Microsoft's new Surface Pro 2 and Surface 2 tablets deliver some cool new features, but not all changes impress.
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The Surface Pro 2 and Surface 2 will ship with Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1, respectively. The OS upgrades will deliver meaningful enhancements to each device. Windows 8.1 will no longer force users to jump between the Modern UI and desktop to access certain controls, for example, and Windows RT 8.1 will support Microsoft Outlook, which, like the rest of the Microsoft Office suite, will come preinstalled. Both versions of the update will also support much more robust multitasking, including the option to snap together more apps in the Modern UI.
That's all great but it doesn't make up for one of the most persistent gripes about the Modern UI's touch apps: they lack both the volume and quantity of those available to Android and iOS tablet users. Microsoft VP Panos Panay touched on this dilemma, and suggested that the Windows Store is on the rise.
The Windows Store is "coming to life," he said, noting that Microsoft's app marketplace debuted last year with about 10,000 apps but now has over 100,000. He said Microsoft understands how to balance quantity and quality, noting that the Windows Store continues to add the most popular titles from other platforms, as well as unique titles. But Microsoft's app offering is still a work in progress -- given that both iOS and Android customers can choose from around 1 million individual titles. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Panay pivoted off of Modern UI apps, tongue firmly in cheek, to "the one app we don't talk about enough: Office!"
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