Rumor: Microsoft to launch 3 new Surface tablets in 2013

Microsoft’s second Surface tablet hasn’t even hit the streets yet. But there’s already a rumor going around that the company is working on three new tablets which could launch in 2013.

Long-time Microsoft leak source MS_Nerd posted some details on a Twitter account (which is private). But the folks at Digital Trends have posted most of the details. Take them with a few grains of salt, since nothing’s been confirmed by Microsoft.

Microsoft Surface

There will reportedly be updates for the Surface RT and Surface Pro, as well as an entirely new product called the Surface Book.

Surface RT

The next-gen Surface RT is expected to run Windows RT, just like this year’s model. But the device may have a Qualcomm processor instead of an NVIDIA Tegra 3 chip.

It’s also rumored to have an 8.6 inch screen instead of the 10.6 inch screen found on the existing Surface RT and upcoming Surface Pro tablets.

That would make the new tablet closer in size to the iPad Mini or Google Nexus 7, perhaps signifying that Microsoft wants to position the Surface RT as a portable, inexpensive (relatively) tablet for customers that don’t need the full Windows experience on a mobile device.

Surface Pro

Rumor has it that the second-generation Surface Pro tablet could have a larger 11.6 inch screen and it could drop the Intel Core i5 Ivy Bridge chip for an AMD Temash chip.

That’s an APU (accelerated processing unit) which combines low power consumption with decent graphics performance. AMD’s new chips will feature a system-on-a-chip design with the graphics, CPU, memory controller, and I/O functions all on a single chip.

Interestingly, Temash chips will be AMD’s replacement for today’s Hondo processors such as the AMD Z-60. Hondo chips consume less power than most AMD processors, but they also offer significantly lower performance.

If this rumor is true, it sounds like the second-generation Surface Pro could have a bigger screen, but a slower processor than the models expected to hit the streets in January.

Hopefully that means they’ll also have lower price tags.

Surface Book

The Microsoft Surface Book it said to have a 14.6 inch display and an Intel Haswell processor.

Haswell is Intel’s upcoming 4th-generation Core Family processor line, and it’s expected to put a heavy emphasis on reducing power consumption.

In other words, we may see upcoming computers which perform as well or better than today’s notebooks and tablets with Intel Core i3 or faster chips, but which sip power more like Intel Atom-powered devices.

That’s a good thing, because a 14.6 inch screen is going to suck a lot of power. Fortunately there may be room for a big batter in the Surface Book. The name suggests this tablet will be some sort of convertible notebook-style tablet.

While Microsoft offers optional keyboards for the current crop of Surface tablets, it’s possible that the Surface Book could be the first model to have one built in.

  • voleheart

    dont think it will be slower. AMD E-450 is faster than a comparable Pentium CPU. that GPU is just unbeatable by Intel.

    • CyberGusa

      No, the Bobcat cores are AMD’s low end and are only really better than ATOM clock for clock but even the ATOM can provide more performance if clocked a few hundred MHz faster, which is often the case.

      Since to get competitive power consumption and limit heat generation, the Desna and Hondo are both clocked at only 1GHz. While the Intel Clover Trail can operate at 1.8GHz.

      Graphical advantage though is where AMD has the clear advantage, with a 2-3x better than the present ATOM PowerVR based GMA and 5-9x better than the previous Pine Trail ATOM GMA 3150.

      While present modern Pentium and Celeron models are based on Sandy Bridge and provide more performance than AMD offers in that category.

      Mind that next gen 22nm ATOMs will be getting a GMA based on the Ivy Bridge HD4000, just scaled down from 16 execution units to 4, and will be offering up to quad core configurations. So we’ll see how Tamesh will compare and whether it’ll come out in time to take advantage of the time it’ll take before the next gen ATOMs start coming out.

      Though Tamesh will be based on the upcoming Jaguar cores and should provide better specs but still manage to get the max TDP down to 2W range. So should hopefully be better than a E-450…

      Right now, for comparison, both Desna and Hondo are basically more power efficient versions of the lower end C-50…

  • Ruel Smith

    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz… Seriously, is anyone really anticipating any of these devices?

  • boonesimpson

    The surface has a TON of potential in the IT and business markets. However, that hinges on the devices ability to integrate and compliment a traditional windows PC. The issue then becomes METRO , while great on tablets, it is still a lackluster user experience on the desktop.

    If MS gets their head in the game, they will allow PRO editions of win8 to boot to a traditional desktop environment (with startmenu) to encourage business and home user adoption.

    People typically don’t upgrade their OS for fun, it is time consuming to reinstall software and find compatible drivers etc, so why add insult to injury by forcing users to learn an un-intuitive interface that does not work how they want to work.

    Microsoft is finally taking a full ecosystem approach to computing, as apple has done and succeeded in, but they shot themselves in the foot by having it all rely on Metro.

    • aiden9

      The surface might have potential in IT and business markets if touch optimized software is presented for each of their needs. Otherwise it would be hard to justify the price of a Surface tablet vs an ultra book or other ultra portables. With a lot of stuff being done in house companies are going to be looking at not only the price of the Surface but also the costs(both in time and money) involved in redoing their software to be touch optimized. In a better economy maybe it would have stood a better chance but at present I think there just isn’t a lot of room in the business market.(Note I’m not being anti Microsoft, I just don’t see room for tablets in general at present)

      Completely agree on the idea of allowing metro to be hidden and present the traditional desktop.

  • boonesimpson

    Also, more to the point of the article, The tablet race is now at the entry level with the Nexus 7 and the ipad Mini. Mass market users do not want $600+ tablets.

    Sure the expensive tablets sold to techies and first-adopters, that and there was no cheaper option, but Kindle, Nook, Nexus, and ipad mini have opened the floodgates showing that everyone wants a tablet, but not everyone has tons to spend on one.

    Microsoft needs an entry level option to compete. And it needs be cheaper AND better than the ipad mini or else it is a waste of time.

  • GMane

    I was hoping for a smaller Surface Pro with an optional attachable sheet/slice battery.

  • Guest008

    Good find Brad.

    So, these new versions should be launched with the W8 upgrade in Q4, then.
    If Windows Blue is in effect I mean.

    As for the devices, I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
    There are and will be a lot of these hybrids out there. Surface will be one more line of them.

    I’m interested in pricing positionning though. These will be cheaper than current models. That seems obvious.

    Another thing: it seems to mean that MS is in the hardware market to stay. And more competition is always good.

  • Ruel Smith

    I have a feeling MS is in for a rude awakening… Windows 8? Flop… Surface? Flop… Windows Phone? Flop… Microsoft is becoming more and more irrelevant in the market.

  • John

    How about integrated cell data like the iPad offers? Doesn’t do much good to have all this other stuff if you’re away from wifi….