The son of Surface is coming. Or maybe sons. According to Digitimes, Microsoft is readying the next generation of Surface tablets to be unveiled at its Build event in June. The site says Microsoft will debut 7 to 9-inch devices to compete with the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire.
The Build event will also see the launch of Windows Blue, a Windows 8 update that promises several improvements, including the ability to boot straight to the desktop. Announcing new Surface tablets at the same time would help Microsoft hammer home the message that it’s hardware and software teams are working closely together, a la Apple.
So far, the Surface and Surface Pro haven’t exactly set the tablet market on fire. According to IDC, Microsoft shipped 900,000 units during the first quarter, well behind both Apple’s 19.5 million and Samsung’s 8.8 million. Still, being No. 5 in terms of market behind ASUS and Amazon gives Microsoft something to build on.
A low-cost tablet is critical for Microsoft to woo consumers, and Intel’s CEO predicted that Windows 8 touch devices would sink to $200 last month Such a device could run Intel’s upcoming quad-core Atom chip (codenamed Bay Trail). However, Microsoft opted for an ARM-powered Nvidia Tegra 3 processor last time around for the Surface with RT. It remains to be seen whether the company will stay on that path.
We wouldn’t be surprised to see Microsoft launch a Surface Pro 2 at its Build event as well with Intel’s new 4th Gen Core processor. The platform promises dramatically better battery life along with souped-up Iris graphics. Given that the first Surface Pro lasted just 4.5 hours on our test, the successor could use all the help it can get.