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Microsoft Surface Book 2 to ditch 2-in-1 form factor

by Mark Tyson on 17 March 2017, 11:01

Tags: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Surface

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Microsoft's Surface Book was an object of desire for me, but also rather too expensive to seriously consider. However, according to Taiwanese industry sources, Microsoft is going to shortly revamp the range, turn it into a simple clamshell design, and sell it cheaper.

The new Surface Book 2 is actually in mass production now, reports DigiTimes, with Microsoft likely to announce the new portable towards the end of this month or early April. It is noted that recent price cutting of the existing lineup by Microsoft provides some firm background signs that a series refresh is coming in the not-too-distant future.

The new Microsoft Surface Book 2 will share many of its predecessors design niceties such as a magnesium-aluminium-alloy construction, and sharp 13.5-inch display but, as the headline says, it will ditch the 2-in-1 form factor. Remade as a classic clamshell design, Microsoft will be able to cut manufacturing costs and hit a launch price of $1000 or so - much lower than the first gen Surface Book launch price (which started from $1499).

Microsoft reportedly only sold half a million Surface Books in 2016 and this was caused by a the 'catch 22' scenario of limited demand propping up prices by throttling any significant benefits that could have been harvested from production scaling. Another drawback of the 2-in-1 design was the product overlap with the Surface Pro machines, muddying marketing waters. However, it will be interesting to see what kind of hinge Microsoft employs in the new machine design, and if it will afford 'yoga-like' flexibility, for example.

What kind of hinge design will be used?

With the new clamshell product, and friendlier price, industry sources expect the Surface Book range to be bought by consumers with renewed vigour in 2017. It is expected that Microsoft could achieve shipments of up to 1.5 million before the year is out with an attractive new portable at a new price position.

One more morsel of information from the Surface sources was that the Surface Pro is still attractive to portable PC buyers, with a year-on-year shipment growth of 20 per cent. It is apparently on track to sell six million units this year.

HEXUS Forums :: 8 Comments

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That's so dumb if true.

The point is you buy it and you don't need a surface. You don't need a large tablet. It's both, done for you.

The reason I like my surface is I “dock” if I'm using it for more than say 2 hours. This normally involves slaving a second surface to act as a second screen, using a logitech portable keyboard. It's a much better setup than you can get with a laptop.

The Surface Book was supposed to be for people who like to use a clamshell for a long period of time (weirdos) but also want a tablet factor for when lounging on the sofa.
As an owner of the SB I can say I will not be upgrading if this is true.
Yeah, I completely agree. If this is true, it's a bad choice. Is the SB expensive? Sure, but it's a one-of-a-kind premium 2-in-1 laptop. It's a brilliant design, and worth the price. I don't believe for a second that it's cannibalizing SP4 sales, or the other way around. No way. Different products, different audiences. Different price ranges.

I can understand launching a traditional notebook as a parallel design, but not as a replacement, no way.
I have owned a surface 3 (10"), and now a surface pro 4….I was going to get a surface book partly because it is much more like a laptop in that it will sit more stably on your lap and it is a bit more powerful but can be undocked and used as a tablet when say…sitting in bed…*sigh* so many companies come close to making the perfect machine for me and screw it all up right at the end somehow…
Well I guess the surface pro is the 2 in 1