In an interview with Australian publication ARN, Microsoft flatly admitted the RT branding in its Surface lineup confused the heck out of consumers, and had a hugely negative impact on sales—to the tune of nearly $1 billion, as we all know. That’s a big reason why the Redmond company decided to go with the Surface 2 name for its next generation tab; Microsoft doesn’t want to make the same mistake twice. But do consumers still know the differences between Windows RT and Windows 8 Pro?
“We think that there was some confusion in the market last year on the difference between Surface RT and Surface Pro,” said Microsoft’s Jack Cowett, product marketing manager for Surface. “We want to make it easier for people, and these are two different products designed for two different people.”
When Microsoft first launched its Surface RT last year, the company did itself no favors by failing to explain how that version was different from a full version running Windows 8 Pro. Partners in the industry actually urged Microsoft to rethink its naming strategy, though the company decided against making any changes. Whether a revamped naming scheme would’ve helped push Surface RT sales out the door is a question we’ll never know the answer to. The Surface 2 is Microsoft’s chance to redeem itself, however.
Microsoft’s upcoming Surface 2 is, as expected, focused on refining the overall experience with better specs, a sharper design and a revamped kickstand. On the inside, the device sports a 1.7GHz quad-core Tegra 4 chip, a 10.6-inch Full HD display, 2GB of RAM, 32GB and 64GB storage options, a 5-megapixel camera, Bluetooth 4.0, expandable storage up to 64GB and a starting price of $449. But the biggest change might be the lack of RT in the name.
Early adoption of the Surface 2 will be hugely important for Microsoft, especially with the company’s tab the only one that’ll offer Windows RT 8.1 (until Nokia announces its rumored Lumia 2520). That, and Apple has its own tablet updates on the way, not to mention Google and Amazon already have some excellent tablets to offer as well.