Less than a year from their original entry into the world of tablet computers, Microsoft is ready to upgrade the two tablets they’ve brought to the market – to mixed reviews, it must be admitted. Now, in response, the software giant is introducing their second generation of tablet devise, the Surface 2 and the Surface Pro 2, along with, so the rumors say, a brand new Surface Mini. These new devices are expected to be available before the end of October this year.
Surface 2 Tablet Specs
In this case, we’re afraid the word “specs” is more about speculation than specifications, but hey, rumors about new tech are always fun, right? So, here goes…
While the folks in Redmond are being characteristically coy about the details, the rumors about the new machines are flying fast and furiously; including the introduction of new Surface peripherals, which Microsoft has consistently denied they were going to offer. At the moment, Microsoft is planning a launching event in New York for Monday, September 23rd, with actual shipping of the machines expected within 30 days.
Fortunately for the rest of us, leaks about the new tablet line have begun to leak to media as freely as the pols in DC. As of right now, here is what we know – or expect – to see.
Introducing the Surface 2 Tablet
The next generation of the Surface RT, the “2” will continue to run a proprietary OS, Windows RT 8.1, with an ARM-based Tegra 4 processor, and up to 8 hours of battery life. Available in white for the first time, the “2” will also incorporate a full-sized USB 3.0 port, micro-SD expansion up to 64 GB, HD video-out port, includes Office Home & Student 2013 RT (with Outlook RT). Estimated price range will be $499 for 32 GB and $599 for 64 GB.
Introducing the Surface Pro 2 Tablet
While the Surface Pro was far more popular than the RT, with the introduction of Windows 8.1, it seems appropriate that the “Pro 2” also make its debut. First, the “Pro 2” will be a bit thinner and lighter, and will incorporate the new W8.1 OS, with full desktop capability, though it does NOT include Office. Employing a 4th generation Intel Core i5 processor, the Surface Pro 2 also offers choice of RAM and storage options, VaporMg casing, integrated two-position kickstand, ClearType Full HD display, front- and rear-facing 720p LifeCam cameras, digital Pro Pen, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi 802.11, full-sized USB 3.0 port, micro-SD expansion up to 64 GB, HD video-out port. Estimated price ranges are $899 for 64 GB, $999 for 128 GB, $1299 for 256 GB, and $1699 for a whopping 512 GB version.
Introducing the Surface Mini Tablet
Microsoft is being the most tight-lipped about the new Surface Mini they are expected to introduce this year. While details are very hard to come by, the best information available at the moment suggest the new machine will be available sometime this year, though not at the same time as the “2” or “Pro 2”; that it will be equipped with a Qualcomm ARM-based processor; will have an 8” screen; and will be run Windows RT 8.1, rather than the Windows 8.1 OS.
Introducing the Surface Tablet Docking Station
At the moment, this is what we think we know about the new Surface Docking Station: users will be able to connect to an external monitor, Ethernet, and USB devices, and will contain one USB 3.0 port and three USB 2.0 ports. And, for now, that’s about it.
Surface 2 Accessories – the New “Surface Power Cover”
One of the more exciting products expected to enhance the Surface experience this year is the new Surface Power Cover. Expected to be a slightly a thicker rendition of the all-in-one Surface keyboard/cover, the new Power Cover will include a built-in battery, designed to extend the battery life of both tablets to an as yet undisclosed amount.
So, there you have it; what we know, what we think we know, and what we hope we know about the new generation of tablets from Microsoft; the new Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2. Are we drooling yet? You bet we are!
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