Is Microsoft gearing up to launch the next Surface tablet? That seems to be the case according to an unnamed source with Taiwan-based supply chain makers. We’re not talking about the Surface Pro, but the third Windows RT variant that is expected to make a debut in October 2014. Production will allegedly start sometime in August with full production beginning in September.
The source has apparently seen this tablet, as he/she claims that the new 10.6-inch Surface (3) is slimmer and lighter than the Surface 2 and is expected to have better performance in sales than the previous model. The source didn’t elaborate, adding only that Taiwan-based Pegatron will be the only ODM producing this tablet.
The news arrives after Microsoft shelved its plans to launch a Surface “Mini” just months ago. The 8-inch tablet was due to arrive back at the end of May, but Microsoft decided to cancel its showing at the last minute. Instead of a dual showing, Microsoft chose to launch the Surface Pro 3 on its own, which will have a starting price of $799.
News of a Surface 3 means that Microsoft isn’t willing to give up on Windows RT just yet. What wouldn’t be surprising is if this model uses Nvidia’s Tegra K1 chip, as the current Surface 2 uses Nvidia’s speedy quad-core Tegra 4 chip, and the original uses Nvidia’s Tegra 3. Keeping this Surface tablet series in the same processor family just makes a lot of sense.
The launch date of the original tablet was October 26, 2012, followed by the Surface 2 on October 22, 2013. It's possible that the Surface 3 tablet may have something to do with whatever is going on in Q4 2014. Windows 8.1 Update 2 is supposed to arrive in August, and the Windows 9 public beta may arrive in October along with the third Surface tablet. This is all speculation based on rumor, of course.
Why didn’t Microsoft launch the Surface 3 along with the Surface Pro 3 in May? Microsoft may feel that its Windows RT-based solution needs its own space so that consumers aren’t automatically comparing it to the Surface Pro. That’s probably why the source said that Surface 3 will have better sales than the Surface 2: it won’t have to compete with Surface Pro 3.
Regardless, we will find out soon enough in just over two months.