Microsoft Reportedly Targeting June for 8-inch Surface Tablet

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News Posted: Thu, May 16 2013 12:22 PM
Acer tried warning Microsoft that it's not easy competing in the hardware space. Nevertheless, the Redmond outfit threw caution to the wind and introduced the world to its Surface RT and Pro devices, neither of which has shaken up the industry. We can speculate that the cost of entry -- $499 and up -- is a large reason why, and if that's the case, an 8-inch Surface tablet could be just what Microsoft needs.

According to Digitimes, Microsoft is planning to launch an 8-inch version of Surface sometime next month, and a 10.x model in the third quarter of this year. We're a bit more interested in the 8-inch model, however, as it will presumably cost less than the current models.

Surface RT

Based on info Digitimes obtained from supply chain makers in Taiwan, Samsung will supply the touchscreen panels for Microsoft's 8-inch Surface tablet, which will use Nvidia processors. It's not clear if Microsoft plans to use a Tegra 3 or Tegra 4 chip, though the inclusion of an ARM-based SoC (System-on-Chip) tells us it will be a Windows RT device.

Everything is going to come down to the MSRP, and the price to beat is $300. That's the new sticker on Dell's XPS 10, which was recently reduced from $450.

What do you think is a fair price for an 8-inch Windows RT tablet?
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I wonder if they will also update the pro to haswell at the end of june

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RiCoFrost replied on Thu, May 16 2013 7:42 PM

Better not be RT, with Atom being so cheap there is no point making any more RT's.

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JDiaz replied on Fri, May 17 2013 3:06 PM

Well, it depends what's going to happen to RT after the Code Blue (Windows 8.1) upgrade... Basically, RT is included in the update and the basic rumor is that MS is merging RT back with Windows 8...

Exactly what that means hasn't been explained yet but could mean that aside from the limitations of running on ARM instead of x86 that the experience may be more like regular Windows instead of the stripped down experience that RT originally provided.

Mind that the hardware capabilities of ARM is better this time around... Cortex A15 both provides significantly more performance but also supports features like hardware accelerated virtualization...

So MS may now feel they don't have to block options that could take advantage of emulations, binary translation layers, etc. to allow more than just ARM optimized software to run... along with not having to strip down the OS to make it light enough to run on less powerful hardware...

Mind also that until Intel comes out with Bay Trail by the end of the year that quad Cortex A15 ARM SoCs can provide more total performance than ATOM Clover Trail can right now...

ARM also still clearly dominates the mobile market and if MS wants to compete in that market they still need to show they can provide a good alternative... at least until Intel gets a larger share of the market... So I don't see MS giving up on that quite yet... Though they could always just make a tablet optimized version of their WP8 instead...

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