Microsoft readies rumored Power Cover for Surface: Reports

Microsoft readies rumored Power Cover for Surface: Reports

Summary: Microsoft's rumored new Surface keyboard/covers that feature built-in batteries for extra power will arrive some time after the new Surfaces launch, according to new reports.

SHARE:

Microsoft officials have dropped hints in the past that the company would be making a combined keyboard/cover for its Surface devices that would include a built-in battery.

surfacecover

The latest anonymously sourced reports from Neowin.net and the Windows SuperSite indicate these new covers are, indeed, in the pipeline.

The so-called Power Covers will extend the battery life of the Intel-Haswell-based Surface 2 Pro, existing Intel-based Surface Pro and the coming ARM-based Surface 2, those sources are saying, but there's no word on exactly how much extra life they will add.

According to Windows SuperSite's Paul Thurrott, the new battery-inclusive Type Power Cover will be .38 inches (9.75 mm) thick, compared to .21 inches (5.33 mm) for today's Type Cover.  

The new covers may not be available until some time after the actual launch of the new Surfaces, however, the reports indicate.

Microsoft's first-generation ARM-based Surface RT devices sported eight- to ten-hour battery life. (My actual experience -- after Microsoft replaced my original Surface RT due to my suspicious battery report -- has been it's closer to seven, but that's still pretty decent.) The first-generation Intel core i5 Surface Pro devices only clocked in at four to five hours of battery life, which was fine for some users and problematic for others. 

Microsoft officials also have hinted that the company will be making the Surface keyboards -- both the Touch and Type ones -- available in more colors at some point. At the company's partner show, Microsoft officials reiterated that Surface peripherals would be coming in additional colors.

There's no word in either report from today, September 5, as to how much additional Microsoft will be charging for the Power Covers. Microsoft recently made permanent a $40 cut to the price of its Touch covers for Surface, resulting in them starting at $79 (U.S.)

In case it's not clear, Microsoft officials are not commenting on the next-generation Surfaces or Surface peripherals.

Topics: Microsoft Surface, Microsoft, Mobility, Tablets, PCs

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

43 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Power cover good

    Postage stamp trackpad bad. Get rid of it and replace it with a Track point/stick thingy or even eight directional arrow buttons would be better. Up, down, left, right, and 4 diagonals.
    greywolf7
    • Come on now...

      when you're talking about a real keyboard with batteries in it, you have to make a concession somewhere. Besides, I'm sure Microsoft got a steal of a deal from Acer on those mini trackpads.
      Champ_Kind
    • Touch

      Surface and Win 8.x are Touch first.
      frankwick
      • Desktop still alive and kicking...

        Indeed they are but as this keyboard is aimed at the Surface Pro then it is perfectly reasonable to expect the trackpad to be used with traditional desktop software such as Office, Visual Studio, Photoshop... Etc. So the "touch first" philosophy does mean it stops with touch.
        spc1972
        • Oops

          I mean doesn't!!! :)
          spc1972
    • Wrong Approach

      This is a touch first device; it is smaller than any ultrabook; and the screen is closer to your hand than on any other ultrabook. Just reach out and touch - go on - it won't bite you.

      And PLEASE, no "gorilla arm" nonsense...that is one of the biggest red herrings ever (invented by MJ's colleague Vaughn-Nichols).
      dksmidtx
      • Touch first, not touch only

        And this is especially true in desktop applications. I've been using Outlook in the 8.1 Preview on my Surface and while the experience is good and the touch-mode helps, I still find it tricky to use it and other Office products too with touch alone. When I first got my Surface, I longed for Outlook and now I have it, when I'm without the keyboard, I find myself preferring the (flawed) Mail app (I know I can't believe I said it either but there you go...)

        I don't have a Pro so I can't speak for how well other software behaves but the necessity for a keyboard and trackpad (or external mouse) is pretty compelling so the Power Cover makes complete sense and frankly should have been available from day 1.
        spc1972
    • gestures and multitouch

      You can run deiver to program your own multitouch gestures for trackpads.
      Impossible with pointing stick or keys.
      warboat
    • Eeh, Yuk

      Please don't torture us with track point/stick thingies or directional buttons. I don't use the trackpad since I use the pen in its place, but those two are so evil, no computer should ever be subjected to them again.
      WebSiteManager
  • Emergency Battery/generator

    Ok you've all seen the hand crank emergency radio/flashlight units. So give me an emergency battery with hand crank generator to change my devices with. Same kind of deal as Asus Transformers... It has internal battery plus solar charging and hand crank charging. You can plug it in and it will change your device battery from its own battery. The internal battery charges from solar or cranking. I suppose as an added benefit you could be able to plug it in to charge ;-)
    greywolf7
    • Emergency Battery/generator

      Now Fowillinet doesn't have to go the gym to operate is new Micro-Flop Shablet that weighs as much as a 10 year old laptop.

      Perfect for Virus Trap loving Shills!
      ITJohnguru
  • @Mary Jo

    Any news on Power TouchCover? I like the TouchCover over TypeCover.
    Ram U
    • Power TouchCover

      Not hearing that this is something to expect. I think it's only type cover with the battery. MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
      • Thank you

        I wish they release that one too.
        Ram U
    • Touch

      The touch cover is about being super thin and light. My suspicion is that there won't be a touch cover that also packs a batter.
      dsf3g
  • Hey, guess what - it has a keyboard!

    The ultimate admission of "we know you really wanted to buy a laptop".
    Or "Sorry, our tablet doesn't do Swype".

    Microsoft needs to stick to what it knows best.
    geolemon
    • That's why they're making keyboards.

      Next to operating systems and game consoles, it's what they know best.
      ForeverCookie
      • I guess thats why Apple made the wallet

        cuz they patented the swipe.
        greywolf7
        • That's....

          ... just too damn funny! Well done greywolf3!
          rtibbitts
  • What's rhe power for?

    Backlit keys? The only thing I could think of that you'd want to have to keep batteries in a keyboard for.
    Mac_PC_FenceSitter