Despite the dismal failure of the first Surface tablet which led to a $900 million company write-off, Microsoft introduced Monday a new line of Surface computer tablets to take on the Apple iPad.
The Redmond, Wash., company debuted the Surface 2 and the beefier Surface Pro 2 during a company press event in New York City. Both products will launch on Oct. 22.
The Surface Pro 2 boasts a faster processor that produces 20 percent overall better performance than the first Surface Pro that was introduced last year, according to Panos Panay, vice president of Microsoft Surface.
“This thing is a beast,” he said.
The new tablet also will have 50 percent better color accuracy for its screen and will now include Dolby-certified dual stereo speakers. It also will sport the latest Intel computer chip codenamed “Haswell” that will consume less power. Panay said the tablet will have 75 percent better battery life.
The Surface Pro 2 also can be used with a docking station so users can connect it to a high-definition monitor for desktop work. “[It’s] the full power of a PC in a tablet form factor,” Panay said.
The Surface Pro 2 will be priced beginning at $899. Models will come in storage capacities from 64 to 512 gigabytes.
Microsoft also announced a new Surface 2 tablet that is lower power and cheaper than the pro version.
The Surface 2 is lighter and faster than the first-generation Surface RT tablet released late last year but with 25 percent more battery life. The Surface 2 tablet will retail for $449.
Both products also will ship with the latest version of Windows 8.1 as well as Microsoft’s Office suite of productivity apps.
Panay also introduced new covers/keyboards for the devices that snap into the tablets, including a new Power Cover keyboard with a built-in keyboard and battery that will more than double the battery life of the Surface Pro 2.
Both tablets are Microsoft’s latest effort to carve out a niche in the computer table market, one that has been dominated by Apple and its iPad.
Sales of the original Surface RT and Surface Pro were a disappointment, reportedly selling only about 1.5 million units by the end of the first quarter of this year.
The competition will only get worse for Microsoft. Apple is rumored to hold another press event next month where it is expected to introduce the next lineup of its iPad and iPad mini tablets. Meanwhile, Google introduced last month its highly praised Nexus 7 tablet.