Talking tech since 2003

This always happens to me: no sooner do I bite the bullet and buy a tablet PC—this time, a Dell Latitude 10—when news of a device that I want even more starts to hit. A post on Neowin today reports what it alleges to be the technical specifications of Microsoft’s upcoming Surface Pro 2, the aptly named follow-up to its top-of-the-line tablet computer that did a decent job of impressing critics while landing with a resounding thud at retail.

The post says that the Surface Pro 2 will run Intel’s latest “Haswell-based Core i5” processor, which should improve the tablet’s battery life considerably. This is a big win, considering that the two hours or so that the first Surface Pro offered up was one of the biggest drawbacks reviewers cited.

On top of that, the RAM will go from 4GB to 8GB, and the Pro 2 will sport a “refined” kickstand. Another problem I remember cited by reviewers for the original Pro was that it had a tough time sitting upright when used on a person’s lap versus a desk, in addition to the limited options of viewing angles. This new kickstand could fix all that.

The Surface RT—Microsoft’s mobile OS-based tablet—is also getting a sequel in the form of the Surface 2 (Microsoft is reportedly dropping the RT marketing). That’s according to yet another post from Neowin. That one reports that the supposed follow-up will be outfitted with the Snapdragon 800 processor, “which will increase horsepower with a smaller footprint on the battery.”

That all said, there’s no word on price or release date for the Pro 2 or Surface 2, though the posts speculate that they’ll come out around the time of Windows 8.1’s release. Furthermore, I wouldn’t be surprised if each merely took the place of their current-gen big brothers’ launch prices. But if Microsoft is smart, and is looking to really get a foothold in terms of install base, the company might want to slash prices of its Surface line across the board, making it not only attractive at retail, but also giving it a clear edge over its iPad and Android rivals.

Would Microsoft lose money on every Surface sold if it cut launch prices even more? You bet it would. But I have a feeling that might be the only way to truly make the Surface a viable contender. If nothing else, the Surface 2 should cost less than the newest iPad, just so it can at least undercut the top dog of tablets.

Until Microsoft officially announces anything, of course, this is all speculation. The company may already have decided to scrap the Surface line after this year’s $900 million write-down on the device line, and put all its device hopes in its recent acquisition of Nokia. These might all be details of what was going to be the new Surface line…before the company decided to cut its losses and hand the hardware ball to Nokia. We’ll have to wait and see.

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