Panos Panay, Corporate Vice President for Surface Computing at Microsoft unveils Suface 2, Surface Pro 2 and accessories at the Surface Event in New York
Panos Panay, Corporate Vice President for Surface Computing at Microsoft unveils Suface 2, Surface Pro 2 and accessories at the Surface Event in New York on Monday, Sept. 23, 2013. (Christopher Lane / AP Images for Microsoft)

NEW YORK (AP) -- Microsoft refreshed its Surface tablet computers Monday, giving them longer battery life and better comfort on laps as the software giant continues its transformation into a devices and services company.

The company said it tried to address many shortcomings of the first-generation Surface models, sales of which have been slow. Microsoft needs to boost its tablet business to make up for sales declines in traditional desktop and laptop computers. IDC is forecasting a nearly 10 percent decline in PC shipments this year. The research firm also said tablets will outsell traditional PCs in the last three months of the year.

The new tablet models come with a better built-in kickstand so they can rest more firmly on users' laps while they sit on the couch. Microsoft is also making a docking station and a wireless mouse for business customers who need the mobility of tablets but also desire the traditional ways of using computers while in the office.

"We've definitely gotten a year smarter," said Brian Hall, general manager of sales and marketing for Surface.

The Surface Pro 2 is targeted at professionals who want the full power of a laptop in a tablet-style device.

A cheaper model, Surface 2, offers a 25 percent improvement in battery life, which means it can get up to 10 hours of use. It also has a better screen compared with last October's Surface RT.


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