Accessories turn Microsoft Surface tablets into PCs

Keyboard docks, a docking station and a wireless adapter to complement new Surface tablets

Microsoft's new Surface tablets can be turned into PCs or workstations using docking accessories.

Microsoft's Surface 2 tablet
Microsoft's Surface 2 tablet

Three keyboard docks, a docking station that turns the Surface Pro 2 into a workstation and a wireless adapter were announced Monday at the company's tablet launch event in New York.

The Power Cover keyboard accessory includes an internal battery that will extend battery life of the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 more than 50 percent, according to Microsoft executives. It will be available in early 2014, but Microsoft hasn't announced Australian pricing.

The AU$139.99 Touch Cover 2 and AU$149.99 Type Cover are thinner and lighter successors to those shipped last year with the first versions of Surface tablets. The new accessories have backlighting, gesture support and sensors for more accurate typing.

The Touch Cover 2 has a soft keyboard that can fold up to become a tablet case, and it attaches to the base of the keyboard. The Type Cover 2 is more like a keyboard with hard keys and also attaches to the base. Both accessories will be available for order Tuesday.

Microsoft's Surface Pro 2 tablet
Microsoft's Surface Pro 2 tablet

Also announced was a wireless adapter that connects the Touch or Type Cover to Surface tablets, reducing the need to connect the keyboard accessories magnetically to the tablet base. No Australian pricing on this one yet, either.

A docking station was also announced for the Surface Pro 2 tablet, which turns it into a workstation. The Surface Pro 2 has a fourth-generation Core processor code-named Haswell, which is being used in PCs and ultrabooks.

With the docking station, a Surface Pro 2 will have one USB 3.0 port, three USB 2.0 ports, a Mini DisplayPort, Ethernet, and audio in and out ports. The docking station will cost AU$229.99 and has a projected release date of early 2014.

Microsoft will start shipping the new Surface tablets in late October.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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Agam Shah

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