Microsoft Surface Power Covers get a mid-March ship date

Microsoft Surface Power Covers get a mid-March ship date

Summary: Microsoft will begin shipping its battery-life-extending Power Covers for its Surface devices starting March 19 for $199.99.

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Microsoft has provided a ship date for its promised Surface Power Covers: March 19, 2014.

powercoverpreorder

The disclosure of the date ocurred on March 10, which is when Microsoft went live with pre-orders for the covers that extend the battery life of Microsoft's Surface Pro, Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 tablets. (I saw the pre-order page on the Microsoft Store thanks to a tweet from that account.)

The Microsoft Store pre-order page claims the Power Covers -- Type covers with extra battery support -- will extend battery life by up to 70 percent. (Microsoft officials were promising battery-life extension of up to 50 percent from the new covers last year.)

The Power Covers weigh .55 pounds and are 9.75 mm thick, according to Microsoft's page. They don't have back-lit keys, unlike the new Surface Type 2 and Touch 2 covers. They will retail for $199.99.

Update: The weight information on Microsoft's page is wrong. The Power Covers weigh 1.2 pounds, Microsoft officials confirmed on March 11. The thickness listed is also incorrect; word is that it's actually double the listed number.

Microsoft announced plans to provide Power Covers for its Surfaces in October 2013 when it launched the second version of its ARM- and Intel-based Surface devices. At that time, officials said Power Covers would be available in "early 2014." Microsoft execs declined to provide any further updates about the timing on the covers since that time.

Microsoft has had issues keeping its Surface tablets and associated peripherals in stock. The Surface docking stations have gone in and out of stock since last fall.

I've asked Microsoft execs whether the Power Covers will be avaialble in areas other than the U.S. as of March 19, and if so, when. I will update this post when I hear back.

Update: The Power Covers will be available initially in the U.S., Japan and Canada, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed The company is not sharing names of specific retailers or international availability beyond that at this time.

In related news, WPCentral.com is reporting that Microsoft brick-and-mortar stores are starting to receive stock of promised LTE-enabled Surface 2 devices. Last fall, Microsoft officials said those devices would be available in the early part of 2014 initially on AT&T and Vodafone.

Topics: Microsoft Surface, Microsoft, Tablets, ARM, Business Intelligence, Windows 8

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).

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31 comments
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  • Can't people just get laptops and be done with it?

    What is the infatuation lately that everything must be a tablet and then must buy stuff to make them back into laptops.
    drwong
    • Why do hybrids scare you so much?

      It isn't like you are being forced to use one.
      Emacho
      • today, no. tomorrow, maybe.

        Market forces and the standards created, like the new cloud technologies and where they're very likely going to go. Or even microSD slots slowly disappearing from devices, to make you choose cloud. Or you can choose to not have a device, at which point employers will choose not to hire because you look like you're not keeping up to date... or have nothing for forced BYOD and eventually that will be the only choice, with stipend incentives removed...

        Surprised you can't see the obvious.
        HypnoToad72
      • Don't forget

        Edge and other programs eventually replacing subsidized contract phones, thus adding even more cost to the customer... ;) pity pay phones no longer exist for all the lazy welfare people adter their jobs were offshored or automated, with cost of college too excessive to afford... but I digress.
        HypnoToad72
    • Flexibility

      While I don't own a Surface, I do own a Dell Venue 11 pro (same idea). I personally really like the hybrid form factor. Right now, I'm sitting outside watching my kids play in the yard. I'm holding only the tablet portion, much like I'd hold a magazine. Far less awkward than a screen/keyboard combination. Later I'll go inside, plug in the keyboard and do some work that is more easily done with mouse and keyboard. I can do this all on one device and don't really notice any compromises.
      dsf3g
    • Laptops aren't as portable...

      ... and most of them don't have pen digitizers.

      OneNote itself is a reason to buy one of these devices.
      ForeverCookie
      • 2nd Hybrid

        I am on my second hybrid. I used a Surface Pro for 5 months before giving it to my wife. (Actually it was hers to begin with but I stole it for awhile.) I learned how awesome OneNote was with a digitizer. I wanted a full piece of 8.5X11" paper. I got a 15.5" Sony Flip which also has a digitizer. OneNote is even more awesome on it. I have now gone completely paperless. I was able to get rid of my 3 pounds of paper portfolio. I now carry less weight.

        Warning: Conventional touch will not give you the awesome OneNote experience. You must have digitizing touch to get that.
        MichaelInMA
      • Precisely!

        OneNote is like a genie trapped in a bottle on every laptop/desktop with the Office suit. Windows tablets with digitizer screens (e.g. Samsung Ativ Tab 3, Surface Pro 2, etc.) open that bottle and utilize the full potential of OneNote. They make digital note taking feel no different than writing on a 5-star notebook with added *magic-note* features, like:

        - Recording audio/video as you take notes (not the same as plain audio/video recording you'll get with a SmartPhone, 'cause you can actually listen to/view what the prof was saying on topic X by clicking the play button at header X)
        - Quick drawing of shapes and graphs
        - Adding images, videos and other content from the internet
        - Linking to almost ANY other content (images, videos, docs, notes, programs, webpages, etc.) inside or outside of OneNote
        - Sharing notes through OneDrive (I don't do that due to privacy reasons :P)
        - Multiple users simultaneously working on the same note from different computers
        - Searching for typed/hand-written/imported (from ANY app/program that can print) text in notes
        - Expandable functionality through add-ons

        There's literally no *true alternative* to OneNote! Here's a deeper dive into the possibilities (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7OROShRVzQ).
        MrElectrifyer
    • Weight and battery-life is what puts them in demand. You can buy ...

      ... a decent 5 pound, 15" laptop for $350 and get about 4 hours of battery-life - OR you can buy an 11" Surface tablet with 8 hours of battery-life that weighs 2 pounds. It is a costly trade-off but it is worth it to some.
      M Wagner
    • I have to agree

      It's not that I'm against tablets like the Surface Pro/Pro2, but it is ironic that everyone attempts to turn them into a laptop with accessories. Personally if I was going to spend that amount of money for a Surface Pro, (i.e. - $1K+), I'd get something like the HP Revolve instead and have something almost identical in size/weight, but also have more flexible device.
      Hemo2
      • well

        It's nice to have options. Why begrudge others their choices?
        Texrat
  • No backlit keys :(

    I was REALLY hoping they would change their minds on this and add backlighting before release. Its not like they don't know how to do it. lol

    Yes it takes a bit of power to run, but the keyboard IS a battery and there could be a software switch somewhere to turn it off. I have a need for another Type cover and have been waiting for this one. Too bad I have to choose between the two features I want.

    Then again I have been using my Pro tablet less since getting a Dell Venue 8 Pro to take with me on the trains/bus as I commute to/from work. I wish the Surface Mini had come out sooner.... maybe to be announced Build?
    Lou Syracuse
    • It IS Backlit!

      I am on the phone with Microsoft right now and they have checked and confirmed it IS backlit!
      ethanemerald
      • RE: It IS Backlit!

        I hope so... I was really looking forward to getting one of these and not having backlit keys is definitely a downer. Especially considering the regular Type Cover does have backlit keys! It's not like the backlighting uses a lot of power anyway, it turns off when not in use and you can manually control whether it is on or not as well.
        kb5ynf
      • I sure hope you're right!!

        The image on their website (http://bit ly/1ga0hoh) seems to have the brightness increase/decrease buttons like the Type/Touch Cover 2, which controlled the back lighting of the keyboards. Let's hope that's not the wrong image like they initially had the wrong specs.
        MrElectrifyer
      • It is NOT Backlit

        I am typing on the Power Cover right now, and it is NOT backlit!
        ryan5055
  • Battery boosting keyboards are a cool thing

    since I expect the Surface spends most of its time connected to the keys. I agree with the others though - they should have at least put on a switch or a light sensor to backlight the keys. I spend a lot of time coding in the dark (I like the ambience), and you can't do that if you can't see. :) )
    Mac_PC_FenceSitter
    • Agreed

      Agree. My Dell Venue 11 gets 17 hours with the keyboard dock attached. Very liberating to leave the house and not even bother debating whether to bring along the power brick. Even if this dock only boosts the Surface Pro's battery life to 8 or 9 hours, it'll be much appreciated by users, no doubt.
      dsf3g
  • finally.

    I'm eagerly awaiting for this.
    Ram U
  • Too rich for my blood

    50$ extra just for a battery? And that's on top of the already expensive type keyboard. It's nice and all, I'm using it to type this up, but still ....

    Yeesh.
    Michael Alan Goff