Microsoft's Surface 2: New reports on Surface RT's successor

Microsoft's Surface 2: New reports on Surface RT's successor

Summary: Microsoft's Surface 2, a minor upgrade to the current Surface RT, could hit the market in time for holiday 2013, according to the latest leaks.


Microsoft is readying not one, but two new Surfaces for this holiday season.


The Haswell-based Surface 2 Pro is the successor to the Surface Pro, according to sourced reports. And the NVIDIA Tegra 4-based Surface 2 is the successor to Surface RT, according to new leaks from Neowin.Net and the Windows SuperSite on September 9.

The Surface 2 runs on ARM, just like the Surface RT, and thus runs the Windows RT operating system. (It will be the Windows 8.1 RT variant, sources have said.)

Otherwise, the 10.6-inch Surface 2 will look almost identical to the current 10.6-inch Surface RT. It will use the same VaporMg case and work with the current Surface Touch and Type keyboard/covers, as well as some of the coming, new Touch and Type ones. (Surface 2 isn't expected to work with the rumored Power Cover, however.)

Sources say battery life on the Surface 2 will come in around eight hours -- about the same as current Tegra 3-based Surface RT device. The Surface 2 is rumored to have a USB 3.0 port, support for 802.11 Wi-fi (no built-in LTE) and Bluetooth. It will ship with versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook that have been compiled to work on an ARM-based device.

The Surface 2 will support 1080p/full HD, sources told Neowin and the Windows SuperSite. (The current Surface RT has lower resolution, at 1366X768 pixels.)

There's no word so far on how much the Surface 2 will cost. After the latest round of price cuts, Surface RT starts at $349. With a cover/keyboard bundled, Surface RT pricing starts at $399.

Microsoft officials aren't commenting on anything to do with the unannounced Surface products.

Microsoft took a $900 million Surface RT write-down in its fourth fiscal quarter of 2013. Despite that fact, Microsoft has no plans to dump Windows RT or its ARM-based Surface line of tablets. Nokia is also working on a new ARM-based tablet, codenamed "Sirius," which is expected this holiday season. Microsoft is increasingly pushing its ARM-based Surfaces as head-to-head iPad competitors, but which include features that enable their use in business situations.

Topics: ARM, Microsoft, Mobile OS, Tablets, PCs, Windows 8


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Surface needs 3 models

    Pro with Haswell CPU at 10.x inches
    Consumer with Atom/Baytrail at 10.x inches
    Travel with ARM (why Nvidia?) at 7-8 inches

    Honestly all of their tablets should run on x86 chips as there is no advantage to running ARM cpus in their place.
    • Advantage?

      No x86 malware will run on WinRT. For many users (especially inexperienced users), this is the better option.
      • There is no such thing as a safe computer

        and at the same time, none of the millions of x86 programs will run either.

        That is a really big disadvantage to the perception of being safe.
        • This is a big deal

          The lack of compatibility with x86 Windows viruses is a HUGE advantage for Windows RT. I know plenty of people who would never miss compatibility with x86 desktop applications (they would literally never notice because they've never attempted to install an application on purpose), and not coincidentally these are generally the exact same people who seem to be getting viruses every other month no matter how many antivirus programs they run.
          • Removal of desktop

            I would like to see them completely remove the desktop on the Windows RT devices. It seems to be going that way, the only thing that is really stopping it currently is Office 2013 that is shipped with it. When they get a "metro" version I am sure it will only be a matter of time before the desktop goes.
    • Surface needs 3 models

      Battery life and cost are the chief reasons.
    • For most users x86 chips has no advantege to ARM cpus!

      For the masses, RT (ARM) is much better then Intel based tablets.

      + Thinner then intel based
      + Cheaper then intel based
      + Works without a cooler
      + Better battery life
      + Office is included
      + Safer for users. They do not install any crap on those machines which will make them slow after a year!!!

      - Cannot run Windows desktop apps (first ask yourself, if you need them on a tablet machine)

      So, if you are thinking about a tablet and you just use it for browsing, checking e-mails, working with office - RT device is perfect for you. And Windows Store fills with new apps each day.
      Don't let yourself listning salesman crap, that you NEED full Windows 8 tablet!
    • There is one very good reason for offering ...

      ... an ARM-based solution. If Microsoft can make headway with Windows-on-ARM, and deliver a wide range of enterprise-grade applications based upon ARM, it will give Microsoft a leg up on placing pricing pressure on Intel to keep their prices competitive with ARM chip prices. The same pressure can then be placed on AMD. Further, the number of potential Windows OEMs grows dramatically - at the expense of Android.

      Make no mistake, Microsoft has taken a huge risk in bringing Metro apps to the traditional PC - but that payoff for success is even bigger!
      M Wagner
      • Embedded Windows RT

        There are millions of embedded machines out there that run on the ARM processor. Microsoft has a market that they haven't even touched yet in the ARM CPU arena - that's an embedded version of Windows RT....

        Just a thought....
      • Another leg up

        Windows on ARM will also give Microsoft and it's OEMs a leg up against Apple, should they ever introduce an iPad hybrid device for the productivity market, which they may well do now that their ARM CPU is finally 64-bit.
  • Microsoft's Surface 2: New reports on Surface RT's successor

    Getting one of these Microsoft Surface 2's for christmas would be the best present. Hope the rumors are true.
    • A Ferrari would give a better present

      Just an example, I'm sure many others can come with ideas as smart (or better) as mine :)
  • I see a problem

    When I read " almost identical". Why making an almost identical product that is failing?! Is the version 8.1 that is going to change everything?
    I agree that hardware is not the (main) surface problem, but sometimes it's better to clean the minds of consumers.
    • Because Surface 1 didn't miss by that much

      First, Surface 2 will be far from identical. It will be much faster and (according to reports) have an e-mail client that is not disgraceful.
      Second, you have to keep in mind that Surface 1 did not miss by that much. You can get a product wrong by just 10% or so and have a significant failure, especially when you are third mover in a market. Surface 1 was too slow and far too expensive, and it was marketed incredibly poorly (part of which was the price). If they can fix performance and e-mail client, announce a few big-time new applications, and keep the price at $399 with Touch Cover, Surface 2 could easily succeed. They also need to come up with a better name for Windows RT. Not saying Microsoft is smart enough to do all those things, but Surface does not need to be radically different technologically to be a success. Surface was not a technical failure; it was a marketing failure, IMHO.
      • I guess it was a big failure

        (I can hear the voices complaining already ...)

        I agree that sometimes you just need that little bit extra to make a product great, but sometimes that's the hard part to achieve.

        While price is always important, I don't see peformance as the culprit of surface failure.
        Email is something obvious, MS must improve the entire ecosystem, not just email - they need youtube, gmail, tumblr, ... all that stuff that consumers give for granted.

        In the end I still believe all hopes are in a new OS, or heavily changed. One OS that makes tablet behave like tablets and don't try to reinvent the wheel with the crappy (sorry) "productive" argument.
      • Better name for Windows RT

        Better name for Windows RT. MS should name it "Modern OS" and there would be no confusion!
        • A "better name" is "Windows Tablet 8" ...

          ... to correspond with "Windows Phone 8".

          When Windows "Blue" comes out, all Metro apps will run on all Windows platforms but Legacy apps will run only on Windows 8 (Home/Pro/Enterprise) and on Windows Server 2012.
          M Wagner
      • Most companies would LOVE to have ...

        ... Microsoft's "failure" (for a total of $853 MILLION in revenues) in their coffers!

        The failure was almost solely due to a dreadful marketing campaign. Once consumers understand that the Surface is a tablet that does everything the iPad does - with more features (and greater compatibility) they will embrace it.

        As for pricing, well, lots of people have tried to compete with Apple at Apple price-points and have failed dreadfully.

        Give it time ...
        M Wagner
      • Not just marketing

        Too slow (Technical failure)
        Fix email client (Software failure)
        No big name apps (Failure to attract developers)
        High price (Failure to attract people)

        The Surface wasn't just a marketing failure.
        costa k
  • Ballmer last attempt to show how stupid he is

    Wow. This has to be Ballmer last attempt to show how stupid he is. While they have the stage, why not go even further and bring back the Zune.

    I normally never judge before I actuall see the new device, but I can safely say that MS is doing this, purely to save face with the recent RT and Pro messes.

    Microsoft! READ THIS LOUD and CLEAR. No one wants your Surface. People voted with their wallets 30 days ago. Are you kidding me? Well it is Ballmer. What do you expect?