Microsoft didn't exactly get off to a great start with the Surface RT and Surface Pro, but Redmond isn't ready to give up just yet. Microsoft just announced two brand new Surface models at an event in NYC this morning.
The company is ditching the 'RT' branding and instead just calling the next iteration of Surface RT 'Surface 2.' This laptop will run Windows RT 8.1, and boasts a 10.6-inch ClearType Full HD display and comes with support for microSD, USB 3.0, and HD video out. The tablet comes in two varaitions, 32 GB or 64 GB, and ships with Office 2013 RT and 200 GB of SkyDrive storage (for two years). It's priced at $449, the same money customers were asked for when the original Surface RT launched.
The brand new Surface Pro 2 packs a full version of Windows 8.1 Pro, a 10.6-inch ClearType Full HD display, support for microSD, USB 3.0, and mini DisplayPort. Both 64 GB and 128 GB capacities are available with 4 GB of RAM. The 256 and 512 GB capacities will each have 8 GB of RAM. The Surface Pro 2 will start at $899 and will include 200 GB of SkyDrive storage (again, for two years). Pre-orders for both the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 will start tomorrow, September 24, and availability in 21 markets is expected on October 22.
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It works for Apple. I guess since it has the name Windows in it, people have a different expectation.
Meh, Surface 2 price starting at $450 is still a bit underwhelming even with the higher res screen (something I personally consider totally superfluous, but a lot of people apparently go nuts over tiny screens with high resolution), multi angle kickstand, etc. The original Surface RT staying at $350 is all good and fine but with the public perception battle MS has, they really should have cut another $50 off each price point, or more. Also, I didn't see RAM listings for the Surface 2 and, frankly, I feel like the original Surface RT could use a bit more than 2gb of RAM. Also, Surface Pro 2 still costing $900 is, again, pricey. This pricing and these devices might have been compelling six months ago. Now, not so much.
They are doing some neat things with these devices - some of those cover types seem rather handy - but they're putting the cart before the horse to some degree. Adding all sorts of little niche doo-dads and generally progressive upgrades on a product that is only lukewarm popular isn't going to massively boost its popularity even if they are neat features. They need to get the basic product at a price/hardware point people are jumping to get at as a first priority and then add all the neat doo-dads they want after. I expect the Surface brand to grow with what they've done, but I don't think these are the moves they needed to make to really push this brand into the spotlight.
Lastly... I missed it, but I'm guessing that none of the covers come included with the Surface 2. If not, it really, really should, though I personally prefer a Bluetooth keyboard I can move around with my tablet.
Not at all surprised, but these announcements are neat, but underwhelming. Hope you're liking your small portion of the mobile world there MS, because I doubt what you've done here is going to get you out of it.
While I am not endorsing these products for their price/functionality combination, nor am I suggesting these features will make them market-busters, Windows 8/Windows RT tablets offer outright superior multitasking to either competitor along with actual Office support rather than a bunch of rinky-dink apps. These are NOT compelling reasons to buy the tablets for a lot of people but, for someone who actually wants them for a certain type of productivity (Word, Excel, powerpoint) they blow Android/iOS out of the water. I'm saying this as someone who spent the last two years notetaking and writing reports/papers on an Android device until I went Windows tablet.
I don't expect these units to make a huge dent at these price points. The unfortunate thing is, there are good reasons to buy a Windows tablet, but the Surface price points just aren't compelling. Some competing OEMs are much more so, though.
Actually, that's the Surface 2 Pro that offers a 512 GB SSD... But the thing is, the starting price for the 64GB model appears to be $900 - and I didn't even see the price for the 516 GB one mentioned.
I'm really not sold on this pricing scheme.