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January 23, 2013

Microsoft Readies for Second Tablet Launch

Microsoft is slated to release its Surface Windows 8 Pro tablet, the second line of tablets by Microsoft, on Feb. 9.

Unlike the first Microsoft tablet released in October 2012, the Surface Pro tablet comes equipped with an Intel Core i5 processor as well as Windows Pro, a more advanced operating system that is able to run both new Windows programs and older ones. The Surface Pro, due to its increased power and abilities at 64 GB and 128 GB, will start at $899.

Also unlike the first tablet, Microsoft has upped the level of production on the latest tablet rather than selling it exclusively at Microsoft stores when the Surface RT launched. The first tablet Microsoft released cost $499 and ran with Windows RT, a more basic version of Microsoft’s latest operating system. It also used an ARM processor, which prohibited the tablet from running some of Windows’ more popular programs.

Gartner Research Director, Michael Gartenberg, said that the Surface Pro running on an Intel processor and Windows 8 legacy application “will make a major difference in explaining it to consumers.”

“It will be the best representation of Microsoft's interoperation of how the personal computer and tablet have evolved,” Gartenberg said. “Given the limited availability of Surface over the holidays and that it runs Windows RT, it's hard to say how well it really did in the market or make judgments about how well Surface Pro might do.”

The Surface Pro tablet will come with a stylus or Surface pen, with a keyboard costing more than the initial price of the tablet. Keyboards available for the Surface Pro tablet include the Touch Cover with touch sensors rather than physical keys and the Type Cover with physical keys. The cost of the two keyboards is $120 and $130.

Edited by Ashley Caputo

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