Chelsea (not the football team you know), New York is the confirmed venue for the unveiling of Microsoft’s latest attempt at the tablet market. It is where the second generation of Microsoft’s Surface tablet, the Surface 2, will be announced on 23rd September.
The Surface tablets have been around for the last one year or so and haven’t gained as much market share as Microsoft would have wanted. Some of that has been due to the general lack of impression on the side of the operating system, Windows RT on the Surface RT tablet and the high cost (the impressive Surface Pro running Windows 8 Pro cost a fortune).
It is only an invite that has been sent to media houses and tech bloggers but speculation is rife that it won’t be just another event inspired by talk show hosts, there will be some real new hardware to play with. The new hardware is expected to be refreshed models of the Surface tablets i.e a new Surface RT (without the “RT” branding) named just Surface 2 and a new Surface Pro named Surface Pro 2.
The Surface Pro 2 is expected to maintain its top of the line specs while the Surface 2 is expected to retain Windows RT (with the Blue update hence Windows 8.1 RT). In addition the Surface Pro 2 is expected to still have a x86 chipset in this case using Intel’s Haswell chip to boost battery life and 8 GB RAM. With those specs I don’t expect the Surface Pro 2 to drop pricing. The Surface 2 on the other hand is likely to retain Microsoft’s relationship with chip maker Nvidia by packing a Tegra 4 chip and likely a 10.6 inch ClearType Full HD (1080p) display. New accessories like Touch Covers are expected to accompany the launch of the two tablets. There’s also a Power Cover said to be announced alongside the two.
According to Paul Thurrot, the Surface 2 will also have 8 hour battery life and have the same VaporMg case complete with a kickstand that we saw on the first generation Surface tablet in addition to it being only 0.37 inches thick and front and rear cameras alongside the usual support for networking standards like Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi 802.11. On top of that there is a USB 3.0 port. It will weigh in at around 1.5 pounds. Unlike its sibling the more capable Surface Pro 2, the Surface 2 is expected to feature only 4 GB of RAM, which is a lot still by any standards and enough for a tablet.
While everyone loves a capable tablet (and they aren’t many), some like the Surface Pro 2 if not priced right may not end up having the sort of impact that they need to. With those specs 23rd September should see the release of a tablet that we’ll all like and hopefully one that will not need price cuts late next year (as was the case this year) due to crumbling sales. In a field dominated by cheap Android tablets that just get the work done though not with the expected level of competency and premium content consumption ones like the iPads, if priced right, the Surface 2 tablets will take the market by storm or else they’ll just remain the preserve of a few geeks and fanboys, unfortunately.
Photo: Maximum PC