Tag Archives: Microsoft

A Closer Look at the Microsoft Surface Pro 3

The Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is a laplet – a portmanteau of, you guessed it, laptop and tablet. (It sounds almost as odious as the phablet, but that’s another thing altogether.) Anyway, what can you expect from this latest model of the Surface product line? Read on to know more about it.

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Laplet - Windows 8.1 laptop and tablet PC

The Laplet: Microsoft Surface Pro 3

So what is a laplet anyway? Well, it’s defined mainly by its x86-architecture CPU, full-featured Windows 8.1 operating system, and input/output ports typically found in laptops. They’re different from your typical convertible or hybrid tablets, since they are designed as laptop or desktop replacements. Yes, the Surface Pro 3 can actually replace your current laptop and you probably won’t find it lacking.

It’s certainly not a pansy in the specs department. The entry level model boasts of a 1.5 GHz Intel Core i3 (4020Y) processor with Intel HD 4200 graphics. The other two models feature 2.9 GHz i5 (4300U) with HD 4400 and 3.3 GHz i7 (4650U) with HD 5000 Haswell CPUs and GPUs, respectively. All three sport a 12-inch ClearType Full HD Plus display with a 2160 x 1440 pixel resolution. The rest of the specs are equally impressive: 4 or 8 GB of RAM, and internal storage options of up to 512 GB. Other features include WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 LE connectivity, a USB 3.0 port, a microSD card reader, a mini DisplayPort, and two 5 MP cameras. Like its predecessors, the Surface Pro 3 ships with the Surface Pen too.

Check out Microsoft’s ad, taking a shot at a MacBook Air.

So how much?

The most basic model (i3, 4 GB RAM, 64 GB storage) will set you back US $799, while a midrange model (i5, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB storage) will cost you US $1299. If you want the high end model with an i7 CPU, 8 GB of RAM, and 512 GB of storage, be prepared to shell out US $1949.

To get the full laplet experience, you may want to get the Type Cover keyboard or the recently released docking station. The Type Cover costs an additional US $130, while the docking station (featuring several additional ports and effectively turns the Surface Pro 3 into a desktop) costs $200.

What do you think? It’s a little too costly (okay, not just a little), but we hear you can totally get it for much cheaper… if you’re a student, that is.

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Rumor: New Microsoft Surface will debut in October

You win some, you lose some. The other day we told you that the oft-rumored Microsoft Surface Mini really was dead, which doubtlessly made many of you readers – those after small but powerful tablets in the vein of Apple’s popular iPad mini – mourn.

We have, however, heard that Microsoft is currently hard at work prepping a new Surface tablet just in time for the Christmas retail season. While this bit of news we’ve got for you right now won’t counter that past news report, it seems to show that after that painful but apparently necessary bit of triage, the Surface line might just be alive and well. Read on to find out more!

Microsoft Surface Pro 2 Windows Tablet PC
It will probably look like this too.

What’ll be different?

Okay, from what we’re hearing, this new Surface tablet is going to come standard with support for the Surface Pen accessory. For those of you not in the know, the Surface Pen is neither new nor revolutionary; it works exclusively with the existing Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 devices. Microsoft says that the Surface Pen makes it easier to take notes in Office applications and to draw. (The two aforementioned devices already come with Surface Pens; a replacement or backup pen will set you back US $29.99 on the Microsoft Store.)

The screen of the upcoming Microsoft Surface, the rumors further say, will remain 10.6 inches – no changes there. But what might really interest potential buyers, especially those in the market for smaller tablets, is that the case of this new tablet will supposedly be thinner and lighter than that of the Surface Pro 3. If this rumor is true, not only will doing so further differentiate this supposedly upcoming tablet from the Surface Pro 3, but might also give it a shot at competing with the iPad mini and other class-leading small tablets without being as small. (No word as to how Microsoft is going to work that.)

Other details?

Well, just a couple more – we hear that this new and improved Microsoft Surface is actually nearly ready for production; it’ll supposedly enter mass production in September, just in time for an October release. No word yet on price – stay stuck and we’ll see if we can’t get that for you.

source [Tech Times]

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The Surface Mini really is dead

For those of you holding on to a little hope that Microsoft was going to launch the Surface Mini – the smaller, lighter version of its new Surface tablets – despite iffy news reports to the contrary, we’re very sorry to announce this, but the Surface Mini really isn’t going to see the light of day. Not now, not ever.

The source? No less than Microsoft itself.

Microsoft Surface Pro 2 Windows Tablet PC
We’ll have to stick with this one.

A tiny bit of history

Microsoft CFO Amy Hood said as much concerning the Surface Mini – OK, nearly as much – during the last Microsoft quarterly earnings call. Addressing the issue of diminished revenue from the company’s Surface tablet line, she said that this had taken place because the company had decided to do away with a product that had been unreleased. While she failed to identify the Surface Mini by name, other media sources confirmed that the Surface Mini really had been scrapped.

None of this is of course a “smoking gun”, so to speak, but it’s also worth noting that the company accidentally confirmed the existence of the Surface Mini in a user manual that actually did mention the Mini by name. Oops?

Whys and wherefores

Our source indicates that no less than new Microsoft head honcho Satya Nadella had a hand in the demise of the Surface Mini. The source, as well as many others, chalk this decision up to Nadella’s laser focus on productivity, and say that smaller-screened tablets, which are harder to work on and are thus less about productivity and more about consumption, really didn’t have much of a place in “the new Microsoft”, at least as far as tablets are concerned.

Want more proof? The new generation of Surface tablets is geared more towards those who need to get work done, from its new display aspect ratio (a bit of a far cry from the last generation of Surface tablets) to the fact that it runs full Windows 8.1 Pro.

If you’re feeling bereft after this announcement, don’t fret – there still are other tablet manufacturers who’d be more than willing to sell you a small Windows tablet. Just be open-minded and make sure to take a good look around before you decide.

source [Mashable]

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Microsoft Office apps for Android tablets in the works

Microsoft under the new fellow at the helm, Satya Nadella, is appearing far more dynamic than it’s been in years. The latest wrinkle in the company’s unfolding saga is that it’s currently hard at work readying the Microsoft Office software suite specifically designed for Android tablets, in keeping with its new initiatives. Read on to find out more about this new Microsoft development!

Microsoft Office logo

Microsoft Office for tablets, after iOS – but before Windows Phone

Our tech-savvy readership will doubtlessly remember that the software giant has already released Android-compatible Microsoft Office apps. We hasten to remind them that these apps will work with Android devices in general, including phones, of course, and are not specifically designed for tablets. This new bunch of apps will be intended for Android tablets – we suppose they’ll be taking full advantage of the extra screen space.

This, in the wake of Microsoft’s release of its Office for iPad suite – as The Verge says, that was the first of the company’s tablet-focused initiatives. Interestingly enough, “Office for Android Tablets”, or whatever its final name will be, will end up beating Microsoft’s own touch-enabled Office suite for its own Windows Phone devices to market. The latter are scheduled to be released in early 2015.

Beta testing ongoing

The Verge further quotes “sources familiar with Microsoft plans” who’ve told the website that the company is currently readying a private beta test for this upcoming version of Office. Microsoft, say these sources, is taking in participants (apparently in the U.S.A.?) via a special pre-release program. Those interested in testing beta versions of this and other versions of Office can make a beeline for the Microsoft SharePoint site to register their interest to do so.

All this is right in line with Satya Nadella’s efforts to refocus Microsoft around mobile and the cloud. As such, as many media outlets have already reported previously, Microsoft will not simply be stuck to one OS – “will not be bound to one app, one device, in one place”, in Nadella’s very own words – but is doing its best to try and make sure that it’s just a download away for anyone who’s using any major platform.

source [ The Verge ]

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Rumor: Microsoft Surface Mini to drop in the middle of May

Rumors of Microsoft introducing a smaller version of its Surface tablet – a Surface Mini, if you will – have been circulating (in a desultory, on-again off-again fashion) for a long time. Here’s the latest one: not only is the Surface Mini real, but it’s about to be introduced – and it should drop in mid-May.

An “accessory” to the revelation

According to tech pundit Mary Jo Foley, who covered the rumor in her All About Microsoft ZDNet blog, electronics wholesaler Vostrostone posted some photos of cases that it claimed were intended for the Surface Mini – and said that the unit would be available on the 18th of May this year.

While the image in the photos is not that of the Surface Mini itself but more likely that of the already introduced Lenovo Windows tablet, the listing claims not only that the case is specifically crafted to fit the Surface Mini but is also intended to fit the keyboard for the device. (Microsoft also manufactures and sells a selection of keyboards for its Surface tablets.)

Good portents for the future

While of course this rumored Surface Mini is still up in the air – and we can do little else but wait and see what comes of it, if anything – it’s worth noting that even if these rumors come to nothing, many signs are pointing to the potentially greater availability of Windows 8 and/or 8.1. At the Build 2014 developer conference held just a few days ago, Microsoft also announced that it would be making Windows free on all phones and tablets with screens nine inches or less in size, thus 1) potentially making them more affordable, and 2) potentially increasing the number of devices out in the wild and making a better case for developers to craft more apps for Windows.

Moreover, as Foley mentions in her blog post, Microsoft continues to work to make Windows easier to use; the 8.1 update to Windows 8 helps make the OS more efficient by reducing the amount of memory it takes up, a boon to users by giving them more space for their own files.

[ Via All About Microsoft ]

[ Source: Amazon ]

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Surface 2 LTE now available

Remember the second generation Surface RT… eherm, the Surface 2? Well, it’s now available in another variant, one with 4G LTE connectivity. Check it out below.

Microsoft Surface 2 Windows Tablet PC

Microsoft unleashes Surface 2 LTE

Yep, you read that right, the lower-end Surface tablet PC has gotten an upgrade in the form of LTE connectivity – which means you’re covered in areas where WiFi hotspots aren’t available (or at least wherever your network has coverage). The Surface 2 LTE is pretty much identical to its WiFi only counterpart. It has a 10.6-inch ClearType Full HD display with a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, an Nvidia Tegra 4 quad-core processor, and 2 GB of RAM. The LTE version is only available with 64 GB of internal storage, but does have the same features. It has WiFi a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, a 3.5 MP front-facing camera, a 5.0 rear shooter, a USB 3.0 port, a microSD card slot (that supports microSDXC), and an HD video output port. Depending on usage, it can last up to 10 hours on a single charge.

Software-wise, it runs with Windows RT 8.1 with Microsoft Office 2013 RT. Since this is an RT operating system, you can only run apps from the Windows Store.

Pricing and Availability

The Surface 2 LTE is already available at the Microsoft Store, but it is not as budget friendly as its WiFi-only counterparts. It has a hefty US $679 price tag, which is 230 dollars more expensive than the entry level model. For reference, the most basic Surface Pro 2 model, Microsoft’s slate with Windows 8.1, has a US $899 price tag.

Would you want to buy one? Well, sure, if you really need a Windows tablet PC with LTE connectivity. The downside lies with Windows RT still – you won’t be able to run legacy software like you would on a full fat Windows 8.1 operating system. What are your options? Asus and Dell used to have the Windows RT slates with LTE, the Asus VivoTab RT LTE and the Dell XPS 10 Windows RT. Those two are from last year though, so you’d be hard pressed to find them in stores. You can however, get yourself a Nokia Lumia 2520 for a much more affordable US $399.

Or better yet, why don’t you just add a little more and get a Surface Pro 2?

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19 Most Memorable Tablets of 2013

The year’s almost up and we’re taking a look at 19 of the best tablets 2013 had to offer. It depends on who you ask, but many will tell you that 2013 is the year of the tablet. The best models of last year were upgraded to have sharper screens and zippier processors – a trend that is bound to continue in years to come. Of course, this hardware arms race benefits consumers, though we have to admit, the sheer numbers can be overwhelming at times. So we’ve sifted through the sea of slates to bring you the 25 most memorable tablets of 2013.

They’re incredible in their own little ways, be it hardware superiority, bargain basement price, or simply, bang for the buck. (They are in no particular order, because let’s face it, we’re not here to argue about which is better, etcetera, etcetera.) Continue reading 19 Most Memorable Tablets of 2013

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Microsoft Surface Pro 2: Upgraded!

Microsoft’s premium Windows 8 offering is going to be refreshed soon, with the new model, the Surface Pro 2, featuring several upgrades from its predecessor. What should we expect from this tablet PC? Well, for starters, a faster processor and a longer battery life.

Microsoft Surface Pro 2 Windows Tablet PC

Surface Pro 2: Specs and Features

Since we’re talking about the Surface Pro here, it has better specs than its little brother the RT, eherm, the Surface 2. The Pro 2 packs a 4th generation Intel Core i5 (Haswell) processor, which is faster and more energy efficient than the Ivy Bridge CPU on the previous model. It comes in four versions: Models with 64 GB and 128 GB of storage are armed with 4 GB of RAM, while the 256 GB and 512 GB models have twice as much RAM with 8 GB. All of that is crammed behind a 10.6 inch ClearType Full HD display with a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution.

Other features include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, 2 720p HD cameras, a microSDXC card slot, a mini DisplayPort, and a USB 3.0 port. Out of the box, the Surface 2 comes with all the necessary hardware, including a Surface Pen, and it comes loaded with Windows 8.1 Pro. According Microsoft’s website, the battery can last for up to 7 to 15 days on idle.

The Surface Pro 2 looks mostly like the Surface 2, but is a little thicker and heavier around the midsection, measuring at 10.81 x 6.81 x 0.53 in and weighing at 2 lbs (900 grams).

Pricing and Availability

The Surface Pro 2 is now available for pre-order and is scheduled for release on October 22 for the more basic models. The other models, according to the site, will ship by October 29 and presumably arrive the next day, October 30. The most basic model, the 64 GB one, will set you back US $899, while the 128 GB model would cost you US$ 999. The higher end 256 GB and 512 GB models are priced at US $1299 and $1799, respectively.

It’s pricier than the Surface 2, that’s for sure, but considering you get more power (both performance and battery life-wise), a full version of Windows 8.1 Pro, and a digital pen, it seems like an acceptable deal. If you think the price is too steep though, you may want to look into getting the original version which was marked down some months ago.

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Microsoft Surface 2: Specs and Features

Yes, it’s that time of the year again when tablet makers are refreshing their product line ups in time for the holiday season. Microsoft has announced the second generation of its tablet PC line, with the new model aptly called the Surface 2. It’s coming sooner than you think. What improvements can you expect from this upcoming Windows slate?

Microsoft Surface 2 Windows Tablet PC

Better and Faster: Microsoft Surface 2

Remember the Surface RT? Well, the Surface 2 is the updated version of that. “Why isn’t it called Surface RT 2 then?” you may ask. After all the negative reviews of the RT, Microsoft may have wanted to disassociate the new tablet with the old one. Don’t worry though, it definitely has better specs. It features an Nvidia Tegra 4 ARM Cortex-A15 quad core processor and 2 GB of RAM. Its 10.6 inch ClearType Full HD screen can pump out a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution. Other features include Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi connectivity, USB 3.0 and HD video out ports, 2 cameras (3.5 MP up front and 5.0 MP at the back) and a microSD card slot that can support up to 64 GB of additional storage. It also comes in two internal storage models, 32 GB and 64 GB. According to reports, it’ll have a longer battery life of up to 10 hours.

Out of the box, it’ll come with a Windows RT 8.1 operating system and with MS Office Home and Student 2013 RT baked in. Looks-wise, the new Surface doesn’t stray from the old version’s aesthetics though you can now choose either black or silver color variants. It weighs in at 1.49 lbs (around 675 grams) and measures at 10.81 x 6.81 x 0.35 in (or 27.45 x 17.29 x .88 cm).

Pricing and Availability

The Surface 2 is currently available for pre-order, and it’ll officially hit the shelves on October 22 – basically a few ticks after Windows 8.1 pushes out. The 32 GB version is now available for pre-order for US $449, while the 64 GB version has a US $549 price tag. The 64 GB version is marked ‘Out of Stock’ as of this writing though, so if you want to grab that model, you may have to wait until it hits the shelves in a couple of weeks.

Is the Surface 2 better than its predecessor, the Surface RT? It’s thinner and lighter, has better battery life, and has better hardware. We’d have to take into account though that the main complaint about the old model was its limited operating system, so we’ll have to see if the same limitations are in the new model as well.

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Surface Pro price cut, now starts at $799

When Microsoft’s Surface Pro came out some five months ago, the reception was unanimous: this was not your ordinary tablet PC. It brings a different kind of love for mobile computing aficionados, and it’s going to be worth every penny on its US $900 (64 GB) and US $1,000 (128 GB) price tags, respectively. If you add the Type Cover keyboard, then you can expect your purchase at a solid US $1,130.

Microsoft Surface Pro Windows 8 Tablet PC

Surface Pro price drop confirmed

Fast forward to today, and the prospects are not looking to be anywhere near ideal for Microsoft – or so it seems. The tech giant has announced a price drop for the Surface Pro. The reasons behind this sudden change in price plans are under a lot of speculation at this point, with some positing that sales are not going as expected. Others, meanwhile, are saying that this is just a sign of newer models to come.

It has become standard in the gadgets industry for manufacturers to introduce price drops when they already have something else on its way out of their cooking labs. That, or the direr scenario is that they’re just not pushing out enough products fast enough, and the price drop is the way for them to enjoy some kind of return on their investments.

It’s not as massive as doomsayers are trying to paint – after all, it is just about a hundred dollar cut for the 64 GB model – but still, it is a significant one. What is clear, though, is that this should give more impetus for those eyeing the Surface Pro, but couldn’t afford the original price, to take a step closer to its purchase.

There’s room to speculate

After all, it is one of the best Windows 8 tablet PCs out there, with a full version of the OS in all its mobile glory. Reviews have been keen in pointing out that despite the less than stellar performance of its battery life, the specs of the Surface Pro proves to be formidably impressive in general.

The effect of the price drop in terms of sales can only be seen further in the coming months. Now that the holiday season is just a bit around the corner, it would also be safe to gather that another price cut may be in the foreseeable future for Surface Pro. In the meantime, though, let’s not get ahead of ourselves and simply enjoy the current price drop that Microsoft has announced.

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