(MCT) -- Microsoft holds but a tiny sliver of the worldwide tablet market. It’s hoping its new Surface 3 can make the company a major player. The marketing angle: It’s not just a tablet, it can replace your laptop too.
Selling points include:
—Big screen (12 inches, compared with old Surface’s 10.6)
—More pixels (2,160 by 1,440, up 50 percent)
—3:2 screen ratio (Ditching the 16:9 ratio so it works better when held vertically)
—Windows 8.1 Pro (runs same programs as PC laptop and desktop peers, including Apple iTunes and Adobe Photoshop.)
—4th generation Intel Core processors (same as on desktops and laptops.)
The device also boosts battery life by 10 percent over the previous generation, up to nine hours. The SurfacePro 3 carries an improved kickstand, allowing stand-up angles to 150 degrees, up from the Surface 2’s 22- and 55-degree angles.
The Surface Pro 3 is a bit big for a tablet, but much smaller than most laptops. The gadget weighs in at 1.76 pounds and is 0.36 inches thick, 30 percent thinner than the 11-inch MacBook Air.
Available Tuesday at 9 p.m. PDT on microsoftstore.com, the device goes on sale at Microsoft and Best Buy stores on Wednesday.
Prices start at $799 for an Intel Core i3 model with 64-gigabytes of storage and 4 GB of RAM. The device tops out at $1,949 for an Intel Core i7 model with 512 GB of storage and 8 GB of RAM. A Surface Pen stylus comes with all models; a new Surface Pro Type Cover keyboard will be sold separately for $129.99.
Microsoft first introduced the Surface in 2012. At the end of 2013, according to technology research firm Gartner Inc., Apple iOS devices held a 52.8 percent share of the worldwide tablet market, Android held 45.8 percent andMicrosoft, 1 percent.