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New Surface tablet hits Taiwan in Aug.

TAIPEI -- The newest iteration of Microsoft Corp.'s first foray into computer hardware, the Surface Pro 3, will be landing on store shelves in Taiwan by the end of August.

Microsoft unveiled the 12-inch successor to its flagship Windows tablet computer Tuesday in New York, promising to roll it out to 28 countries before September.

Taking aim at both Apple Inc.'s iPad tablets and MacBook Air lightweight laptops, the Surface Pro 3 has a greater-than full-HD screen with 2160 x 1440 resolution. The 12-inch screen size is 38 percent bigger than its predecessor and features with 50 percent more pixels.

In the U.S., the new tablets will be priced up from US$799 for a model powered by Intel Corp.'s entry-level Core i3 processor. Other models will include a variety of storage sizes and the higher-end Core i5 and i7 processors, with the top of the line going for a whopping US$1,949.

Microsoft said at the unveiling that the Surface Pro 3 will be available for purchase in U.S. and Canadian stores June 20, followed later in China, France, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand and the United Kingdom.

“In designing Surface, we wanted to design a device that can marry the power of the full PC without compromising the sleek finish, elegant look and feel, light weight, thinness, and great battery life that we expect from a tablet,” said Panos Panay, corporate vice president for Surface Computing at Microsoft.

“As we worked on Surface Pro 3, we took what we learned from our previous products and from customers and drove some key technologies forward to really get PC scenarios right alongside the critical features of a tablet,” Panay said.

The Surface series is key to Microsoft's plan to transform itself into a devices and services company, despite a mounting inventory of first-generation models.

The world's largest software company unexpectedly took a US$900 million hit for unsold Surface RT tablets — which run only a stripped-down version of Windows — in the second quarter of 2013, causing the company to fall short of revenue and profit expectations.

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