Power Cover: Microsoft's keyboard cover for the Surface with a built-in battery

It was only yesterday that Neowin was able to pull back the covers on the Surface Pro 2 and highlight some of the features of Microsoft’s upcoming tablet.  While the specs are looking like a modest upgrade to the Surface Pro, Microsoft is about to introduce a new cover for the tablet that will include a built-in battery.

Microsoft is working on a new cover that will attach to the Surface and extend the battery life of the device. The optional add-on, known as the "Power Cover," will include an external battery that will help increase the longevity of the device. The combination of a Power Cover and the upcoming Surface Pro 2 should for an all-day computing device, given the tablet's Haswell chip that will already extend battery life.

Seeing as the cover will have a battery in it, we will be curious to see if it is more rigid than the Type Cover. Currently, even the Type Cover is a bit flexible for our taste when using the Surface Pro. While it works well on hard surfaces, using the Type Cover on your lap results in just enough flexing that leaves room for improvement.

While we don’t have a release date for the Power Cover, we have heard whispers that it may not launch with the Surface Pro 2 and could come at a later, unspecified date. No pricing details were revealed to Neowin.

The Power Cover might be backwards compatible, meaning it may work with the current Surface Pro, but we are hearing that it will definitely not work with existing Surface RT devices.

The dock on the current Surface Pro/RT is highly underused, and we hope that Microsoft will some day license out the port to expand the Surface accessory options. It is good to see that Microsoft is working to expand upon the current ports functionality, as we feel it is a unique offering Microsoft should extrapolate upon with peripherals.

As for now, the Power Cover is looking to be a solid companion to the Surface lineup and we will be quite curious to see how much additional life it will add to the tablet.

Additionally, Paul Thurrott has confirmed everything we said above and posted a few more tidbits worth checking out too.

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If they DONT release this "Power Cover" alongside the Surface (Pro) 2's release, it will be a mistake.
People (new adopters) will be upset that they will have to by one of the 2 other covers, only to have to shell out more $$ down the line to get this. Here's to hoping Microsoft gets this right.

If its got own power, it should have backlight, otherwise not interesting, Chiclet style, Yoga/Revolve/similar...

But The Surface is meant to be a tablet? Can the cover be folded back behind the surface so it can be used like a real tablet with the extra battery still engaged?

The new powered cover must add weight and bulk, thats no good.

Hope this is backwards compatible. It would be a failure to not make it so, especially since they said it was possible with the original surface to make this accessory. Can't wait for leaks to show up for this product.

Kind of scared what the pricing will look like though. I think I could handle $100-$150, $300 and I will throw a fit.

I hope this time around they will release it worldwide.. When will Microsoft learn its not a zoo out there, people do live outside of US

gebs said,
I hope this time around they will release it worldwide.. When will Microsoft learn its not a zoo out there, people do live outside of US

Not much they can do about it. Exporting takes time.

They really should stop this staggered delivery of devices and accessories. All devices and all accessories available simultaneously gives the consumer maximum choice and certainty.

This announcement truly is a welcome addition to Surface line. I won't mind going with cheaper Surface Pro (not Haswell one) when price go down to make room for 4th generation Intel.

"The Power Cover might be backwards compatible, meaning it may work with the current Surface Pro, but we are hearing that it will definitely not work with existing Surface RT devices."

Doesn't matter, nobody bought one anyway LOL

CygnusOrion said,
1.5 million people beg to differ.

seriously 1.5 million? I honestly thought it was way more than that! damn that's really bad

glen8 said,
seriously 1.5 million? I honestly thought it was way more than that! damn that's really bad

I suppose sales of the Surface Pro with its pathetic 4-5 hour battery life and $899 price tag are better, are they?

neo158 said,

I suppose sales of the Surface Pro with its pathetic 4-5 hour battery life and $899 price tag are better, are they?

I'm not sure how many pros have been sold to be honest

I love the Type Cover! This Power Cover sounds awesome, I hope they are able to make it a bit more rugged while keeping it very light like the Type Cover, but I'm sure it'll be heavier with the battery unfortunately.

Sl@yer said,
yawn, Asus did this on their now discontinued VIVOTab RT product.

and dell, but they were too expensive imho

I think lots of people say this being made at some point, no surprise here. Just wonder how thick it will be in the end and how much extra battery time do you get?

MS should not have produced RT to begin with. Such a horrible device with no love from anyone except Fanboys. RT has no compatibility with power cover. MS should do fire sale of RT for $99 or better give it free with purchase of MS mouse.

Auditor said,
MS should not have produced RT to begin with. Such a horrible device with no love from anyone except Fanboys. RT has no compatibility with power cover. MS should do fire sale of RT for $99 or better give it free with purchase of MS mouse.

Spoken like someone who has never used Surface RT, enjoy your 4 hours battery life (5 hours with the battery cover). Your comment is especially stupid seeing as the RT gets double the battery life of the Pro!!!!

Auditor said,
MS should not have produced RT to begin with. Such a horrible device with no love from anyone except Fanboys. RT has no compatibility with power cover. MS should do fire sale of RT for $99 or better give it free with purchase of MS mouse.
While I agree with you, you do realize that you just opened a can of "flame"? It takes a special person to accept "flame". I will anoint you if you can handle this test. Good luck soldier!

ModernMech said,

it's called a troll.

Not necessarily. Many innocent victims get flamed for stating their opinion. An strong opinion on a public forum is not a troll.

Auditor said,
MS should not have produced RT to begin with. Such a horrible device with no love from anyone except Fanboys. RT has no compatibility with power cover. MS should do fire sale of RT for $99 or better give it free with purchase of MS mouse.

Couldn't disagree with you more. The Surface RT already has good battery life, and it has performance for what most people are going to be using it for -- web browsing, games, media playback, etc.

Auditor said,
MS should not have produced RT to begin with. Such a horrible device with no love from anyone except Fanboys. RT has no compatibility with power cover. MS should do fire sale of RT for $99 or better give it free with purchase of MS mouse.

Wrong. You obviously did not own or use one. I'll admit I had that mindset about RT, but I bought the Surface RT at the reduced price and feel ashamed for bashing it. It's an amazing device that blows all other tablets out of the water, especially with the 8.1 Preview installed. My friends with iPads/Android tablets can't do most of the things the Surface RT can do. Try it out for yourself and you'll realize it's a great device.

Auditor said,
MS should not have produced RT to begin with. Such a horrible device with no love from anyone except Fanboys. RT has no compatibility with power cover. MS should do fire sale of RT for $99 or better give it free with purchase of MS mouse.

So, double the Pro's battery life to 10 hours, which I get with my RT OOB. Shut up, man.

neo158 said,
enjoy your 4 hours battery life (5 hours with the battery cover). Your comment is especially stupid seeing as the RT gets double the battery life of the Pro!!!!

Haswell in the SP2 should give dramatic battery life improvements.

j2006 said,

Wrong. You obviously did not own or use one. I'll admit I had that mindset about RT, but I bought the Surface RT at the reduced price and feel ashamed for bashing it. It's an amazing device that blows all other tablets out of the water, especially with the 8.1 Preview installed. My friends with iPads/Android tablets can't do most of the things the Surface RT can do. Try it out for yourself and you'll realize it's a great device.

Wrong...I bought one (actually I bought three)

ASUS ME400C
Dell XPS 10
Surface RT (through college)

Worst tablet I've ever used. Brilliant laptop machine in a tablet case, but as a tablet...it failed hard!

If it's back ward compatible thru all Surface Pro or RT, Why NOT!!!

Anthony Tosie said,

Couldn't disagree with you more. The Surface RT already has good battery life, and it has performance for what most people are going to be using it for -- web browsing, games, media playback, etc.

Auditor said,
MS should not have produced RT to begin with. Such a horrible device with no love from anyone except Fanboys. RT has no compatibility with power cover. MS should do fire sale of RT for $99 or better give it free with purchase of MS mouse.

at $99 it would be a good punt. If you can put up with the major flaws in the OS, limited apps and aren't bothered investing in the media side of the MS exosystem it would be worth it. The MS built in apps are really good (news, weather etc etc)

JHBrown said,
Not necessarily. Many innocent victims get flamed for stating their opinion. An strong opinion on a public forum is not a troll.

His opinion is not a strong opinion. It came in strong and obnoxious, but the context ...not even that close. The context was begging to be flamed.

JHBrown said,
Not necessarily. Many innocent victims get flamed for stating their opinion. An strong opinion on a public forum is not a troll.

It is when you recognize the same account posting the same opinion on practically every article. This OP is one that deserves no benefit of doubt.

Trolling happens a lot here and elsewhere on the internet. For me, trolling is when a person decides to post a remark that is inflammatory. Its not about posting an opinion, its about how that opinion is shared.

Unfortunately, many times a person that is trolling does not get called out for it because others might agree with his statement. Every product has two extreme sides that do this stuff.

trooper11 said,
Trolling happens a lot here and elsewhere on the internet. For me, trolling is when a person decides to post a remark that is inflammatory. Its not about posting an opinion, its about how that opinion is shared.

Unfortunately, many times a person that is trolling does not get called out for it because others might agree with his statement. Every product has two extreme sides that do this stuff.

Well said trooper!

I expected this chirping from people whose heart get broken by mere stating an opinion. I am sure they would have many sleepless nights when they would have find out $900 Million write off on Surface by MS. It does not bother me at all other people stating their opinion as I don't care if they agree or disagree with me.

Back to the topic. Surface RT is not backward compatible with power cord, as it is stated. If there is any new breakthrough in battery tech, RT won't be able to use it as compared to Pro. RT is unwanted sacrificial product of MS which was designed to be a flop to begin with, so people comparing between Pro and RT can clearly see the benefits of pro over RT.

Except that your completely wrong. If it was unwanted from MS' perspective, they wouldn't be producing the Surface 2, another RT based tablet. So it will be the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 this fall. MS is just dropping the RT in the name.

The fact that the battery cover will not work with the Surface RT isn't a killer since its issues were not battery life. The Pro model has been criticized for that, not RT.

If MS can get the pricing right, an arm based Windows tablet can do well. But, MS will have to accept slow growth until the Win 8 app store is up to par. That means they have to push forward releasing new hardware on a regular schedule, even if the previous model isn't sell a ton. It sucks to lose money, but if MS wants to be in the tablet market, then it has to be willing to drop money similar to what they have done for Xbox.

It seems like people don't get how much of an uphill battle it is for MS to take on Apple and Google in the tablet space. Regardless of how good Win 8/Metro is, that would not be enough to suddenly get the general public to adopt them over Android or iOS since both of those are good in their own right. So if anyone want to be a serious player, they have to be willing to lose money for a least a little while as they establish their own market.

Look at WP for that same story. I'm sure you guys want to trash it, but its seen slow, but steady growth worldwide. MS is on track to have a substantial piece of the pie as long as they keep pushing forward.

MS strategy with tablet and particularly with RT has been hugely flawed to begin with. Tablet market is getting mature and saturated and MS just started the race. Huge write off and general aversion of people with MS tablet are some of the biggest hurdle which MS has to overcome and it does not look very successful with their current strategy.

Surface tablet is way overpriced POS with limited functionality and dearth of applications. MS with its huge pocket can afford to keep throwing money at it hoping that it might stick to the wall but it definitely can't go forever. Competitors are gaining ground in tablet at much faster rate than MS gaining ground at the expense of Blackberry.

Now the thing to watch out is, how long MS is willing to keep loosing money on their tablet product. They had a head start in tablet since 2000 and they did not hold any ground and even today they do not hold any significant ground in tablet as well.

MS had so many failed consumer product from Zune to Kin and many more but they refuse to learn from their mistakes and keep changing course of action as recent example is Xbone 180. MS has been pushing their Bing search aggressively for more than 12 years and trying various kind of tactics to increase their market share but still they could not cross 20% search share.

The problem with MS, particularly with tablet, is that they don't hold monopoly as they had in traditional desktop market. There are two other well established competitor who have better product and higher flexibility to change their product course than MS. MS in a last ditch attempt tried to shoe horn their tablet interface on traditional desktop interface and in this process they are loosing market share on both areas.

MS is still stuck in a past glorious days where every OEM bowed to their demands and followed where MS wanted them to be. But tablet is completely different game and MS has no viable strategy to tackle this issue. This is one of the reason, you are seeing shareholders forcing MS to kick out all those inefficient and old management teams in a desperate attempt to bring company back in action. Now how much they will succeed in this effort, only time can tell that.

I agree about pricing and most of the points you made, but as I said, I think there are some simple ways to improve the situation. The issue is time. If the app situation is a big problem, that is only cured with time. I remind you of Androids slow start. As long as MS continues to aggressively go after developer support, then the Win 8/RT app issue can be resolved.

Win 8.1 is another sign that MS knows it must continue to improve the OS side in order to foster app growth and user adoption. This is something else that takes time. I think the first thing they must do is correct the pricing, that is a good first step.

So at the end of the day, it comes down to MS being forced to take losses if they truly want to be part of the market. You may believe that they have no chance, but its hard for me to say that based on current sales since I have seen other companies and other products start out slow and then get over the hump to become serious competitors.

You mention that MS doesn't have the monopoly to lean on in these areas and I agree. I said as much in my reply that a reason adoption is so slow is that MS is competing against not one, but two entrenched competitors with strong user bases. Both Apple and Google own the phone and tablet markets. MS had to come in from scratch, with 0% market share in both markets.

What I don't get is why people don't see that reality. The fact hat MS is in the game as much as it is fairly amazing considering they have no monopoly to leverage and had a lot going against them. Its more like people want MS to give up, so they ignore what could happen if they keep pushing and make changes that improve the situation. This isn't about trying to say MS is better than everyone else, but more about the realities that any company would face in these markets. MS is one of the few companies left that have any chance to be serious in these two markets thanks to their deep pockets and success in other markets.

MS can apply all the strategies it could and neither I am nor anyone else can really comment with certainty about the future of MS tablet. Who knows in what direction wind will blow in future but one thing is certain that MS current tablet strategy is not working as Surface has very poor sales number and apps for Surface are not very good either.

Overall in my opinion, the hybrid strategy of combining Desktop and Tablet is fundamentally flawed. It's like combining truck and hatchback together which makes it hybrid but good for nothing.

Auditor said,
MS can apply all the strategies it could and neither I am nor anyone else can really comment with certainty about the future of MS tablet. Who knows in what direction wind will blow in future but one thing is certain that MS current tablet strategy is not working as Surface has very poor sales number and apps for Surface are not very good either.

Overall in my opinion, the hybrid strategy of combining Desktop and Tablet is fundamentally flawed. It's like combining truck and hatchback together which makes it hybrid but good for nothing.

This^

The problem with not going hybrid is fairly similar to going hybrid. Lets say MS split the OS, how would that work exactly?

I think what your talking about is splitting the UI, not the OS itself. So on tablets, its only the Metro UI and on desktops its only the desktop. You remove the desktop ui from tablets and remove the Metro UI from desktops. Trying to create two core os platforms would be a waste in my opinion. You would still be starting from scratch to create an app eco system for tablets.

Its as if the idea is that adding Metro to Windows 8 took away the desktop, but the reality is that it didn't. If it did fundamentally break the desktop ui, then why is it so easy for 3rd party apps to restore the small list of features some people miss?

No the problem is not the hybrid approach, its the execution. Basically, MS mixed the UIs too much for many people on the desktop side. If MS had treated the metro UI like Windows Media Center, then I have my doubts that anyone would be complaining about having both UIs built into one OS. Windows Media Center is basically the father of Metro, it was an alternative UI for windows, but it was completely optional and could be enabled if you wanted to use it. If MS had stuck to that for Metro, no complaints. But they felt they needed to show it off, even if it was just in form of the Start Screen.

Unfortunately, that has angered many in the tech media and in the internet community, which has filtered down to the general users. So MS is walking that back with 8.1, making it easier to opt out of using Metro. There is a happy medium in this argument and I think MS will get there. I just don't think the right choice is to scrap it and try to create two OSes. Just as WP is moving towards Windows 8, this isn't the time to be stating from scratch again.

Mordkanin said,
Haswell in the SP2 should give dramatic battery life improvements.

But still nowhere near the 8-10 hours battery life the Surface RT gets. Intel can't create a low power processor without the ARM architecture and they know it so I'm not sure why you all go on about Haswell like it'll be the second coming, it won't!!!

sM4llziE said,
The Question: Will it work on current generation Surface devices?

The Power Cover might be backwards compatible, meaning it may work with the current Surface Pro, but we are hearing that it will definitely not work with existing Surface RT devices.

Question is why can't you read?

Likely will on the current Pro, but not the RT (As stated in the article)

The reason is that MS upgraded the dock connector on the Pro, so that the centering nibs could be used to conduct electricity for just such an accessory

Sraf said,
Likely will on the current Pro, but not the RT (As stated in the article)

The reason is that MS upgraded the dock connector on the Pro, so that the centering nibs could be used to conduct electricity for just such an accessory

Exactly, not only that but with 8-10 hours battery life I don't think the RT needs an extra battery!!!!

Ryan Bowden said,

Question is why can't you read?

No need for that. Many people are in a rush and skip over some details in an article. I give him the benefit of the doubt.