New report throws fuel on Microsoft Xbox Surface rumors

New report throws fuel on Microsoft Xbox Surface rumors

Summary: It's looking like Microsoft's entry into the 'mini' tablet space may, indeed, be the previously rumored Xbox Surface.


It's increasingly looking like we Microsoft watchers weren't so crazy after all... at least when it comes to talk of an Xbox Surface.


On November 6, Tom Warren over at The Verge posted some more information from unnamed sources about the supposed Xbox Surface. As Warren noted, this isn't the first time we've heard about this device. There were a number of leaks back in June 2012 about an ARM-based Xbox Surface device. Warren added today that there's a possibility the device could be altered to accommodate some unannounced Intel system-on-a-chip processor.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted my ruminations about an Xbox Surface being Microsoft's possible first entry into the 7-inch/mini-tablet space.

Leaks from June indicated that the Xbox Surface would be a companion device tethered to Microsoft's Xbox. SmartGlass, a k a the Xbox Companion 2.0 application that Microsoft introduced earlier this year and just rolled out this fall, supposedly would be a key component. GeekWire's Todd Bishop discovered earlier this year that the Microsoft's SmartGlass trademark applied to both software and hardware, so it seemed there was still another shoe... or tablet... to drop.

Here's the alleged leaked Xbox Surface spec sheet from June, courtesy of LiveSide.

Surface is, indeed, a name for more than just the two PC/tablet devices that Microsoft unveiled in Los Angeles this past summer and that will be generally available as of October 26. We know that Surface refers a bigger brand of Microsoft-designed and -branded hardware products. Rumors or not, there's no doubt about one thing: The Surface RT and Surface Pro are just the first of multiple Microsoft hardware products to come.

Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Tablets


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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  • Can't say I'm surprised...

    And this is good news, since it does seem like 7" tablets are a huge seller in the tablet space.
    • ASUS

      ASUS alone is selling 1 million Nexus 7 devices a month. Amazon and Barnes & Noble have also sold millions of their 7" tablets.

      Yes, the iPad is still king of the hill, but those are not numbers to sneer about.
      • Not for long...

        I just saw reports this week about how Android tablets have already surpassed iPad sales as of this quarter.
  • Those specs

    how can you cram that on a 7" form factor? I'm not so sure
  • King of the hill..

    I think the latest numbers indicate that the iPad market share dropped from 85% down to 50%. Which was a little surprising.
  • Apps

    Xbox surface must run either WP8 or Win 8 'Metro' apps, otherwise it pointless just to have a gaming device.
    • Agreed

      I totally agree with this. As much as I wanted the Courier at the time, I'm glad now that they went down the Surface/Windows 8 route - having multiple devices play nice together is amazing.

      I was at BUILD last week and watching Balmer demonstrate the cloud stuff was kind of awesome. And today, I connected up my 920 and there was all the music that I'd downloaded to the Surface. It's seamless.

      So, yes, I agree. I'd want this thing to run Windows 8, with a heavy slant towards gaming.
      • Hard to say

        With PowerPC it might be a true gaming "handheld" with some tablet features added on. May not appeal to readers here in ZDNet but to a gamer it's a very interesting prospect. Especially since this will likely come around the time the Xbox 720 is released. At least that's my thoughts.
    • 7" tablet

      Yes, I would consider that, I think 10" is too big for a tablet... But like you say it's got to run either WP8 or RT apps otherwise it's as useless as a Blackberry Playbook...
  • Speaking of the Pro

    ...any news?
  • I hate Windows 8 on my desktop

    ... But okay, an Xbox Surface? I am totally there.
    D.J. 43
  • Good thing it has a large HDD.

    It will need it when the OS takes up half of it.
    Arm A. Geddon
    • Oh and one more thing.

      It will probably come with a box of crayons to match that kindergarden UI formally known as "Metro".
      Arm A. Geddon
      • What's it like in the cold and snow?

        Peering in that window to the warm fire and the people enjoying the latest tech. You just keep telling yourself it doesn't matter and MS is bad and the colorful, dynamic UI designed for kb/mouse/touch/gesture/voice by the best progammers and designers in the world is just to hard to use (or too childish - which is it?).

        Don't worry we won't hold it against you, when you slink in in a couple of months for a try ;-)
        • Really? Show me some numbers.

          Then I might believe you that a lot of people are enjoying Windows 8. But we all know Microsoft won't release any numbers, right? Although I'm sure if the numbers were outstanding Microsoft would. Btw, the latest is not always the greatest. I'll sit this one out as when it comes to Windows, Windows 7 + Aero works for me. I'll stick to the iPad when it comes to tablets. I hope you enjoy your toy OS as Microsoft now has their own.

          Another thing, I don't hate Microsoft. I may dislike some of the things they do but I'm sure the majority of their workers are good people. That goes for Apple, Google, IBM, etc.
          Arm A. Geddon
      • iBaaa

        Sounds like a broken record, what's up? Afraid of a little competition?
  • ARM-based!?

    That means it won't run any of the existing XBox games.

    Why does Microsoft keep making its fragmentation problem worse?
    • worse?

      Sure, they're "unifying" across all the devices. They still want to sell you the same OS and other software as many times as possible.
    • You do know that the xbox 360 uses a Xenon processor, right? And...

      ... that one of Microsoft's strengths is their ability to run their software on a variety of chip sets. Indeed, the NT kernel, which is at the core of all of their products had as one of its major design goals was this ability. When I write a game program (on my x64 Intel) I can target the windows phone, the Windows RT (ARM), or Windows 8, 7, XP, ... (x86 or x64) etc...