704 300 850 LINKEDIN 53 COMMENTMORE

Microsoft unveiled the Surface Pro 3 tablet at an event in New York on Tuesday, as it attempts to fuel interest in its struggling tablet line amid increasing competition.

Panos Panay, corporate vice president with Microsoft's Surface division, says the goal of the device is to "take away the conflict" between owning a laptop and a tablet.

"This is the tablet that can replace your laptop," Panay said. The Intel Core-powered tablet measures 0.36 inches thick, boasts a 12-inch screen and weighs just under 2 pounds. The device will include an upgraded kickstand, bending down to display the tablet as far as a 150-degree angle.

Five models of the Surface Pro 3 will be available, starting at $799 for a tablet with 64 GB of storage, Intel Core i3 processor and 4 GB of RAM, climbing all the way to $1,949 for the top model with 512 GB of storage, an Intel Core i7 processor and 8 GB of RAM.

Along with the tablet, Microsoft will launch an updated, thinner type cover that protects the screen and provides a keyboard with an improved trackpad.

Panay demonstrated multiple ways to use the Surface Pro 3, from setting it on your lap and typing like a laptop to writing on it with a pen like a notepad.

"Removing that barrier to technology is critical to making it great," said Panay, about the vision for the tablet.

In opening remarks, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said the goal of Microsoft's "mobile-first" hardware ambitions is to "build together experiences that bring together all the capabilities of our company."

"It starts with this obsession for every individual and organization to do more and be more," said Nadella.

The tablet announcement comes as Microsoft struggles to sell its Surface tablet in a market dominated by companies such as Apple with its iPad and Samsung with its lineup of Android-powered tablets.

However, Forrester analyst J.P. Gownder says the Surface Pro 3 should bolster Microsoft's odds in cracking the competitive space. "The weight, battery life, flexible kickstand, active stylus, and other features sound incremental but, taken together, make the new Surface a formidable market competitor — lighter than a MacBook Air, more full-featured than an iPad," he says.

It's been quite a honeymoon for new Microsoft CEO Nadella. The executive, named to the top position in February, has continued the strategic shifts begun under predecessor Steve Ballmer.

But Nadella has also managed to put his own stamp on the company's messaging and tactics, and the reward has been a bump in the stock price. Now comes the hard part: managing Microsoft's substantial investments in hardware and mobile devices.

Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @bam923.

704 300 850 LINKEDIN 53 COMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/1njGB7e