Microsoft has cut the price of its Surface 2 tablet hybrid by $100, leaving the consumer-facing device with a price tag as low as $349.
That price, however, doesn’t include a keyboard attachment that is generally viewed as mandatory to use any Surface tablet. Other Surface 2 models, including the LTE-powered, higher-storage SKU have also received price reductions.
The timing, as some have noted, coincides with similar price reductions that occurred last year for Surface tablets.
A few points: The Surface 2 is now about a year old. It was introduced last year, along with the Surface Pro 2, which has since been replaced. Microsoft had a plan to release a Surface Mini device, which would have run Windows RT akin to the Surface 2, earlier this summer. It was killed at the last moment. Windows RT will be merged with Windows Phone in some permutation. It isn’t clear what that code will look like.
And now, the Surface 2, one of the few Windows RT models in existence, is seeing a price cut and no replacement.
Given that outlay, it isn’t too hard to guess what is going on: Microsoft is likely icing the damn thing. Ars Technica’s Peter Bright agrees: “[I]t wouldn’t be altogether surprising to see Surface 2 quietly phased out, at least until Microsoft can give the device a big shake-up to create a clear purpose.” Yes.
When the Surface 2 was released, I was mildly bullish on its prospects, given that the device was a marked improvement on its predecessor. Since then, however, it appears that the Surface 2 hasn’t managed to ignite the public markets. To see it perhaps slow-fade is therefore not surprising.
This isn’t to say that the Surface project is at risk of short-term discontinuation. It isn’t. But it seems that the Surface 2 is suffering from the same malaise that its component operating system has never managed to buck.