Microsoft's docking station Surfaces online before due date

Now you see it, now you don't

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Microsoft's docking station for its Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 tablets recently made a brief unscheduled appearance on the company's online store before being taken down.

The second-generation Surface tablets are on sale now, but the docking station isn't due to be released until early 2014, alongside a new Power Cover designed to top up battery life on the go.

The gaffe was picked up by ZDNet, which was tipped off by an eagle-eyed Microsoft customer who successfully ordered four Surface docking stations and had them delivered two days later. Unfortunately the trick can no longer be repeated as Microsoft's website now lists the accessory as out of stock.

In the dock

The docking station promises to turn the Surface Pro 2 and Surface Pro into fully-fledged PCs when inserted. It provides one USB 3.0 port and three USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet port and 3.5mm audio jack.

There's also a DisplayPort that will help you connect the dock up to a monitor or television so that you can view your Surface tablet's contents on a bigger screen. It's set to retail retail at $199 (around £123, or AU$207) upon release.