27 March 2019
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella an an event in New York Tuesday to unveil the third-generation Surface Pro tablet. Photo: Reuters
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella an an event in New York Tuesday to unveil the third-generation Surface Pro tablet. Photo: Reuters

Microsoft pitches Surface Pro 3, but will consumers bite?

Microsoft hasn’t had much success on the hardware front, barring the Xbox game console, although it is trying hard to remould itself into a ‘devices and services’ company.

But it hasn’t given up the fight yet, going by its ambitious pitch Tuesday as it unveiled the latest version of the Surface Pro tablet — the Surface Pro 3.   

Billing it as a replacement for laptop computer, the company is touting the new device as filling a gap in the market and overcoming the limitations of the existing tablets. 

The Surface Pro 3 will have a screen measuring 12 inches diagonally, up from 10.6 inches in the previous model, but is 32 percent thinner and 12 percent lighter than the Pro 2 which was released in October last year.

The company said it customized more than 100 parts and worked closely with chipmaker Intel to maximize performance in the slim device, according to the Associated Press.

The new product comes with Microsoft’s Office software suite, widely used by businesses around the world. Advanced technology and top-of-the-line business software is marketed as a good option for people who want more out of their mobile computing devices.

“We are not building hardware for hardware’s sake,” Reuters quoted CEO Satya Nadella as saying at a launch event in New York. “We want to build experiences that bring together all the capabilities of our company.”

The Surface Pro 3 will go on sale this summer, in five configurations ranging from US$799 to US$1,949. Microsoft will start taking orders Wednesday. A keyboard cover to make the tablet feel like a laptop will push the cost up another US$130.

At the launch event, Microsoft executives devoted most of their time comparing the Surface with Apple’s iPad and MacBook Air laptop and tried to make the case for the Pro 3 to replace both, AP noted.

The company believes Surface will be big draw for people seeking a single device instead of having to lug along a tablet and a laptop computer. 

But will the convenience be enough to lure buyers on a large scale and help Microsoft achieve a breakthrough in the hardware business?

Well, no one is taking any bets yet. Given Apple’s entrenched might in mobile devices and also stiff competition from Samsung, which has its own line of large-size Android tablets, Microsoft surely has a tough fight on its hands.

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