Microsoft unveils Surface tablet updates, signals new hardware push in China

Microsoft has added battery life and horsepower to its new Surface Pro line. The launch event, in Shanghai, is intended to signal a push to grab a slice of China’s fast-growing market for computing devices.

Microsoft is updating its Surface tablet line, introducing a device that drops the numeral branding from the tablet and adds battery life and horsepower.

The Surface Pro, introduced at a media event in China on Tuesday, looks much like the Surface Pro 4 that Microsoft released in October 2015. But inside are updated Intel processors and, Microsoft says, battery life that lasts as much as 50 percent longer than the previous iteration.

The cost of the new device will range from $799 for a version powered by Intel’s Core M processor, to $2,699 for one outfitted with a more powerful seventh-generation Intel Core i7 processor and 16 gigabytes of RAM.

Those prices don’t include the Surface’s type cover ($129), essentially a requirement for the tablet to function as a laptop replacement as Microsoft touts in advertisements.

The 12.3-inch touch screen is built for interaction with the Surface Pen.

Microsoft’s Surface line launched with a thud in 2012, but a recent run of polished devices have earned better reviews and made the company’s venture into computer hardware a viable line of business.

Surface devices, including the Surface Studio desktop PC and the Surface Book laptop, brought in more than $4 billion in revenue during the 12 months that ended in March. A new offering, the Surface Laptop, was introduced earlier this month.

The devices have also helped fuel the growth in demand for more-portable laptops, and spurred other computer makers to spice up their offerings in the…

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