A relatively reliable MSFT tipster @MS_nerd recently tweeted that Redmond will release three new and distinct generations of the Surface tablet sometime in 2013.
Ballmer recently said on a shareholders’ call that the company would never again let hardware or anything else stand as a barrier to innovation, admitting that Microsoft was late to the game (especially with the tablet).
It only makes sense that they would go big with both Surface and Windows 8, making up for lost time with plenty of shapes and sizes. After all, the company bet a lot on the popularity of a brand-new Microsoft, complete with Metro, touch, and true entry into the hardware space.
The first tablet is said to be an 8.6-inch Surface RT 2, running on a Qualcomm chipset instead of the NVIDIA Tegra 3 chip. The Microsoft Pro will allegedly upgrade to an 11.6-inch display with an unreleased AMD “Temash” APU, and a new Surface Book product will sport a hefty 14.6-inch display with a next-gen 22nm “Haswell” chip from Intel under the hood.
It’s interesting that none of the new models have the same 10.6-inch screen size as current-generation Surface RT and Pro slates do. However, in our reviews, we felt the form factor was a bit awkward and larger than the tablet that currently dominates the large tablet space, the 9.7-inch iPad.
And then there’s Amazon and Google’s 7- to 8-inch offerings, and Barnes & Noble, and we can’t forget the iPad Mini now, either. Microsoft is late to a very feisty and competitive game, and a big push is necessary. And so far Surface sales have been slow going.
The breadth of the lineup also sounds plausible alongside rumors of a Surface phone, as DigiTimes recently reported that Microsoft has sent orders to Foxconn for a self-branded and Microsoft-designed Surface phone.
Of course, it’ll still be a while. Though the tipster specified 2013, I wouldn’t expect to see new models in stores until the holidays next year.