Microsoft announced its two new tablets today, the Surface 2 and the Surface Pro 2. It's long and detailed, so I'm not going to dive into that, but just give a simple, hopefully easy overview. This includes some very interesting additions that are not from Microsoft.
As for Microsoft, though, its Surface 2 runs the RT version of Windows, which is software that's more like an iPad using apps, though there is an Office app which is significant. It's thinner, lighter and has a bit more battery life, The price has dropped to $449, though the two click-on keyboard covers (both thinner now) are extra.
The Surface Pro 2 runs pure Windows, which is sort of 2-in-1 software. It runs the same desktop Windows you have and are used to, combined with the RT version that runs apps. Most notably, the Pro 2 uses the new Haswell chip and has twice the battery life (now about 7-8 hours), which is major, since it eliminates the biggest complaint about the tablet in its first incarnation. The design hasn't changed much, and neither has the price, at $899. That price is a little deceptive, because it's for the base model that has small (64 GB) capacity. That's semi-okay if you don't plan to use it as a laptop replacement, but more an on-the-go tablet. For anything else, though, the next step up to 128 GB will cost $100 more, plus another $100 or so for a keyboard cover.
However there are a few things down the line that make all this even more intriguing.
One is a dock for the Surface Pro 2, which will be a leap for making the tablet adaptable as a true desktop replacement.
The second is a higher-end keyboard cover. Still very thin, but thicker for truer, richer typing. And an included battery that will extend battery-life more.
But even more interesting are all the rumored tablets upcoming from other companies. To be clear, the rumor isn't whether they'll be released to market, but when and what they exact specs will be. They are expected to run Intel's new "Bay Trail" chip. This isn't as powerful as the aforementioned Haswell chip -- however, it will run full Windows (not just the RT app version) and it is much lower cost. And all due out, presumably, this fall.
Here is an article by Microsoft expert Paul Thurott, whose excellent Windows SuperSite I've referenced before. He goes into great detail and specifics about all the rumored models. These include an 8" model (the Miix 8) from Lenovo that might sell for a mere $249. A Toshiba 8" model (the Encore) could sell for $329. And Dell's 10" tablet (code-named Midland) is for $399. Plus similar Windows tablets from Nokia, ASUS, Acer, and even a mini-Surface from Microsoft (though it only will run Windows RT).
Again, most of these will be full-featured tablets that run full Windows 8.1 (a much-improved upgrade, from those I've spoken to who've used it), albeit on a lower power "Bay Trail" chip. Check out what he has to say about it all that's upcoming.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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