Rumor: Surface 3 May Arrive In October

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+.

Create a new thread in the US News comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
Comment from the forums
    Your comment
  • TechyInAZ
    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).
  • waethorn
    If this is true at all (very doubtful), the only plausible delay reason is probably that Azure RemoteApp wasn't ready yet.
  • jeremymcdev
    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.