Microsoft has unveiled the successor to its Surface tablet - the Surface 2 - at an event in New York, and has announced the device's price and release date.
The improved tablet will come in two models – the Surface 2 and the Surface Pro 2 – and will be available to pre-order from tomorrow (September 24th), preceeding an October 22nd release date.
The Surface 2 starts at £359 and comes with either 32GB or 64GB of storage. The Pro 2 starts at £719 and comes with either 64, 128, 256 or 512GB of storage. The 256GB model also has 4GB of RAM and the 512GB model comes with 8GB of RAM.
The Surface 2 will run on Windows RT 8.1, with the Pro 2 on Windows 8.1 Pro. Both will feature upgrades to the tablet’s internal components, with the Surface’s Touch Cover also receiving an enhanced refresh.
The Surface 2 is powered by NVIDIA’s Tegra 4 processor, which is claimed to extend the battery life to 10 hours when playing video.
The 10.6-inch ClearType screen can display in up to 1080p, or Full HD, and the device now has a USB 3.0 port for faster connections.
The cameras on the tablet have also been improved, with the front camera now 3.5-megapixels and the rear camera five-megapixels, which means both can capture 1080p video.
The entire device is thinner and lighter than the original Surface.
Windows RT 8.1, which is installed on the Surface 2, includes improvements over Windows 8, which shipped on the first iteration of the Surface, and the Surface 2 also includes Microsoft Office 2013 RT.
The Surface Pro 2 is billed by Microsoft as a “laptop replacement, capable of running virtually all your Windows software including the full Microsoft Office suite, as well as apps from the Windows Store”.
The Pro 2 is powered by an Intel Core i5 processor, giving 60 per cent more battery life than the first Surface Pro.
Purchasers of either the Surface 2 or Pro 2 will receive free Skype calling to landlines for a year, unlimited Skype Wi-Fi for a year and 200GB of free SkyDrive storage for two years.
New accessories for the Surface 2 and Pro 2 were announced alongside the new tablets, including an improved Touch Cover, the Touch Cover 2, which at 2.75mm is thinner than the first-generation Touch Cover. The Touch Cover 2 has better sensors and accuracy than the Touch Cover, and will be available for pre-order alongside the Surface 2 and Pro 2, at an RRP of £99.99.
Other accessories include the £109.99 Type Cover 2, the battery-boosting Power Cover which will be released in 2014 and the £164.99 Docking Station for Surface Pro, which connects to an external monitor and other PC peripherals and arrives in 2014.
Additionally, a £44.99 car charger with USB is also due for release in 2014, while the Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition, which connects via Bluetooth 3.0, can be pre-ordered in the US and Canada on September 24th and comes with a £59.99 price tag.
Image courtesy of Ars Technica