Microsoft is holding an event in New York on May 20th where the company is widely expected to launch a “Surface mini” tablet running Windows RT software. But it looks like the company could be planning to launch a new Windows 8 tablet as well.

Sources have told CNET that we’d see a new model with an Intel processor at the event, and now the folks at The Verge have found a Microsoft Support page that refers to a Surface Pro 3.

Microsoft Surface Pro 2
Microsoft Surface Pro 2

That support page mentions a fix for the Surface Pro 3 camera’s video recording capabilities and mentions Windows 8.1, which is a pretty good indication that like earlier Surface Pro tablets, the new model will have an x86 processor rather than an ARM-based chip.

Windows 8.1 is designed to run on Intel and AMD processors while Windows RT runs on devices with ARM chips. The two operating systems look a lot alike, and both can run apps downloaded from the Windows Store. But Windows RT doesn’t support most third-party apps from other sources. That means you can’t run classic Windows apps like Photoshop, LibreOffice, Firefox, or Thunderbird on a Windows RT device.

The original Surface Pro and the Surface Pro 2 tablets have both featured Intel Core i5 processors, 10.6 inch, full HD displays, 4GB of RAM, at least 64GB of storage, support for digital pen input, and optional keyboard covers. It’s not clear what new features the Surface Pro 3 will bring to the tablet.

The upcoming Surface Mini, on the other hand, is expected to feature a low-power ARM processor, Windows RT software, a smaller body, and most likely a lower price tag.

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16 replies on “Microsoft Surface Pro 3 on the way (along with Surface mini)”

  1. Expect RT to merge with WP, which has already begun and will be fabulous. Secondly, the Pro3 to be announced will probably have a tiny difference from the Pro2, perhaps thinner, perhaps more storage, but definitely with 4g-LTE. I also imagine that they will be announcing Surface 2 LTE as well as it being included in the Mini. Fingers crossed for a Surface Phone announcement but no prototype or model to be shown yet as the Nokia deal is still fresh out of the oven.
    Also, I used both Surface RT and Surface 2 (no pro yet) and I use a Windows Phone with DevPreview and 8.1 installed and it is very easy to see where Microsoft will be going with all this. 5 devices (Surface Pro, Surface RT, Surface Mini, Xbox and WP) and only two OS’s (Pro and RT)

    1. Line 3 I meant that they will probably be announcing the Surface 2 LTE for Europe.

  2. “Windows 8.1 is designed to run on Intel and AMD processors while Windows RT runs on devices with ARM chips.”
    Why do people keep parrotting this line?
    Windows RT is just Windows 8.x with hard-coded policy settings preventing desktop applications from being installed and some system services removed. Yes, so far all or nearly all devices shipping with it installed have been ARM based, but that doesn’t mean there is no Windows RT build for x86 or x64.

  3. I bought my mom a Surface 2 (Win RT) for Christmas, and I think it was a pretty good decision. There’s been one or two issues with it, but she hasn’t run into a single thing that she would have needed a full version of Windows for.

    Internet, emails, photos, and occasional office work all run just fine. I wouldn’t buy it for myself, but I can see why Microsoft built it and I think they did a good job for their target audience.

    The hardware is top-notch, and it makes me a little bit tempted to buy the Pro version for myself, although I had already figured I’d hold off and see what they do with the next version. But if MS can impress me with the Pro 3, they just might get a little more of my money.

  4. I was interested in the mini until learning here that it will have RT. If the browser supports flash it still might have some use.

    1. Even Adobe can see that Flash is dead, so I wouldn’t count on it working with any new Android, Apple, or RT device.

      1. It’ll finally be dead several years from now. Right now, though, it’s being kept on long term life support due to the lack of a standardized or accepted form of DRM on alternative video streaming standards. The majority of videos I watch online require DRM (ie. stuff I pay for and not just YouTube clips).

        Also, it seems many commerical sites I encounter make use of Flash for their website design. It’s pretty annoying.

    2. Windows RT’s browser supports flash.

      I own a Surface RT, and it was one of the first things I checked.

      1. Then I would say it is likely that the new mini will support it. I did read that certain flash websites are not supported without a hack, however.

        1. Microsoft originally used a whitelist on Flash for security purposes.
          After a while though, it was switched to a blacklist, so now pretty much every website works.

    1. You would think that the folks in accounting would be in communication with marketing and product development, but apparently not.

    2. New Qualcomm processors are pretty impressive and if QCOM continues developing at this pace a viable case for ARM based Windows as a potent platform may eventually be made. Also, it appears MSFT is actively and aggressively moving to change the current non-interoperability between x86 and ARM based software.

      My opinion is that MSFT is simply hedging its bets, and that’s not a bad thing.

    3. One thing you can expect from Microsoft is tenacity.
      With their emphasis on “universal” apps, they hope
      to have the same app run on Windows RT, x86, and Phone.
      That would boost the number of apps in the Windows Store,
      assuming they can get developers to write for the
      Modern UI, or port their x86 programs to it.

      There are some 4 million legacy Windows x86 programs
      out there, dwarfing any other platform’s software catalog.
      If MS is able to convince developers to port a nontrivial
      percentage of these programs, MS will change from
      being an also-ran to a force.

      Accountants don’t seem to hold much sway in MS. The
      company certainly has the bank balance and cash cows
      to keep at things (like Windows 8, Xbox) until they
      succeed, whether end users like it or not.

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