Monday, 23 September 2013

Microsoft Surface 2 Announcement

Earlier this afternoon Microsoft held an event in Redmond, Seattle where they announced the Surface 2.

The original Microsoft Surface wasn't even that popular, combined - the RT and the Pro version sold less than 5 million units causing the price to rapidly decrease last month with over £100 being taken off both versions. Despite this, the Microsoft Surface was one of the best devices running Windows 8 and if a consumer was going to invest in the platform, chances are they would buy a Surface.

On the stage, there was technology which teased the press and developers at the before the event. Some of the unusual accessories included a variety of new touch covers in new colours and with different keys.

As soon as the event started, Panos Panay (Microsoft Vice President) got straight down to business and didn't dwell on the past. Instead he announced the Surface 2 and said that Microsoft are only improving on what they had in the original Surface not ‘re-inventing the wheel’.

The new HD screen on the Surface Pro he was using has more vibrant colours and they are a lot more clear, it has an increased battery life almost 50% better than the last Surface Pro and the speakers are now better to.

In terms of big changes, Panay announced the Surface Pro 2 is 95% faster than most laptops today because of the new haswell processor. As expected, Microsoft have also had the ‘kickstand’ adjusted so it isn't stuck at 22 degrees, it also had a 55 degree option which works great for when working on your lap. It has more 'lapability'.

To prove how powerful the Surface Pro 2 is, Panay ran some 6K video footage through an editing program on desktop mode so he could show how smoothly it could be played and edited.

The new Type covers for the Surface Pro 2 also have built in 30wh batteries so users can have up to 14 hours battery life, which is 75% more than the original Surface Pro. And of course theses covers are wrapped in a soft fabric.

A second generation of Touch Covers are also getting released. These come in new colours such as purple and pink however what really makes them amazing is the fact that they are a whole 1mm thinner than the previous Touch Covers. This is ridiculously thin!
The new Touch Covers now have 1092 sensors to detect where you are pressing and how hard which is an improvement from the 80 sensors in the original Touch Covers. Finally, to top that off, it is also back-lit so you can type in low light/darkness and still see the keys. Unfortunately this is coming next year, so don’t expect to see it any time soon.

Microsoft is also releasing a new generation of covers specifically for different jobs so there will be covers that are perfect for DJs, covers perfect for accountants and, hopefully, even some 3rd party covers so app developers can have a custom cover for their apps. There is a new cover is perfect for the new DJ app Microsoft has built which allows you to remix music from the ‘XBOX Music’ apps. The cover gives users easy access to volume controls and the ability to change tracks easily.
Of course, these new covers are stupidly thin and will be available on the 22nd October 2013.

The highlights of the Windows 8 App Marketplace
Next, Panay went on to talk about a new docking station Microsoft has made. It has three USB 3.0 ports, one USB 1.0 port, a Mini DisplayPort, an Ethernet port and audio in/out ports. The Surface Pro slides straight into the dock with the iconic Surface ‘click’ and then you can even power another screen just using the dock! Microsoft said a couple of months ago that they weren't making a Surface dock however since they have, it should be interesting to see what other things they have up their sleeve.

The Surface RT is the next device that Microsoft has revamped. The Surface RT 2 is to compete with tablet devices such as the iPad. In the opening video, Microsoft announced that the Surface RT 2 is lighter, thinner and faster.

Panay then returned to the stage with a silver Surface RT 2 and started talking stats. It now has a 1080p HD display, a better camera which handles light better and has Microsoft Outlook RT built into desktop mode.

The Windows Store now has over 100,000 apps and both Flipboard and Facebook are coming soon (when exactly that will be is still unknown).

Skype is one of the key features in Windows 8 so Skype will come free for one year with free international calling and free Wi-Fi for anyone who buys a new Microsoft Surface.

Although both of the new Surface 2s have an even better build quality, all of your data will now be stored on SkyDrive and encrypted so hackers can’t get at it. If you buy a new Surface you will also get 200GB of free SkyDrive storage for 2 years!

Panay finished off the event by announcing prices and release dates, the Surface 2 RT will cost $449 (around £280) which is amazing value for money! And the Surface 2 Pro will cost $899 (around £560). Both are available for pre-ordering tomorrow however they are released on the 22nd October.