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Rumor: Surface 3 May Arrive In October

By - Source: DigiTimes | B 18 comments

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.

Follow Kevin Parrish @exfileme. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

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  • 3 Hide
    TechyInAZ , July 29, 2014 8:39 AM
    I love the surface series, but the only way I would ever get an RT version is if Microsoft allowed the ability to install ARM desktop apps natively (not by jail breaking).
  • 0 Hide
    waethorn , July 29, 2014 9:03 AM
    If this is true at all (very doubtful), the only plausible delay reason is probably that Azure RemoteApp wasn't ready yet.
  • 2 Hide
    jeremymcdev , July 29, 2014 9:04 AM
    I would like to see the surface series go the Atom route. You get x86 at the same cost plus you can keep it light and power efficient like the RT version.
  • Add your comment Display all 18 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    jeremymcdev , July 29, 2014 9:04 AM
    The non pro surface series that is.
  • 0 Hide
    Bloob , July 29, 2014 9:23 AM
    While my surface is great for a lot that I do with it, I do miss some great desktop apps on it, especially with the store still being somewhat anemic. Microsofts own solutions for music and video, for example, fall short of what I expect of modern media players.
  • 1 Hide
    falchard , July 29, 2014 9:25 AM
    I would like Microsoft go the AMD route for Surface. You get the correct power envelope for a tablet with the power to actually do stuff.
  • 0 Hide
    red77star , July 29, 2014 10:44 AM
    I tried Surface and that thing is just unusable. Usability fails on both fronts...touch and mouse.
  • 0 Hide
    hannibal , July 29, 2014 12:26 PM
    This is late because Tekra K1 was late. Nvidia Shield tablet was released just a few days ago.
    But I allso would prefer to see atom or AMD APU based windows tablets from Microsoft. They could run all normal windows aplication and allso Modern UI aplications. The Windows tablet is at this moment the ultimate hybrid tablet platform. In pure tablet environment, the competition is quite fierce and MS still has some steps to do until it is at the same level and Android and Apple. It is getting nearer and nearer with each update, but the best reason to use windows tablet has been hybrid usage (tablet/notebook), so why not use that as an standing point?
  • 0 Hide
    hannibal , July 29, 2014 12:31 PM
    @ red77star I have also used Surface tablet (surface pro) and I have found it very good machine! It has it weakness, but as an hybrid it is an its own level at this moment!
    You can use office programs with good keyboard, play normal steam games and still have the portability of tablet.
  • -1 Hide
    RedJaron , July 29, 2014 4:25 PM
    Quote:
    I would like Microsoft go the AMD route for Surface. You get the correct power envelope for a tablet with the power to actually do stuff.

    And just how would they do that? AMD doesn't make an ARM chip yet, and the first ones to come out won't have any graphics support so you'd have to add in some kind of GPU chip which makes them more expensive and complicated.

    If you're talking x86, you're saying a 15W is too high a power envelope for a laptop/tablet hybrid device? The i3 actually goes down to 11.5W. If you want to move to a Temash chip, you drop from 1600 to 1066 RAM, lose 1 MB cache, and top out at 1.4GHz ( compared to 1.5GHz, 2.9GHz, and 3.3GHz. )
  • -1 Hide
    Gabriel Fonseca , July 29, 2014 6:45 PM
    Quote:
    I would like to see the surface series go the Atom route. You get x86 at the same cost plus you can keep it light and power efficient like the RT version.


    Or just use the Atom Z3740D which is technically a Hyperthreaded chip that is X86 and X64 at the same time http://ark.intel.com/products/78416/Intel-Atom-Processor-Z3740D-2M-Cache-up-to-1_83-GHz
  • 0 Hide
    Innocent_Bystander , July 29, 2014 8:03 PM
    Give me a pen and Office for less than a Surface Pro and I'm there.
  • 2 Hide
    kawininjazx , July 30, 2014 6:13 AM
    I love my Surface RT and I'm glad that new ones are coming out so Microsoft still supports RT. It's a great OS.
  • 0 Hide
    1GroovyCoder , July 30, 2014 8:40 AM
    Quote:
    I love my Surface RT and I'm glad that new ones are coming out so Microsoft still supports RT. It's a great OS.

    I agree, for basic tasks like internet browsing, reading pdfs, watching movies and email RT tablet is more than enough.
  • 0 Hide
    maddogfargo , July 30, 2014 12:13 PM
    We got some of ours already. Many of our Pro 2 orders were cancelled by MS in anticipation of the Pro 3 changeover. So we got the 3 ASAP. I deployed 3 yesterday and like them quite a bit. They are lighter, larger screen, with an included stylus, and the kickstand is better. Very pleased so far.
  • 0 Hide
    somebodyspecial , July 31, 2014 4:52 AM
    Google has HTC Nexus 9 coming in Nov with Denver 64bit K1, I hope MS can do this also. However the device will fail if it's not priced near andriod. Previous models have failed mostly due to price, and in surface 1's case the choice of Tegra 1.3ghz when they should have used the 1.7ghz that was available already in a phone before their device launched. Perf would have been FAR better with another 400mhz of tegra3 and IIRC another 100mhz+ on the gpu side too. I don't think you'd have seen reviewers whining about slow perf if they had done that, and at the price they asked for the first surface RT, it is absolutely ridiculous they chose a chip that was probably only saving $5. Tegra 3 was selling for $22-25 to both MS and Google. I doubt there was more than a dollar or two difference for the 1.7ghz version, $5 tops. Surely they could have fit that in that enormous price budget they had. These first two have failed due to MS itself. Priced right the 3rd can sell. Surface pros won't do very well either, I mean $800 minimum for pro 3? I can buy a 15.6in loaded HP laptop with a discrete NV gpu for $900 with a near top end i7.
    http://www.shopping.hp.com/webapp/shopping/cto.do
    i7-4700q, win7, Geforce 740 2GB, 12GB, upgraded screen to 1080p, 1TB HD. $855 and for 8GB instead of 12 you can knock another $75 off ($780 pretty loaded!). WTH would I buy a surface pro 3 for that sucks perf wise for $800 min and top end is $2000! There are more than a few reasons ultrabooks don't sell already, surface pro3 is just worse than those even. I don't get the pricing on these MS products. Are they trying to fail? Anyone with half a brain (so far due to pricing etc) would just buy a laptop like I described above except in very specific situations (a few road warriors maybe that want thin/light?). Why ditch all the power otherwise? You can game a bit on an i7-4700/GT740 with 2GB and 8GB main memory. Surface 3 pro? NOPE. You have to go FAR above $800 to get anywhere near the laptop from HP. It's just stupid.

    I'd expect this thing to be 4GB or more memory, 1080p, K1, 80GB and priced $450, MHL 3.0, USB3, etc in too. Currently the surface 2 with 64GB/2GBmem/T4 is $549. That's $100 too much at least hence poor sales again. Look at what you get with NV's new Shield tablet for $300. I mean c'mon MS. WinRT is worthless compared to android and all it's games/apps, not to mention all the features of shield tablet especially if you have a great PC already. Anything over $450 from surface 3 for the top end will be a problem again (not talking LTE here, that's an addon, just the base top model). I can understand $450 if specs are better than shield, IE 4GB, more storage, larger screen, but not $550 again.
  • 0 Hide
    stevejnb , July 31, 2014 5:38 AM
    Somebodyspecial... While I agree with you on price, and I *personally* agree with you on several other hardware points, do you really think that the average member of your potential tablet audience heard about the announcement of the Surface and said "Oh, that sounds nea... Oh wait - it's using the Tegra 1.3 ghz, not the 1.7 - ok, that's a deal breaker..." The tablet audience doesn't know what 90% of what you mentioned is and is more likely to respond to something like Retina, getting it in their head that it's better than actual superior hardware and using it as a buzzword - "MY tablet as a Retina display!"

    Most of the technical jargon you just dropped is more likely to scare the tablet audience off, not attract it.

    My hope? Atom with similar battery life, digitizer, new kickstand, priced at $450 or less.
  • 0 Hide
    somebodyspecial , July 31, 2014 7:40 AM
    Quote:
    Somebodyspecial... While I agree with you on price, and I *personally* agree with you on several other hardware points, do you really think that the average member of your potential tablet audience heard about the announcement of the Surface and said "Oh, that sounds nea... Oh wait - it's using the Tegra 1.3 ghz, not the 1.7 - ok, that's a deal breaker..." The tablet audience doesn't know what 90% of what you mentioned is and is more likely to respond to something like Retina, getting it in their head that it's better than actual superior hardware and using it as a buzzword - "MY tablet as a Retina display!"

    Most of the technical jargon you just dropped is more likely to scare the tablet audience off, not attract it.

    My hope? Atom with similar battery life, digitizer, new kickstand, priced at $450 or less.


    They read reviews, which all cited low perf on 1.3 tegra 3. Selling after that was nigh impossible and they wrote off 900mil worth of crap. People don't have to understand the tech as most listen to their IT guys or tech friends who are reading these sites like you an me. I also think you don't give people enough credit today, as more people are getting educated about tech. The old farts who hated tech are dying, and the new generations have grown up with this stuff and spend a LOT of time on the web. It's easy to read reviews today where that used to require mag subs etc. You can google your product and the word review and get a dozen reviews at your fingertips today. The person doesn't have to be smart to understand words like "it's slow and underpowered, and we rate it 4/10". You don't have to understand the jargon to get that a review says product x just sucks. I gave the jargon because of where we're talking, and the specs and price will have an effect on the reviews YET AGAIN. Those reviews will either kill or sell your product.

    So I get your point and it might have been quite true years ago, but I think there's a bigger picture at work today. Microsoft has a MASSIVE ad campaign for their products, so my reasoning fits that reviews killed them along with word of mouth from guys like us reading sites like this (if not the actual buyers reading it themselves today due to everyone buying this stuff already being on the web for the most part).

    If it's WinRT, no atom. They have win8 for that anyway. RT is for ARM. I'd rather have K1 than atom or gaming is just pointless taking away a feature from the purchase. K1 beat the surface pro handily in gpu etc at anandtech. That machine has an Intel Core i5 (3rd Gen) 3317U / 1.7 GHz/2.6ghz turn with hyperthreading. It beat it by 50%+ in 3dmark overall, and nearly doubled it in 3dmark gpu. It even beat the 2/3 pro's on TrexHD offscreen. Atom is pretty well useless to me. K1 smacked Baytrail in the Asus T100 all around in everything (cpu or gpu). 3x faster in 3dmark unlimited overall (31100+ to 9300), and even worse in 3dmark gpu (36688 to 9488). It more than doubles the score in 3dmark physics also which was a bit of a surprise as I thought T100 would do a bit better here (20437 to 8799). OUCH. GFXBench TrexHD offscreen baytrail got destroyed. K1=68.7 vs. Bayrail Z3740=16 (that is the chip in the Asus Transformer T100 in anandtech's tests). Over 4x faster.

    Why would you want a baytrail? There is a reason Intel is losing 1.1Bil a quarter on it now (that's going to be 4bil loss this year, up from 940mil loss last Quarter). They make 50mil revenue on it and lose 1.1B. That means you're paying people 1.1B to take 1.15B worth of chips. They are PAYING people to please take them and praying they'll actually use them...LOL. Sorry I have to say K1 here. Hands down. Using Baytrail here would be like putting in a Tegra 3.5 (if there was one) vs. K1 ;) 
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