Microsoft confirms production of Surface 3 tablets will end in late 2016

Microsoft is planning to end production of its Atom-based Surface 3 tablets in December 2016. Will there be more devices coming in the Surface line this year or next? There's no official word.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

After a couple of sites noted that stock of both Microsoft's Surface 3 and Band 2 devices are seemingly in short supply in some places here in the U.S., Microsoft is confirming that production of the Surface 3 will end in December 2016.


What no one from Microsoft is saying officially is whether Microsoft plans to introduce successors to either the Surface 3 or Band 2 devices either some time this year or next.

As I noted a few months ago, sources have told me that Microsoft decided to postpone the delivery of its next version of Windows "Redstone" 2 until early 2017. Sources said at that time that officials decided to do so in order to line up a big-bang Surface hardware release with the next major release of Windows 10. I noted at that time that I didn't know whether Microsoft planned to hold off on announcing any/all new Microsoft-branded devices until Spring 2017, or just the expected successors to the Surface Pro tablets and Surface Book laptops.

I still don't know whether Microsoft will wait until next year to launch successors to the Surface 3 and Band 2. One of my sources recently said that Microsoft officials have gone back and forth as to when to introduce a Surface 3 successor.

Surface 3, Microsoft's Atom-based tablet that started at $499 when it was introduced in May 2015, was aimed at students, families and other budget-conscious users. Microsoft shipped Surface 3's with Windows 8.1 but the devices were upgradable to Windows 10. Microsoft also introduced LTE versions of the Surface 3.

Microsoft's official statement about Surface 3, as provided by a spokesperson today, June 24:

"Since launching Surface 3 over a year ago, we have seen strong demand and satisfaction amongst our customers. Inventory is now limited, and by the end of December 2016, we will no longer manufacture Surface 3 devices."

The Band 2, which Microsoft introduced last October, is the company's second iteration of its fitness band. Quite a few of my readers have reported the Band 2 has split or ripped since they purchased it. Microsoft officials told me Microsoft's policy is to replace any defective Band 2 devices, subject to normal conditions, as many times as necessary.

As to supplies of Band 2, Microsoft is recommending customers to check Microsoft Stores for stock, and won't say when the company plans to discontinue manufacturing the devices. The statement from a company official:

"Supplies of Microsoft Band are currently limited, so we encourage customers to visit microsoftstore.com for all device needs."

My Windows Weekly cohost Paul Thurrott wondered aloud today whether a Surface 3 successor (if one comes to market) might be synonymous with the rumored "Surface Phone" device that Microsoft is said to be readying for 2017. I've speculated publicly myself that "Surface Phone" could be more of a "Surface Mobile" device than yet another attempted head-to-head competitor with iPhones and Android phones. Hmm.

Regarding the Band, I don't know what's next for Microsoft there, but I haven't heard any scuttlebutt about Microsoft exiting the first-party wearables market. I will be curious to see if and when a Band 3 arrives, whether it runs a Windows 10 variant, as the current Bands do not (they run firmware).

Currently, the only new Microsoft-branded device we know for sure will be out this holiday season is the recently introduced Xbox One S.

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