This Week in Tech 667: Give Me your History Hat

Microsoft’s new Surface Hub 2. Google Duplex freaks everyone out. GDPR shouldn’t freak people out – unless you work in adtech. Fortnite is coming to Android. Apple caves in to China again, pays some Irish taxes, and goes shopping for a new campus. Washington D.C is full of Stingray spy devices. Yanny or Laurel: depends on your speakers. US Copyright laws may be extended to protect Mickey Mouse for 144 years.

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Microsoft readying Haswell and Tegra 4-based Surface 2 devices

It’s no secret or surprise that Microsoft is preparing a successor to its hybrid Windows 8 tablet and freshly leaked details about the Surface Pro 2 have emerged just in time for you to regret the discounted Surface Pro you bought last week. According to Neowin and Paul Thurrott, the next Surface Pro will ship with improved specifications including a Hawell-based Core i5 CPU.

Shifting to Intel’s fourth-generation Core chips will obviously be snappier than existing Ivy Bridge-based Surface Pros, but they should also help improve the system’s battery life — the lack of which being a primary complaint about Microsoft’s first attempt. The Surface Pro is limited to about five hours of usage, while its follow up will reportedly provide up to seven hours.

Microsoft will also ship the Surface Pro 2 with more memory than its predecessor had at 8GB versus 4GB, though that’s as much as anyone is willing or able to share about the device’s internals. Externally, you can reportedly expect a “refined” integrated kickstand with multiple positions, while the system’s overall aesthetics should remain largely unchanged from today’s model.

As for the most important information — when it’ll be available and what it’ll cost — we don’t know and we don’t know. Neowin says Microsoft is readying a media campaign — perhaps for Christmas, which happens to be a perfectly sensible time to sell your new product, not to mention that Windows 8.1 is slated for a mid-October release (Friday the 18th if you want to mark your calendar).

As for pricing, we can’t see Microsoft getting away with charging more than it did for the original Surface Pro ($899-$999) and asking any less wouldn’t put enough of gap between generations without further reducing the cost of its older models. If a $1,000 SKU is inbound, it would be nice to see it come with a Touch/Type Cover of some sort out of the box at a discount, however slight.

Microsoft also plans to use Nvidia’s Tegra 4 SoC in an updated Surface RT that will simply be called the “Surface 2,” while a 7-inch “Surface mini” is expected to target the Kindle Fire HD, Nexus 7 and iPad mini. With a Surface refresh, a Windows update, a new Xbox and internal restructuring that includes Ballmer’s departure, the folks in Redmond are in for a hectic holiday 2013.

via Microsoft readying Haswell and Tegra 4-based Surface 2 devices – TechSpot.

Microsoft Surface RT gets $150 price cut worldwide

Update: Microsoft has made the Surface RT price cuts official. The base 32GB model is now $350, the 64GB variant will be $450, and either of them with an included Touch Cover will be $450 and $550 respectively. The new prices are in effect at retail stores worldwide as well as the official Microsoft Store. — Original story below.

Microsoft has been looking for ways to give its Surface RT tablet a little sales boost, partnering with resellers around the world and kicking off a limited-time offer for schools and colleges to get one at $199. Now, according to sources speaking with The Verge, the company is ready to cut $150 off the device at retail, effectively allowing anyone to purchase the ARM and Windows RT based slate for as low as $350.

That’s about $250/$80 less than the equivalent 32GB iPad/iPad mini. It also undercuts the comparably sized Nexus 10 by $150. But of course there are some differences to consider in terms of specs, and more importantly app library, where Microsoft’s platform still falls short despite moving to get all the big names. Adding to that, Microsoft will need to compete with smaller, more affordable options like the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire range.

Although there’s still no official announcement, Engadget was able to obtain a Staples ad confirming the price cuts, which will come into effect starting July 14. Aside from the base 32GB model being priced at $350, the 64GB variant will be $450, and either of them with an included Touch Cover will be $450 and $550 respectively.

Microsoft hasn’t revealed much about its Surface RT sales, but they aren’t exactly flying off shelves. The move is largely seen as a way to clear up inventory ahead of a refreshed version. The company hinted at replacement Surface RT and Surface Pro models during its Worldwide Partner Conference on Wednesday, the former should be receiving a newer Haswell chip while the latter has been tested with a Snapdragon 800.

via Microsoft Surface RT gets $150 price cut worldwide – TechSpot.