse has been updated to match the look of Surface. Like other Arc Touch mice, it is designed for comfort and flattens for portability. It connects via Bluetooth 3.0, freeing Surface’s USB port for use by other devices. Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition will have an estimated retail price of $69.99 and will be available for pre-order in the U.S. and Canada on Sept. 24. Distribution in additional markets is projected to begin in the coming months.
To push the sale, Microsoft offers to customers purchasing either device will receive free Skype calling to landlines in more than 60 countries for one year, unlimited Skype WiFi on their Surface 2 or Surface Pro 2 at more than 2 million hot spots worldwide for one year, and 200 GB of free SkyDrive storage for two years.