The Surface Pro 2, seen here as a tablet and laptop, is slimmer and faster than its predecessor.© Microsoft.com
WASHINGTON, September 23 (by Karin Zeitvogel for RIA Novosti) – Microsoft on Monday unveiled the new members of its family of Surface tablets as it tries to move past a year of dismal tablet sales and make a dent in a market dominated by Apple’s iPad and Google’s Android products.
At an event in New York, Microsoft unveiled the Surface Pro 2, featuring better graphics performance and battery life up to 60 percent longer than the previous Surface Pro, and the Surface 2, which is slimmer and faster than its predecessor.
The Surface Pro 2 is a true laptop replacement that can run virtually all Windows software, including the full Microsoft Office suite, Microsoft vice president Panos Panay said at the launch.
Color accuracy on the display screen has been improved by 50 percent, which is “super important if you’re a pro, using high-resolution photos or editing movies,” Panay said.
Dolby has been added to the speakers, making for sounds that are “supremely elegant,” and battery life on the Surface Pro 2 is up to 75 percent better than on its predecessor, the Surface Pro, Panay said.
The new tablet is faster than 95 percent of all laptops in the market today, Panay added, describing the Pro 2 as “lightning fast” and the “most powerful professional-use tablet” on the market.
The Surface 2, meanwhile, is designed for personal use and features the same 10.6-inch (27-centimeter), full HD, 1080p screen as the pricier Pro 2; runs three to four times faster; and has a battery life that is 25 percent longer than the first Surface.
The USB port on the Surface 2 has been upgraded to make file transfers up to four times faster, and camera resolution has been increased, Panay said.
“Nothing slows it down,” he said – not even running several apps at a time and switching between users.
Microsoft has also increased the number of apps that are available in its Windows app store from 10,000 last year to 100,000 this year – still a far cry from the hundreds of thousands on offer in Apple’s App Store, however.
Users can open an Xbox game with the swipe of a finger, listen to music via the Xbox music app, and anyone who buys a new Surface 2 will receive free Skype international calling services for a year.
Finally, the Surface 2 is “thinner and lighter than its predecessor,” Microsoft said in a statement.
The revamp of the Surface is Microsoft’s attempt to put the dismal performance of its tablet brand behind it.
Sales of the first Surface models, launched around a year ago, generated $853 million, which is $45 million less than Microsoft paid out in advertising for the Surface and Windows 8 operating system, according to the tech website CNET.
Microsoft also had to pay $900 million in inventory adjustments on the first Surfaces because they were not selling anywhere near as well as expected, CNET added.
According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), a technology market intelligence firm, only 4.5 percent of all tablet shipments through the second quarter of this year were Windows devices, compared to 62.6 percent that use the Android operating system and 32.5 percent that use Apple’s iOS system.
But “Microsoft-fueled products are starting to make notable progress into the market,” IDC added, noting that the company only launched the Surface last year.
The new Surfaces will go on sale in the United States and 20 other countries on Oct. 22, and in China in early November. More markets will be announced in the coming months, Microsoft said.
In the United States, prices for the Surface 2 will start at $449, while the the Surface Pro 2 will start at $899.
Add to blog
You may place this material on your blog by copying the link.
Image Galleries: Siberian Air Base Gets New Su-30SM Fighter Jets
Infographics: First Russian Smartphone
New ties between Russia and Japan would mark not only a breakthrough in their relations but also a significant shift in Northeast Asia’s political dynamic. Both are secondary players in a region overshadowed by an increasingly assertive China, which has not hesitated to push against the boundaries of its neighbors.