Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 Tablet Arrives in More Markets

Microsoft's latest tablet ventures beyond the U.S., Canada and Japan to go on sale in 25 more markets.

Surface Pro 3

Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 tablet is now available in more regions beyond the United States, Canada and Japan.

Microsoft began making the latest version of its business-friendly tablet available to 25 additional markets, starting with New Zealand, the company announced in an Aug. 27 statement. Unlike the staggered launch of the Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 versions in the United States, all three processor options are immediately available for purchase in the new territories. The Surface Pro 3 Docking Station will follow suit on Sept. 12.

Buyers can now pick up a Surface Pro 3 in Australia, Austria, Belgium, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Luxembourg, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand and the United Kingdom.

Surface Pro 3 first debuted this past May at a press event in New York City that was surprising not only for the device that wound up appearing on stage, but also for what didn't show up.

Defying expectations, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Panos Panay, head of the company's Surface division, introduced a larger, 12-inch successor to the Surface Pro 2 instead of the long-rumored Surface Mini. For comparison's sake, the Surface Pro 2, which is still on sale, ships with a 10.6-inch touch screen.

Microsoft considers the Surface Pro 3 a no-compromise tablet that supports both mobile work styles and full-blown desktop productivity.

"So many people carry both a laptop and a tablet but really want just one device that serves all purposes," said Panay in a May 20 statement. "Surface Pro 3 is the tablet that can replace your laptop—packing all the performance of a fully powered laptop into a thin, light and beautifully designed device."

A Microsoft-commissioned survey of 2,900 professionals in eight Asia Pacific markets (Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan and Thailand) suggests that there is pent-up demand for such a device in several of the new Surface Pro 3 territories.

A majority of respondents (79 percent) admitted to toting around bulging gadget bags as a consequence of owning three or more types of devices. Seventy-two percent of those who did not own a tablet had trouble finding a device that met their needs. Half considered themselves mobile professionals and largely work outside the confines of a desk.

The Apple Factor

Rather than aim for the market-leading iPad, Microsoft pits the PC-like tablet against another Apple product, the MacBook Air. In its continuing campaign against Apple's svelte laptop, the company reminded in a statement that the "Surface Pro 3 is still 30 percent thinner and 26 percent lighter than an 11-inch MacBook Air—and 40 percent lighter than the 13-inch MacBook Air."

Incidentally, Apple may soon respond with a super-sized, enterprise-grade tablet of its own, not to mention a new business app ecosystem with the help of a business IT titan.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based device maker is reportedly working on a larger iPad with a screen as large as 12.9 inches. And on July 15, the company announced a partnership with IBM. "For the first time ever, we're putting IBM's renowned big data analytics at iOS users' fingertips, which opens up a large market opportunity for Apple. This is a radical step for enterprise and something that only Apple and IBM can deliver," said Apple CEO Tim Cook in a televised interview on CNBC.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...