) recently announced that it has expanded its Surface family of
The company has unveiled two powerful Surface models - Surface
2 and Surface Pro 2.These models will be available at Microsoft
retail stores and third-party retailers in 22 markets. While it
will be available in 21 markets, including the United Kingdom,
the United States and Germany, from Oct 22, it will reach the
Chinese market by early November.
The new consumer-focused
the successor to the Surface RT, is slightly thinner and lighter.
It has a 10.6 inch screen with increased camera resolution. The
model has a USB 3.0 port which allows up to four times faster
Priced at $449, Surface 2 will be available in 32GB and 64GB
memory sizes and is built on
) chip designed by
). In addition, the tablet comes preloaded with a stripped-down
version of Office, including Outlook.
Surface Pro 2
is aimed at the new generation of lightweight laptops called
"ultrabooks," built on the new Haswell chip from
). This tablet is 20% faster and has 75% more battery life than
the earlier released Surface Pro.
Priced at $899, Surface Pro 2 will be available in 64GB and
128GB memory sizes. Though the device supports the full, standard
version of Office, it will have be bought separately.
Microsoft is clearly targeting the premium segment with its
devices, pricing them slightly lower than Apple devices with
comparable specs. But Apple devices are already popular and have
significant mindshare, so Microsoft may not be able to pull away
Apple fans. Its only advantage is Office, which may soon be
available for iOS as well.
Microsoft's initiative to increase its share in the tablet
market comes in the wake of declining desktop and laptop sales
due to strong demand for smartphones and tablets. Microsoft first
launched its Surface tablets worldwide on Oct 26, 2012, but the
sales did not gain momentum.
According to IDC, only 300,000 Surface tablets were sold
during the second quarter of 2013, down from 900,000 sold during
the first quarter, which cost Microsoft its position as one of
the top five tablet makers. In comparison,
) led the race with a 32.4% share of the worldwide tablet market,
followed by Samsung, ASUS, Lenovo and Acer with a market share of
18.0%, 4.5%, 3.3% and 3.1%, respectively.
The addition of the new and improved Surface tablets is the
company's latest effort to increase its share in the tablet
market. In June, the price for the Surface RT model was slashed
to $199 from $499 for schools purchasing directly from Microsoft.
In December last year, the company added more retail outlets from
where its tablet could be sold.
Microsoft also transformed several holiday stores into
permanent Microsoft retail outlets. Most recently, it tied up
) to create Windows Stores within Best Buy stores.
Although Microsoft has fallen back in the tablet race, it may
still be able to create its own niche. Combining the
functionality of a tablet and laptop, Surface can gradually
create interest and attract new users.
Currently, Microsoft has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
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