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Microsoft Has Another Crack At Fixing Slump In Demand For Their Surface Pro Tablets

Microsoft who were facing a further drop in demand for their problematic Surface Pro tablets, has moved to take on the likes of Acer, Lenovo and Dell with a new tablet hardware offering.

Their new Surface Pro is aimed shoring up Microsoft’s 26% slump in sales which has been caused by their competitors offering a better and less expensive version of the Surface offering.

Microsoft said that the new Surface Pro has a more powerful chips and better battery life both features that are set to be delivered by their competitors.

Microsoft has also announced a version of Windows 10 for use by the Chinese government and state-owned enterprises, ending a standoff over the operating system by meeting the government’s requests for increased security and data control.

This version allows the Chinese Government to snoop on owners.

The government can also remove features it doesn’t want like such as the OneDrive file-sharing service, or certain entertainment apps.

The software is available only for government use and won’t be sold to any other Chinese customers, Microsoft said.

Both Microsoft’s prior Pro 3 and 4 are aging machines, and partners for their Windows OS Lenovo Acer, HP and Dell have come out with their own Windows-based versions, that give Microsoft software revenue but takes away hardware sales. Also, stealing market share away from the big US software Company is Apple who is seen as, having a superior design to the Surface offering.

Microsoft claims that new version should turn that around their 26% slump in sales. The new device has 13.5 hours of battery life, a 50 percent improvement over the previous version, and runs Intel’s faster seventh generation Core chips.

The updated tablet, which Microsoft is simply calling the “new Surface Pro” rather than sticking with its numerical sequence, will be available in Core i7, Core i5, and Core m variants. Like the Pro 4, it offers USB 3.0 ports rather than USB-C connectivity. That means it will work with older accessories, but could be problematic as gadget makers shift to the new, speedier USB-C standard.

Microsoft’s announcement comes as the overall tablet market is in free-fall. Shipments of the devices have declined for nine consecutive quarters as of the end of 2016, according to research firm IDC. That may explain why Microsoft is pitching its new Surface products towards students and creative professionals, two groups that have a clear use for tablets. But it’s unclear if the new Surface Pro will be enough to revitalize Microsoft’s Surface business, where revenue recently dropped by 26% compared to the year-ago quarter.

ne of the biggest changes to the Surface Pro is a new Surface Pen. It doesn’t come in the box anymore, so you’ll be able to purchase it separately for US$99.

While it will work on existing devices, a new tilt functionality is only available on the Surface Pro for now. Tilt will detect the angle of the pen to enable shading and better accuracy for inking. It’s something that creators who use Wacom tablets have been asking for, and Microsoft is finally delivering.

The Pro will be available for pre-orders Tuesday starting at US $799, it’s expected to be significantly dearer than this in Australia.

The device has a new kickstand that lets it fold almost flat to resemble a drafting table, like the pricier Surface Studio computer, and the Pro can now be controlled on screen by the Surface Dial device that Microsoft introduced with the Studio.