Smartphone screens have been getting bigger while tablets have been getting smaller. Until yesterday, pretty much everyone thought that Microsoft's newest product announcement would be that it was coming out with a smaller version of its Surface tablet — wrong. Instead, the technology giant debuted the Surface Pro 3, a new hybrid PC/tablet with a 12-inch screen.
"So many people carry both a laptop and a tablet but really want just one device that serves all purposes," said Panos Panay, corporate vice president, Microsoft Surface, in a statement. "Surface Pro 3 is the tablet that can replace your laptop — packing all the performance of a fully powered laptop into a thin, light and beautifully designed device. You'll love being able to carry a single device for your next class, workday or weekend getaway knowing you have all the power you need."
The starting price for the new device, which runs Windows Pro 8.1, starts at $799 and goes up to around $2,000. The Surface Pro 3 Surface Pro 3 has a 12-inch HD display, is powered with a fourth generation Intel Core processor and has up to nine hours of battery life. Features include "a new multi-position kickstand" that allows the user to choose viewing angles from zero to 150 degrees and "new click-in keyboards that come in five colors with 63% bigger track-pads." The device will go on sale in the U.S. and Canada in Microsoft Stores on June 20.
Initial reviews have been mixed, but the ultimate question is whether consumers, as Microsoft posits, want one machine to handle what they are now accomplishing with two.
An article on the CNN site recalled Apple CEO Tim Cook's response to combining a laptop and tablet from 2012. "You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator, but you know those things are not going to be probably be pleasing to the user."
How likely is the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 to disrupt the current tablet and laptop market?