Microsoft is reportedly preparing two new Surface tablets for launch next month.
According to rumours posted by Digitimes, there will be a new 9 inch Surface tablet on sale over the summer, and a new 7 inch device too. Together they would open up a brand new market to Microsoft – a market that demands smaller, more affordable devices. In fact, the two new tablets would allow Microsoft to compete with a range of tablet PCs that have already proven themselves in that area, from the Nexus 7 to the iPad mini and the Kindle Fire.
According to the Digitimes article, production is already in full swing; Microsoft has secretly produced up to 1.5 million units in the last four months, according to insiders. That’s a fairly conservative amount, but it does suggest a launch could be imminent.
Microsoft Surface has, so far, mainly been marketed at corporate clients; that’s reflected by its premium price tag and the optional keyboard covers. However, the new tablets could mark a different direction and a move towards the home market. Crucially, a smaller Surface could be Microsoft’s ticket into the lucrative world of tablet gaming.
The original, full-sized Surface RT famously didn’t sell particularly well, and the top-end Surface Pro model has a RRP of $899, putting it well out of the reach of the average gadget enthusiast. Even though the Pro runs Windows 8 rather than RT, it makes a lot of compromises in its quest to be the best of tablet and desktop PC. Storage is limited, and bundled software is conspicuous by its absence.
The new 7 inch and 9 inch Surface tablets could be unveiled within the next eight weeks. Microsoft is hosting its Build Developer Conference in San Francisco from June 26th until June 28th. Given that it’s a massive hackathon event for app developers, it would be the ideal opportunity for Microsoft to grab some headlines with some new mini-hardware.