Handheld Devices

Reports: Power Cover to add battery boost to Surface tablets

Microsoft is reportedly preparing a "Power Cover," a keyboard cover for the Microsoft Surface tablet with a built-in battery.

Reports by both Neowin and WinSupersite claim that the Power Cover will extend the battery life of the Surface Pro by an undisclosed amount, although any additional battery

life will come as a bonus. Neither site disclosed a price or a ship date, although the word seems to be that the Power Cover will be released after the Surface 2 and mimic the existing Type Cover (at top of story), not the less-expensive Touch Cover.

Microsoft representatives declined to comment.

About the only hard details that either site provided were the weight: 1.1 pounds, which would increase the total weight of the Surface Pro (already at about 2 pounds) by about a third. That would make the Surface Pro slightly heavier than the Samsung Series 9 NP900X3E-A02 Ultrabook, for example, which has up to eight hours of battery life.

Current battery life

Although its battery life is rated at about five hours, the Microsoft Surface tablet usually comes in at about three hours of battery life, depending on how it is managed, the brightness of the screen, and other factors.

But adding an external battery to that already in the tablet is a practice that's been used by the Kensington PowerBack --which adds an external battery and a kickstand to the Apple iPad--as well as so-called "two-in-one" or convertible PCs, which combine a removable tablet with a keyboard dock with an embedded battery inside.

It's likely that the Power Cover will use a mysterious connector on the side of the Surface tablet--well, not so mysterious, given that Microsoft representatives had hinted that the connector could be used for exactly that.

While the additional battery life is a welcome addition--my "Ivy-Bridge" powered ThinkPad Twist has a battery life measured at about four hours or so when carefully power managed--the additional weight for a Surface may prove problematic to some.

If the weight of a Power Cover plus a Surface tablet puts it in the neighborhood of an Ultrabook--and if they're priced at about the same--what form factor will users gravitate toward?


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