by Anton Shilov
04/10/2013 | 11:49 PM
It is not a secret that Microsoft Corp. is already at works developing second generation of its Surface media tablet and Surface Pro business slate. As it appears, with the second breed of its own-brand tablets, the software giant wants to address small form-factor market with a 7”-class gadget in addition to offering traditional sizes.
In a bid to compete not only against Apple iPad with 9.7” display, but also against highly-popular iPad mini with 7.9” screen, Microsoft will offer a Surface-branded media tablet later this year, reports the Wall Street Journal. The slate will continue to use Windows RT operating system, but should feature some hardware changes compared to the original Surface, such as a new system-on-chip (SoC) as well as other changes.
The 7”-class slate was not in Microsoft’s plans a year ago, however, given the rising popularity of small tablets the software giant decided to address the segment as well. It is highly likely that Microsoft will release the second-generation of Surface tablets in general and 7”-class slate in particular around the time it rolls-out a series of Windows Blue updates, which will improve various Microsoft’s operating systems and services.
Microsoft’s Windows RT platform, the Windows 8-like operating system compatible with ARM architecture microprocessors and incompatible with programs written for traditional Windows OS, has failed to become popular among consumers and hardware makers. Microsoft itself sold only 1.1 million Surface RT in about four months of availability, despite its starting price of $499. Recently, Asus, Dell and Lenovo slashed pricing of their Windows RT-based tablets, which may signal either of two things: the companies are testing the demand for low-cost Windows RT tablets and want to see if low price results in higher sales; the platform has failed and they are selling-off inventory at discount.
Microsoft did not comment on the news-story.