Microsoft Surface 2 And Surface Pro 2 Pre-Orders Start Tomorrow Ahead Of October 22 Launch

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So now that Microsoft has finally let its next-generation Surface and Surface Pro tablets out of the bag, there’s only one thing left to dig into — when can people buy them?

Microsoft just confirmed that pre-orders for both tablets will begin tomorrow, and added that the devices would ultimately be available in 21 markets on October 22.

Haven’t been keeping up on this morning’s Surface frenzy? Here’s a quick rundown.

Microsoft tried to improve on the original Surface Pro formula with the Surface Pro 2, and Microsoft VP Panos Panay spent a considerable amount of time talking up its myriad improvements. This new pro-grade tablet Pro 2 now sports one of Intel’s Haswell chips (though Panay didn’t confirm which), and features up to 8GB RAM, a combination that Panay says makes the Pro 2 “literally faster than 95% of all laptops in market today.”

Of course, none of that would amount to anything if battery life weren’t up to snuff, so the Surface team built the Pro 2 to operate cooler and quieter, which made for a whopping 75 percent improvement in battery.┬áNot too shabby for a device that can apparently play back and edit 6K video pulled from a RED Dragon camera. If you’re swooning at the thought, prices for the Surface Pro start at $899.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has also bestowed some crucial updates to its new Windows RT-powered Surface, including a much snappier (and oft-rumored) NVIDIA Tegra 4 chip, a pair of improved cameras that work better in low-light situations, as well as bundled support for a whole host of Microsoft services — think a free year of international calls thanks to Skype and 200GB of cloud storage in SkyDrive.

Considering how much derision has been piled on Windows RT lately — there was that massive Microsoft writedown because of unsold Surface RTs, and some prominent OEMs have dropped RT completely — it’ll be interesting to see how the masses react to yet another RT tablet. Granted, Microsoft’s considerable marketing heft means we’re likely to see another ad blitz geared toward getting tablet owners of all stripes to switch, but only time will tell if everything goes according to plan.

Our own Alex Wilhelm got to spend some hands-on time with the new Surfaces and you can read his impressions here — in the meantime, we’re going to play with these things and get them on video. Stay tuned.