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Microsoft introduces new Surface tablets

Christina Medici Scolaro
Monday, 23 Sep 2013 | 2:34 PM ET
Microsoft's Surface tablet revealed: Tech Yeah!
Monday, 23 Sep 2013 | 12:00 PM ET
The Microsoft Surface release: Will Microsoft's new tablets really be competitive with Apple's iPads?

Microsoft unveiled two new tablets Monday, upgrading the original Surface released last October. The announcement includes a professional model (Surface Pro 2) that allows people to use it more like a laptop or a desktop computer and a cheaper version called the Surface 2.

The Surface Pro 2 will have a kickstand that has two positions and 60 percent more battery life. There's also a new cover that extends battery life even further.

The Surface 2, which replaces the Surface RT, is supposed to be lighter and four times faster than before. It comes with a 3.5 megapixel camera and a better screen.

Microsoft Surface 2 Pro
Source: Microsoft
Microsoft Surface 2 Pro

Jason Maynard, senior analyst at Wells Fargo, said a lack of applications was a problem with the first generation of the Surface. The Surface 2 has 100,000 apps. He's not impressed, "So far I can't see any big surprise."

Panos Panay, corporate vice president at Microsoft and chief of Surface, said the big theme of the Surface 2 is "productivity." At the unveiling event earlier Monday in New York, he said, "This is not a machine for babies, it is for workers who will work and enjoy dubstep at the same time." (Ouch iPad.)

Carolina Milanesi, a research vice president at Gartner, said this is a good improvement to Microsoft's first generation of products. Milanesi said it shows commitment from Microsoft as it addressed key needs from users such as speed and battery life.

"Microsoft needs to show where the next generation of PCs are going and I believe the Surface Pro does a good job," said Milanesi, "Price and marketing will be the biggest challenge for them."

The Surface Pro 2 costs $900 for the 64GB version, while the Surface 2 starts at $450 for the 32GB model.

Preorders start Tuesday. The new tablets will be available in 22 markets starting Oct. 22.

-By Christina Medici Scolaro

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