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Microsoft shows off its Surface 2, up for pre-order Tuesday

Microsoft showed off its second generation of the Surface tablets in New York on Monday, sharing the changes it’s made to the device in response to consumer feedback.

These range from adding another angle for the tablet’s kickstand — a small, but important update — to improving battery life. The Surface Pro 2 now has up to “60 percent” longer battery life than the previous version of the productivity-focused tablet.

The Surface 2 will start at $449 and now comes in a lighter, silver color. The Surface Pro 2 starts at $899.

The company has also made both versions of the Surface thinner and faster, befitting a generation upgrade. The lighter weight is perhaps an answer to some critics who complained that the first generation of the tablet was too bulky — particularly when compared against Apple’s iPad or Samsung’s Galaxy line of tablets.

Microsoft has also introduced a ton of new accessories, such as a docking station aimed at business users who want to use the same device at their desk and on the go. The firm has also redesigned the touch and type keyboard covers that have made the Surface a very credible laptop replacement.

Microsoft has taken about a millimeter of bulk from the type cover, while giving the touch cover a little more rigidity. The type cover, which will come in cyan, magenta, purple and black, will cost $129.99. The touch cover will retail for $119.99. Microsoft also announced a “Power Cover” for both tablets, which will cost $199.99 and will be released in 2014.

Despite having to take a write-down on the Windows RT version of the original Surface, the company is pushing ahead with its dual operating system plan with its Surface 2, which runs the lighter-weight, more mobile-focused Windows RT system, and the Surface Pro 2, which runs a full version of Windows 8.

In a blog post, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Surface, Panos Panay, said that the Surface 2, RT version, is now his primary machine.

“We have fundamentally revamped Surface 2 to make it the most productive personal tablet ever. Trust me here,” he wrote.

The tablets will be available for pre-order on Tuesday, and will go on sale Oct. 22.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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