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Next-Gen Microsoft Surface Tablet Rumored to Cost $249, Have 8″ Screen

microsoft-surface-tablet-windows-8-540x334[1]Rumors have been circulating for some time now that Microsoft was thinking about making a smaller Windows RT tablet, and earlier this week those rumors coalesced into a new form.

Digitimes is sharing a trio of rumors today (here, here, here) that might tell us a lot about Microsoft’s next tablet. Naturally these rumors should be taken with a grain of salt, but I feel they have a good chance of being true.

According to Digitimes' sources, the new MS Surface tablet is going to use a 7.9″ screen, possibly one made by Samsung. The sources report that LG Display and other firms aren’t yet e included in the panel supplier list for the new device. No screen resolution was mention in the rumor, which I would think was the most important detail.

This theoretical 8″ tablet is also rumored to cost between $250 and $300. The manufacturer is said to be Pegatron Technology, and the new Surface tablet is also rumored to be running on Nvidia’s Tegra CPU. That would fit with the specs of the full-sized 10.6″ Surface RT tablet, which is also using a Tegra CPU.

And last but not least, this tablet is rumored to launch in June. Microsoft is also rumored to be launching a new 10″ Surface tablet in the third quarter.

So are any of these rumors true? I don’t know, but I was expecting an 8″ Surface tablet, and the price and rumored specs are certainly not outside the realm of possibility. These rumors certainly could be true, even if only by accident.

ipad_mini[1]One detail that I have noticed is that the blogosphere has shown relatively little interest in the 8″ Surface tablet. When rumors circulated that other tablets like the iPad or the Kindle Fire might be released in a new size, many tech blogs took a few minutes in Photoshop to make a mockup render showing the rumored tablet. That has not yet happened for the new 8″ Surface RT tablet.

If I were Microsoft, I would be worried. The lack of interest in the blogosphere equates to a lack of buzz, and that will affect sales.

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Smoley May 16, 2013 um 1:28 pm

I think MS really dropped the ball with their RT tablets and missed a tremendous cross platform opportunity. They should have enabled a simple, consumer-oriented Remote Desktop functionality with any Win8 PC over Wi-Fi. That solves the lack of apps problem right there. That RT tablet should be a mobile "window" into the Microsoft infrastructure – your PCs, your Xbox, and your Windows Phone.

fjtorres May 16, 2013 um 5:54 pm

The "problem" is that Win8, in both flavors, is Microsoft returning to their tradition "software leads hardware" development model where the 2013 software really needs 2014 hardware to shine and will still be usable on 2018 hardware. (That is how they operated in the 90’s and early 21st–they only changed with Win7 to accommodate Netbooks.)
The media is making a big stink that Win8 has "failed" because Corporate IT isn’t immediately upgrading their operations to Win8 (conveniently forgetting that Corporate IT *never* immediately adopts any new Windows generation and instead waits for the first service pack (in this case, win8.1) to be fully vetted) or because MS has only sold a few million RT tablets (again, forgetting that except for Apple, nobody has done any better with a new tablet platform).

Give it time, folks.

Odds are the Win8 tablets will pick up traction with the next generation Intel processors later this year and RT tablets will find their place in the market by next spring. Just don’t expect them to match up one-to-one with either current androids or iPads: they are entirely different creatures that will match up one-to-one with iOS8 and maybe Android 7. (Notice how iOS users are getting antsy about how iOS is looking dated? And how Apple is having trouble maintaining backwards compatibility with older iOS apps on the newer hardware because of the limitations of the OS? Well, WinTabs are how iOS8 tablets are going to work, five years from now.)

In other words, Win8 tablets are 2015 software trying to run on 2012 hardware.
(Think of how Win7 runs on P4 hardware. It works okay but doesn’t really shine on anything less than Core2.)
Give it time. Wait for the next wave of Win8 desktop apps, the wave of new GUI-native apps before passing judgement on RT.

Leapfrogging *three* generations in one step is not easy work. Or painless.
Just note that the people that like the Win8tabs *really* like them. Because if you need that kind of Tablet, there is no alternative today nor will there be a match for at least two years.

fjtorres May 16, 2013 um 6:05 pm

I may not have phrased the iOS issues completely clearly: the problem is that iPad hardware is being held back by the need to maintain compatibility with older apps and by the limitations of the dated OS. (Note how instead of merely running their graphics at 720p or 1080p like other tablets with similar CPUs, Apple had to jump straight to Quad XGA, resulting in an iPad 3 that ran hot and needed all its improved GPU power just to drive the screen.)
Right now, Apple is feverishly working on updating iOS but their own "tyranny of the installed base" (in this case, their vintage app catalog) is forcing them to go at it in incremental steps.
Microsoft chose instead to make the transition in one big leap because their legacy tablet installed base (TabletPCs) is small and can be addressed with the desktop mode of the Win8x86 tablets.
It’s a big gamble but when you’re behind, big leaps is how you stop being behind.

Nate Hoffelder May 18, 2013 um 12:48 pm

I would go for one. This would be a good option for a couch tablet that was cheap and as capable as my main laptop.

D Fowler May 18, 2013 um 9:43 pm

Actually there is an RDP app for Windows RT

Nate Hoffelder May 22, 2013 um 9:19 pm

That may be, but I would have made RDP one of the central features of the WinRT platform. A cheap tablet that could log in and make use of an expensive desktop is an idea that sells itself.

charlie May 22, 2013 um 10:01 am

RDP is a built in feature of Windows 8. VPN as well

Sturmund Drang May 16, 2013 um 8:04 pm

Nate, I think you’re right. It most likely wouldn’t matter if Windows 8 didn’t suck. It probably wouldn’t matter if the devices weren’t insanely overpriced. It might not even matter if there were any apps at all to run on the platform. Nobody cares. I work in an IT shop. Last summer I installed the preview Windows 8 on a nice laptop and put it up for everyone to play with. Two guys picked it up and poked at it for a couple of minutes. It’s been off since. Nobody cares. They’ll talk all morning about their tablets and phones. Five years ago there would have been a crowd of them pushing to get to the keyboard. Microsoft 8? Nada. No one cares. I don’t see Microsoft getting past this with any modification of a "me too" product. Even if they gave them away.

Thomas May 16, 2013 um 8:50 pm

I recently had to buy a new laptop, because my old one died from respiratory failure. The new one has Windows 8 on it, and I suddenly understood just why so many people hate it. It’s not just that the new UI is made for a touchscreen, it’s a poor design even for touch. Android is much more intuitive and easier to work with. After a week or so, I finally installed the Classic Shell program to bypass the whole start screen and associated everything with older apps. Now, it’s more or less identical to Windows 7. I get the impression that a lot of other people are doing the same sort of thing, judging by the number of Start apps and programs floating around.

Ellen Hage May 17, 2013 um 8:22 am

Classic Shell? Where is this available? I am so frustrated with Win 8.

Thomas May 17, 2013 um 11:23 am

Classic Shell is an open source utility for Windows 8 that adds back in features removed from earlier versions of Windows.

Or just Google "Classic Shell" and take the top result.

Something MS doesn’t like about Windows, we don’t need an appstore, we have Google.

Ellen Hage May 17, 2013 um 4:35 pm


Sturmund Drang May 17, 2013 um 8:47 pm

I second Ms Hage’s appreciation. My daughter (junior in college) hasn’t decided between Win 8, Apple’s OS, Linux, or having me try to retrofit Win 7 on her next laptop. And she’s really frustrated about having to choose, she liked Win 7. This recommendation gives us another alternative. Thanks much, Thomas.

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