New Microsoft Surface peripherals steal the launch show

New Microsoft Surface peripherals steal the launch show

Summary: A new docking station, Power Cover, wireless adapter and other new peripherals for Microsoft's Surface devices were the stars of the Surface 2 launch.


Microsoft took the wraps off its second-generation Surface tablets on September 23, and, as expected, the devices themselves offered incremental advances.

For many, the supporting peripherals were the show stealers.

The rumored Surface Power Covers made their debut, though they won't be available to customers until "post-launch" (the word is possibly not until January 2014). The Power Covers, expected to be 0.38 inches and 1.1 pounds, are Type Covers with a built-in battery, meant to extend the battery life of the Surface 2, Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2.

The rumored Surface docking station for the Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 also made an appearance at today's Surface 2 launch. The docking station, as previously rumored, includes one USB 3.0 port and 3 USB 2.0 ports. It allows users to connect to external monitors, Ethernet devices and USB devices.

The company also showed off a new wireless adapter for Type Covers. This devices uses Bluetooth wireless to connect with monitors up to 30 feet away (allowing for users to sit back and work or play away from their screens). The wireless adapters recharge via USB.

Microsoft unveiled new Type and Touch covers in a variety of colors. The new Type 2 and Touch 2 covers both feature illuminated keys, making it easier to work in the dark. The new Touch covers are somewhat lighter and thinner, coming in around 0.11 inches and under 0.41 pounds. The new Type covers are just slightly thicker, at 0.21 inches, and 0.58 pounds.

Microsoft also has an Ethernet adapter for the Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2. Although company officials hinted earlier this year there might be an Ethernet adapter coming for the ARM-based Surface and its successors, no such device was shown during the launch today.

Microsoft's  new Power Cover and docking station are $199 each, once they are commercially available. The wireless adapter is $59.

Topics: Microsoft Surface, Microsoft, Mobile OS, Mobility, Tablets, PCs, Windows 8


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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  • Not innovating fast enough

    Look how much Nokia innovates their phones from year to year (heck, month to month). Look at the Lenovo Yoga last year's model compared to what's coming this year. Significant innovation year over year. For Microsoft, with Surface, we get pretty much the same device over again a year later, with better internals but that's all. And a bunch of new high-margin peripherals. That pace of innovation is just not going to get it done in the consumer world. Banks may be okay with it; they don't like anything to ever change.

    So pricing was not announced?
    • Peripherals, though

      Of course, if they'd completely overhauled the form factor and made it incompatible with last year's covers, people would have complained about that.
      • fail

        surface is very expensive, uses half the memory of 64gb, and windows 8 is a very great imperfection of microsoft
        Henrique Dourado
        • It is expensive, but it is a laptop inside

          And it is very easy to get back a lot of memory with a few things. Windows 8.1 also uses less space that 8.0.

          Also, nothing is perfect.
          Michael Alan Goff
    • Look at Apple

      Not even innovating but still tons of sales..Cool factor will always be the selling point not the price.
      • Re: Cool factor will always be the selling point

        Apparently, not true.

        Microsoft tried to be cool and look where it brought them....
    • Not Innovating?

      How could you possibly say they are not innovating? This is by far the best product announcement I've seen in years. Everything I've wanted in a tablet has finally appeared on the market. Fast multitasking windows environment, tablet touch screen, backlit keyboard cover, and a pro option with pen input, and HD displays. I will be getting them both. The only thing I wish they would do now is add the digitizer to the surface 2, but I guess that's what the surface pro is for. I don't think there is a better integrated ecosystem on any other device with this much power...ipads included.
      • Yeah... what?

        I have no idea what hes talking about. Looks like he wanted a new design and that would equal innovation. Im mighty impressed with the battery and speed improvements if they are correct and the new perpihherals make this tablet a beast that I want to replace my desktop with. What more do you want from a tablet? I just dont get the negativity this thing gets from these people and some journalists. The only thing questionable is price and the missing apps.
        • Those posting negatively about Microsoft products....

          are mostly old Unix farts who are still mad that Windows blew their world away and still hold a grudge. They are zealot types, who will say anything, do anything to try and stop the innovation machine that is Microsoft.
          I guess they are aren't ALL old farts, their offspring also follows in Daddy and GrandDaddy's footsteps.
          Then there are those leftover Anti-Corporate types who have convinced themselves that since Google is using some half open source, half proprietary thing called Android, they are not part of the large Corporate world, but they need to continue hating Microsoft for their "Greed". They are deluded is the bottom line.
  • Sad, Microsoft will not learn

    Too many things doing the same thing, announced at the same time. This confuses customers and they do not rush to buy.

    In meantime, competition (former Microsoft allies) will act and bring even better stuff to market.
    • But MS doesnt mind.

      If you go buy an ultrabook or a Win8 tablet made by any of the other OEMs because you think it's more worth the money, MS still gains.
      • xelsm.....pssst.

        keep that quiet, Danbi has not figured that out yet.
    • Danbi....

      don't mix up what confuses you with those that have the ability to discern between 2 models.
  • Surface Pro + docking station + keyboard

    Is about as expensive as a high class ultrabook.
    The ultrabook however gives me serious tool for the job.
    • either way

      you are paying money to MS...they don't really care.
    • How is this not a serious tool?

      That's a serious question.
      Michael Alan Goff
      • I agree serious work tool

        Portable core I-5, up to 8 gig of ram, multiple displays with docking station, it sounds like my next work station.
  • bwahahaha!!!

    Show stealer? Microsoft? bwahahahaha!!!
  • Power Cover is not backlit?

    Any idea why the Power Cover is not backlit? Since it has its own battery, it seems the most natural of all the covers to feature a backlight!
    Bill Loguidice
    • where does it say its not backlit

      Or is that just an assumption. I couldn't find anywhere that says one way or the other. It would be good to know if it is or isn't backlit.

      I don't know why it would not be backlit since that feature doesn't seem to increase the space required given the other covers are thinner than the originals. unless they used the space for the light for extra battery, but really if they just made it a half mm thicker it would be no big deal.