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Third bite at cherry for Microsoft's laptop-tablet hybrid


Third bite at cherry for Microsoft's laptop-tablet hybrid

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The latest version of Microsoft’s tablet PC, the Surface Pro 3 – a laptop that can be converted into a tablet – went on sale in Europe at the end of August.

The decision to launch a new version has been taken by Microsoft after the disappointing sales of the first versions – only 600,000 were sold worldwide in the first quarter of this year compared to over 16 million Apple iPads sold over the same period.

Now Microsoft hopes to improve the performance of the Surface Pro 3 with its Docking Station, which enables the tablet to be used like a desktop PC, improving its connectivity while charging the device.

One of the strong points of Surface 3 is that – with the help of a special pen – you can underline or highlight parts of text, and take notes just like with a pen on paper.

Analyst Bob O’Donnell explained connectivity to all Microsoft services is key: “Surface is one cog in this big wheel of all this Microsoft hardware and they are going to tie it together with these services that allow you to access, Office and Skype and Bing and OneDrive and OneNote across all of them. And by the way, they are going to extend that to iPad owners and to Android phone owners and lots of other folks.”

But crossing into the land of hybrids does not come cheap. The low-end version costs about 600 euros while the thigh end version costs more than 1,500 euros.

Avi Greengart, Research Director for Consumer Platforms and Devices at Current Analysis, believes that is too costly: “You have to be looking to spend a significant amount of money to get an ultra-light, ultra portable, and in this case, a quite powerful product. But if you really want just a thin and light tablet, well there are thin and light tablets that cost a lot less money.”

In any case the hybrid machine, which can act as a tablet, laptop and desktop, seems to be the future, as this style of device has already been adopted by many manufacturers.

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