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Microsoft Teasing Two New Surface Models for Fiscal 2014

By - Source: ZDNet | B 20 comments

During day three of Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference, Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner said that fiscal 2014 will be the company's biggest "innovation year" ever. He also displayed a slide showing a collection of product launch points including Skype, Windows Phone, Office, Dynamics and even Surface.

According to ZDNet, Microsoft plans to release new Surface accessories and accessory colors. The slide also revealed an update to Surface RT and Surface Pro themselves, but it was unclear whether that meant firmware-type monthly updates or a whole new set of hardware – the slide didn't specify. Other reports have taken this as a sign that new Surface tablets will arrive within the next twelve months, and they're probably right.

There's a good chance the next Surface Pro will be based on Intel's new "Haswell" fourth-generation Core processors given that the chips are now appearing in Windows 8-powered Ultrabooks. As for the next-generation Surface RT, last month reports surfaced (no pun intended) that Microsoft has added Qualcomm as a Surface RT supplier. Sources indicated that the Snapdragon 800 will be the chip of choice for the LTE models while Nvidia will likely supply Tegra 4 for the Wi-Fi only models.

Back in May, an unnamed source said that Microsoft is shooting to sell 25 million Surface devices in the 2014 fiscal year. By comparison, the company only sold less than 1 million units within the first quarter of the 2013 calendar year (January to March). To do this, the company plans to aggressively push the devices in enterprise, retail and education sectors. The company also wants Surface to become the top tablet choice of its distribution partners. There will even be a variety of form factors including an 8 inch model.

"Surface success is a top company priority in consumer and commercial, retail and broader, ARM and x86, growth and profit, and devices and accessories," an internal document states.

As for Skype, Turner talked about support for large meetings, support for enterprise voice, and integration with Outlook.com (which is already available in preview form) and Office 365. For Windows Phone, Microsoft plans a Start screen "innovation", a hint of "killer hardware" and a common app platform across all Windows-based devices, even the Xbox One. Microsoft also plans to finally release Office apps for Windows Store in fiscal 2014.

Turner also reportedly said that Microsoft will have a total of 101 brick-and-mortar stores by the end of (fiscal) 2014, a combination of full-size shops and specialty stores. Currently Microsoft has more than 75 stores located throughout the U.S. and Canada, a factor that was reportedly one of the causes for slow Surface RT sales last fall. The company also plans to launch stores in China in fiscal 2014 as well.

Microsoft's 2014 fiscal year began July 1, 2013.

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  • 3 Hide
    stevejnb , July 12, 2013 11:11 AM
    All good and fine, but what they really need to do is offer *substantially* better pricing. The Surface products, even the RT, are fine products for certain price points which they are *far* above. The Pro is a great product, but competitors are offering similarly great products for up to $200'ish less. The RT, while it is basically a "toy" tablet like iOS and Android devices, has a less robust app store and not nearly the brand name - but is priced at the top of the heap. That thing should be $250'ish *tops* at this point in time otherwise an Android tablet just makes more sense.
  • 1 Hide
    samwelaye , July 12, 2013 11:14 AM
    Cmon microsoft, make a Surface with Kabini or Bay Trail!!
  • 3 Hide
    ojas , July 12, 2013 11:22 AM
    "Gees, Brain, what do want to do tonight?"

    "Same thing we do every night, Pinky: Try to take over the world!"
  • Display all 20 comments.
  • -1 Hide
    halcyon , July 12, 2013 11:56 AM
    I'm still not sure why I would want a Surface tablet as opposed to an Android or iOS tablet. I can handle Office files well on both Android and iOS as well as having access to the plentiful app stores they offer. What does Surface have to offer?
  • 5 Hide
    stevejnb , July 12, 2013 12:05 PM
    Quote:
    I'm still not sure why I would want a Surface tablet as opposed to an Android or iOS tablet. I can handle Office files well on both Android and iOS as well as having access to the plentiful app stores they offer. What does Surface have to offer?


    A Pro tablet offers a *lot* more power than any Android device I've ever used. On top of that, full regular Windows support, offering the ability for the tablet to basically turn into a full traditional Windows PC with an HDMI/VGA cable, a mouse, and a keyboard, or operate like a media consumption "toy" tablet device. Also, as someone who used an Android tablet as a primary note-taking and work device for almost two years, actual Office running from a traditional Windows desktop is *far* slicker than the several office suites I'd tried. Multitasking is as much better in comparison to "toy" tablets as well as a regular PC desktop's is since, well, it has full Windows on it. On top of that, my Acer Iconia W700 runs full desktop games just dandy (Ciilization V and the new MMO Neverwinter Online), along with any Android app through Bluestacks.

    A lot of people don't need these things and, as such, a Windows 8 pro tablet may not be for them - I find Android to be *excellent* for inexpensive tablets, and I still prefer it for things like text to speech. Pretending like these perks don't exist is probably a case of wilful ignorance though. What a lot of people don't realize is, some of these Widows 8 tablets are basically ultrabooks in an extremely compact form factor, and they can do basically anything an Ultrabook can. I've used Android tablets for years, even iOS through an iPod touch and friends' iPads, and a full Windows 8 tablet blows them both out of the water for functionality.
  • 1 Hide
    mcd023 , July 12, 2013 12:05 PM
    What surface rt has to offer is extended monitor support, support for millions of USB devices out of the box, incredibly rugged build (some have gotten run over by 2 or 3 cars and were fine). Of course, one is more than welcome to get a comparable android or iOS tablet that can do neither of the first 2, but that's fine. And, of course, non-surface tablets have the same software.

    The no desktop apps for the rt really isn't much of a problem. I have a surface pro and the only desktop apps that I use are Visual Studio express builds. Everything else is in a Windows Store app.

    EDIT: probably the only reason I wouldn't get the RT is I don't want to go to a lower resolution screen XD
  • 0 Hide
    stevejnb , July 12, 2013 12:15 PM
    Mc, I have to disagree with you on the "no desktop apps for the rt really isn't much of a problem." With the Pro Windows tablets, you have the ability to plug it into a monitor, mouse, and keyboard, and have it be a full PC. I know this isn't important to everyone, but it is not an insignificant thing for everyone.

    Personally, I don't like having one main work station with several smaller devices offering an inferior work/entertainment experience orbiting it. The Pro tablets, in my eyes, don't compromise function in any notable way - barring stuff like high-end PC graphics - whereas RT tablets do significantly. Being stuck with little but the Windows app store is, at this point, not a great full computing experience in my eyes. Good enough for a fun side device, but not for a device I'd want to use as a primary work station or entertainment hub.
  • 0 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , July 12, 2013 2:02 PM
    They need to come out with the Surface Watch with built-in Kinect and SmartPhone. People stopped wearing watches when SmartPhones came out. I'm pretty sure there'd be a market for putting something like a Smartphone/Tablet in a convenient place..on your wrist.
  • 1 Hide
    burnley14 , July 12, 2013 3:20 PM
    I want to buy a surface tablet, I really do. But what I need is the performance/specs/functionality of the Pro in the RT's form factor with RT's battery life at RT's price. Make it happen and I'll buy one on launch day, Microsoft.
  • -1 Hide
    w8gaming , July 12, 2013 3:26 PM
    [The no desktop apps for the rt really isn't much of a problem. I have a surface pro and the only desktop apps that I use are Visual Studio express builds. Everything else is in a Windows Store app.]

    Windows store does not offer enough app that can rival Android or iOS. If you look at the typical usage for Android or iOS, Windows store completely falls flat on that. Without significant advantage such as x86 support, pen support, that typically does not exist for cheaper Android or iOS devices, RT at its current price simply will never be able to compete with sub-$200 devices from Android. That's fine if Microsoft prefers a world where most people have an cheap Android devices, while Windows only exists in the high end Ultrabook segment. Otherwise they have to seriously address the shortcoming in RT, and while they are doing it, put in built-in 3G/LTE support on those device.
  • 0 Hide
    alextheblue , July 12, 2013 5:16 PM
    Quote:
    They need to come out with the Surface Watch with built-in Kinect and SmartPhone. People stopped wearing watches when SmartPhones came out. I'm pretty sure there'd be a market for putting something like a Smartphone/Tablet in a convenient place..on your wrist.
    Only if it has a holographic display. Help me Obi-Watch Kinectobi...
  • 0 Hide
    everygamer , July 13, 2013 5:19 AM
    Unless it is a Surface Pro 2 running Haswell (10" device) I will not be interested.
  • -2 Hide
    Azn Cracker , July 13, 2013 9:16 AM
    they only sold 1 million? i smell a fire sale coming! :D 

    or is that just my fart?
  • 0 Hide
    Marlin Schwanke , July 13, 2013 1:20 PM
    It always amazes me how people compare a premium product with a mainstream or budget product and say one costs too much. A tablet with a Magnesium shell will cost more than Aluminum and certainly more than Plastic. Even with plastics there are better, more expensive materials and finishes.

    Of course a Windows tablet comes with baggage price-wise simply because Windows needs a lot of storage space for itself. My 64GB Windows 8 (not RT) tablet uses 32GB and I get the other 32GB. Your Android tablets might only have 8GB or 16GB installed. I know the 32GB Nexus tablet is around $250 but it is so-so build quality and lacks things like USB ports and SD Card slots.
  • 0 Hide
    stevejnb , July 13, 2013 1:34 PM
    Marlin, while I understand where you're coming from, you have to consider that hardware and software do not have objective cash values, and the old maxim of "everything is worth what its purchaser will pay for it" is pretty much the law here, and this does not work in Microsoft's favour.

    For an average user looking to buy a tablet, they see 64 gb space and even good reasons for only having 2/3 of that free out the gate don't really count - it's misleading advertising, and most people don't care about a host of drivers that make their device that much more functional. Plastic VS Magnesium VS Aluminum - heck, I don't even know what the advantage of magnesium VS aluminum is and I quite enjoy tech, so I wonder what chance the average user has of knowing when they walk into a store for a purchase? If you consider other factors like the three years of collecting iTunes songs that the potential purchaser might have under their belt and that using having no idea what Zune or Microsoft music is, having never even considered the value of multi monitor support, and a whole host of other things... Well, in pure hardware, I actually felt the RT was a better buy than an iPad - even considering the lower resolution screen - but I'm not fool enough to think that your average user agrees with me. All they see is "well, it's not an iPad, which is what everyone I know has and likes, it doesn't have as many apps which is what I've been told by years of marketing is important, and what the heck do I need a USB port on there for? Isn't that a computer thing, not a tablet thing?"

    Everything is worth what the purchaser will pay for it, and the Surface RT name isn't worth a hill of beans, nor are features that the average user has no idea are worth having. What's more, when you actually try and value things on an objective value scale, I as a (depending on your definition) power user feel that full Windows 8 tablets are a *far* better value than Windows RT tablets. Heck, I would have saved under $100 getting a Surface RT compared to the Acer Iconia W700 I'm using now, when you factor in the type cover and other things, and this thing is *way* more functional than an RT tablet.
  • 0 Hide
    azz156 , July 13, 2013 10:14 PM
    no need to dis the poor surface rt, I've had mine since launch and it crapped all over my ipad 2 i had at the time since i can browse my network for anything i need the exact way i do it on my pc, it has a proper browser so i don't get redirected to the "mobile website" every time & i don't need any special adaptors to increase the hdd space. the way i looked at it with my ipad in one hand and the surface rt in the other is that the surface did all the things i usually do on a tab but a hell of alot better like the example i gave above i can browse my network to my media box to watch what ever i got on it but on my ipad i had to setup a streaming service like with the ps3/360 or just copy the files directly to it through itunes, the other is i can create a shared folder on it for when i go on holidays so i can just drag and drop all the files i need onto it without using proprietary software.

    lastly which won me over was i can plug a 4tb hdd into it and a 64 gig micro sd card so i got limitless hdd space unlike the ipads locked 64 gig. as for the apps i don't really care since 90% of em are rubbish.
  • 0 Hide
    rwinches , July 13, 2013 11:35 PM
    Yeah, Go MS follow the Sony/Apple method, we're so cool we can charge a lot more for less features except maybe display.
    Sorry, I think MS is getting ready to jump the shark on this.
    If they want to succeed with business buyers just offer solid reliability, battery life, adequate performance, more storage and low price.
    For the money MS is asking I would much rather have an ultrabook, that said an ultrabook is not a good fit for business.
    MS owns the OS so they should be able to compete, they just need to make a choice on the sale, make money on the OS or make money on the hardware, the correct answer for an OS company is obvious as they have no rep for hardware.
  • 0 Hide
    rwinches , July 14, 2013 11:01 AM
    Ok, they do have the XBOX which they are trying the promote as a computing device, by running 'Win8' on it, but it is still a closed system which is not a good fit for business.
  • 0 Hide
    cknobman , July 15, 2013 7:14 AM
    Quote:
    I'm still not sure why I would want a Surface tablet as opposed to an Android or iOS tablet. I can handle Office files well on both Android and iOS as well as having access to the plentiful app stores they offer. What does Surface have to offer?


    I thought the same thing until I picked up my Surface RT tablet (at a Microsoft event w/touch over for only $99!).
    Since then I gave my Android tablet to my kid cause compared to the RT its a piece of junk.
    I am about 400% more productive with my RT tablet than I was with my Android tablet. At most I used my Android tablet for watching movies and surfing the web but I use my RT tablet for everything!!!

    The Windows app store may be a little lacking but there are some really nice apps in there (Toms Hardware has a good one).

    Office is installed on mine and works great. For all the whiners of RT and "not compatible with x86" the RT has remote desktop which I make excellent use of. I remote into my server and do anything I need that the RT cannot do (which is very little in reality).
  • 0 Hide
    Mashuri Lambana , July 23, 2013 8:58 PM
    new Surface tablets will arrive within the next twelve months, why does it take so long for Ms to release a new updated surface? Intel announce Haswell early June, end of June Apple already launched MacbookAir with Haswell.
    New Surface took a year? Just to replace the processor with new one take a year? Some will argue , it should come w Windows 8.1 which should be released by early September.
    From there we should be able to see updated Surface by Oct at least, perhaps MS should move the manufacturing part to China