As expected there weren’t any surprises. The hardware has been upgraded, but certainly not enough to concern their competitors. Prices are lower than some predicted, but not low enough to make it a hit product.
The RT moniker has been dropped, but Microsoft still think they should be selling a consumer product (with a gutless Windows) that is confusingly similar to a business product (with proper Windows).
So here’s the news:
- longer battery life
- better camera
- docking station for the Pro
- improved stand
- better graphics
The new Surface 2 will sell for a minimum of $449, compared to $499 when the RT launched. That’s cheaper, but not really enough to make any difference. I only hope that Microsoft built fewer of them this time, because the RT is still for sale at $349.
The Surface Pro 2 should do OK, because it has a unique selling point. Businesses should lap it up.
According to The Verge, Microsoft are launching the new Surface 2 tablet computer on September 23. According to most reports the hardware improvements aren’t particularly thrilling, with some saying that a “launch” is overkill.
The new products are expected to be called Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro – with the RT moniker being sensibly dropped. The rumored Surface Mini is not expected to be making an appearance.
Personally there is something that will trump form factor, processors, screen pixels and so on – price. This is Microsoft’s opportunity to flood the market with a product that is as good as the iPad, but cheaper. I suggest 20-25% cheaper will do the trick
In Microsoft’s fourth quarter reporting you can see a massive write-down of $900M for unsold Surface RT tablets. No further breakdown is provided, however Peter Bright at Ars Techinca has done the maths:
But that Surface adjustment is huge. The company said that it’s for Surface RT and related parts and accessories. We don’t know the exact breakdown of the $900 million figure. Worst case, it implies that the company has six million Surface RTs ($900 million divided by $150 price cut per unit) sitting unsold. The true number may be a little lower, due to some of the hit coming from parts and accessories. But Microsoft is still sitting on several million—perhaps as many as five—Surface RTs.
That Microsoft could underestimate initial demand is extraordinary. If you build too few, you can always make more later. If you build too many, then embarrassing price-cuts occur, and then they will either give them away or dump them.
If I were in charge, I would sell them to a government somewhere (Australia?) at $100 each – for schoolkids to use. But 5 million is lot of product to shift, even at bargain prices.
In case you were wondering, this is what the inside of a Surface Pro looks like:
Complete breakdown can be viewed at iFixit.
LTE connectivity might only be available on more expensive versions of the next Surface Pro, but you never know. It’s only a guess anyway, but news that Microsoft are using a new processor makes it look reasonably certain:
Some new versions of Surface will be based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors, which can deliver fast wireless data connections, said the people, who asked not to be identified because Microsoft has yet to announce new models. Nvidia Corp. whose Tegra chip is used in the current Surface RT, will continue as a supplier for some versions, one person said.
I hope Microsoft doesn’t bamboozle their customer base with too many versions. This is how I would have the RT line:
- Basic – minimal storage 16 or 32 GB – no LTE. Sold at break even price or loss.
- Premium – storage of 128GB, with LTE. Sold at a profit.
7/8 inch model for each, and a 10/11 inch model as well. That’s a total of only 4 devices.
You merely need to be an attendee to get this amazing price:
Devices and Prices
- Surface RT 64GB standalone (with FREE touch cover) for €79.99 for EU customers and £69.99 GBP for UK customers
- Surface Pro 128GB standalone for €349.99 for EU customers and £299.99 for UK customers
- Full Conference Pass Attendees
- Partner Attendee and Booth Staff Passes
- Faculty and Students
- 3rd Party Speakers
- 3rd Party Staff
Read the official announcement here: Special Surface Offer for TechEd Europe 2013 Attendees
Keep in mind that the new Surface tablet can’t be far off!
Not long ago Microsoft gave away 10,000 tablets at a Texas conference. While it may have got the product some publicity, most comments were of the “they made too many” variety. It is certainly looking like there is a lot of surplus inventory and Microsoft needs to get rid of it before releasing Surface 2.
Now, according to a blog post by Ryan Lowermilk (which has since disappeared, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t true), Microsoft will soon be selling 32GB Surface RT tablets to schools and higher education institutions for the very price of $200 – less than half price.
When you compare Microsoft with those ranked at #3 and #4 it isn’t doing so bad – you just need to ignore Apple and Samsung. It isn’t doing bad if you consider the Surface Pro is now starting to take off in the corporate world.
Last quarter tablet sales figures:
Asus / Google 2.7M
According to InfoWorld, price are dropping on Surface RT tablets, as we get closer to the launch of Surface 2. In most countries you can get a free type cover – worth $100+.
Staples were selling some of the tablets for $399 (instead of $499( but it seems like they jumped the gun with the price drop.
And Microsoft themselves were offloading the product for just $100 at the TechEd conference. So now the choice is clear. Do you want the current model now, or the new model in a month or two that runs twice as fast. Remember, it is a PC, and speed is important!
It was a very long time coming, but Australians can now get their hands on the Microsoft Surface Pro tablet PC. Prices are $999 for the 64GB and $1099 for the 128GB model. The type cover costs extra.
JB Hi-Fi are selling them, as is Harvey Norman. Or you could cut out helpful sales people and buy direct from Microsoft at microsoftstore.com – same price.