Business owners: Microsoft is trying to win you over.
Less than a year after releasing its first pair of tablets, Microsoft has unveiled the next generation Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 with features it hopes will appeal to the increasingly on-the-go consumer.
Announced Monday, both models will be available October 22, with preorders starting today. The Surface 2 starts at $449 and the Surface Pro 2 starts at $899.
While the improvements Microsoft has made to its latest tablets aren't revolutionary, they are substantial. To start, the tablets are faster and they boast better battery life. (The Surface 2 Pro has 75 percent more battery life than its original equivalent, while the Surface 2 has 25 percent battery life). And both devices can now comfortably rest on your lap thanks to a redesigned kickstand, giving them a competitive advantage when compared to the iPad, at least in terms of work-on-the-go efficiency.
Microsoft's new tablets also come with features meant to appeal to businesses, like a full Office suite, including Outlook. (The Pro model can also run Windows 7 applications, as well as security management systems). The company also introduced a docking station for the Pro that essentially turns it into a desktop.
Microsoft's first-generation Surface and Surface Pro were widely considered flops, with the company taking a $900 million writedown on excess inventory back in July.
Still, "reinventing the wheel is not the goal – making it better is," said Panos Panay, Microsoft's Surface head, as he unveiled the Surface Pro 2 at an event in New York yesterday.