REDMOND, Wash. — Microsoft has updated its Surface tablet, its poorly selling answer to the iPad. The second generation Surface has only subtle adjustments from the originals, a sign that the company still believes in its vision of devices that blend the benefits of tablets and laptop computers. The most meaningful changes are under the hood, providing faster performance, better battery life and sharper screens.
"We're right now focused 100 percent on building the best tablets for the world," said Panos Panay, a Microsoft corporate vice president.
But the latest Surface tablets will not be available in smaller 7- to 8-inch versions, the most popular size in the market. The Surface tablets have 10.6-inch screens.
As before, the new Surface family includes two products, Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2. The Surface 2 competes more directly with the iPad. The Surface Pro 2 is a more expensive, full-blown PC running an Intel chip so that any legacy PC applications can run on it.
Both devices have an integrated kickstand that props the Surface screen up at a 24-degree angle for watching movies on an airplane or typing on a keyboard. On the new models, the kickstand also clicks into a 40-degree position to improve what Microsoft calls "lapability," so people can cradle it comfortably on their thighs while sitting.
Microsoft paid special attention to improving the Pro version's battery life. The Surface Pro 2 can run for seven to 10 hours.
Microsoft will sell Surface 2 for a starting price of $449.