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Microsoft stores to open at midnight for Surface 2 launch

Company once again plans to open up its retail stores in the wee hours to sell to eager Surface 2 buyers.

Microsoft's New York store at last year's Surface launch.
Microsoft's New York store at last year's Surface launch. Getty

Microsoft once again plans to open its retail stores just before midnight to sell the first batch of Surface 2 tablets to early buyers.

Ten of its 70 retail locations (including pop-ups) will host midnight launch parties on October 21, Microsoft said Wednesday. The company also has hired musician Pitbull to perform at its Orlando, Fla., location, where one line-goer who participates in various "head-to-head" games will be "whisked away" to go see the show.

The Surface 2, which debuted last month, comes with Intel's latest chips and boasts better battery life than last year's model. It's also got a new two-position kickstand in the back so that the tablet can be used more easily on laps when connected to Microsoft's keyboard accessory.

Last week the company said preorders for some of its Surface 2 models sold out in the US, though Microsoft did not provide any indication of how many units it had already sold. Onlookers are paying extra attention to sales of and demand for the entry-level (non-Pro) model, which runs Windows RT -- the version of Windows designed for ARM chips. Adoption of RT has been tepid at best, with hardware partners like Dell recently pulling back from the platform.

The midnight sales are not unusual for Microsoft, which did the same thing last October for the original Surface, part of a campaign that included more than 30 pop-up stores.

Here's the official list of stores with "events" this round:

  • Bellevue Square Mall
  • Westfield San Francisco Centre
  • Scottsdale Fashion Square
  • Dadeland Mall (Miami)
  • Lennox Square Mall (Atlanta)
  • The Shops at Prudential Center (Boston)
  • The Westchester (White Plains, N.Y.)
  • The Domain (Austin, Texas)
  • The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City (Arlington, Va.)
  • Oakbrook Center Mall (Oak Brook, Ill.)

Read: Surface 2 declassified: How Microsoft made Surface into the tablet the world said it wanted