Print 39 comment(s) - last by Milliniar.. on Nov 7 at 4:55 PM

  (Source: AP)
Is Ballmer eying market penetration with his 7-inch surprise?, Inc. (AMZN) vaulted itself into that tablet discussion overnight with its hot 7-inch Kindle Fire tablet last holiday season.  That in turn inspired Google Inc. (GOOG) and ASUSTek Computer Inc. (TPE:2357) to pop in a 7-incher of their own -- the Nexus 7.  Even Apple, Inc. (AAPL) looked to jump on the bandwagon, although its iPad Mini offering came up a bit short thanks to a relatively meager screen resolution and hardware set.

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), as has often been the case recently, is arriving a bit late to the party. But according to The Verge, CEO Steve Ballmer has big plans to penetrate this growing market, and in the process add a new member to the Xbox brand.

Like Google's Nexus brand, Microsoft offers a 10-inch tablet, and is rumored to be cooking up a 4-inch Surface smartphone up.  That leaves one gaping hole in the lineup.

Microsoft's looks to fill that void with a high-end gaming device that supports current Xbox peripherals, sports a custom ARM processor, and uses high-bandwidth RAM.  The device will run a custom Windows kernel.

A working title for the tablet is "Xbox Surface".

Microsoft is reportedly planning to make a "baby" Surface tablet.

Of course it isn't unthinkable to that Microsoft could abort the fledgling tablet.  After all, that's what it did after conceiving and incubating the Courier concept for months.  It would take Microsoft two years after the death of Courier to finally pop its first first-party tablet hardware out.

The new device may join the upcoming "Xbox 720".  But unlike the Xbox 720, which will likely be built by traditional Chinese third-party mass-manufacturers, the Xbox Surface may be built at the same secret facility as the original Surface.  Microsoft has not disclosed the location of that lower-volume facility, but some rumors suggest that Microsoft built its own small factory in China to keep a tighter grip on the production process.

Source: The Verge

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By Motoman on 11/6/2012 2:59:11 PM , Rating: 2
...jokes about his 7-incher aside, I don't really see a tablet per se being a "gaming device" - certainly not one worthy of an XBox label.

If you want to make a mobile XBox thing of some sort, knock yourself out - but I don't think it's going to be a "tablet." At a bare minimum you've got to have real, physical controls - maybe you just put the buttons and directional controller on either side of the screen as some other devices have done. Then what you're making, though, is a super-sized PSP. Not really a tablet.

Also...granted that obviously lots of stuff is done as DLC, I'd have to guess that to really be an "XBox" device gamers would want it to support their existing XBox games - like, in DVD format. So perhaps there's a slot-load optical drive on the back too. Decidedly un-tablet-like.

I would reckon that they could just put a SDHC slot on there, and let you run games (and save to) from SDHC cards. Obvously wildly less bulky than an optical drive. But then of course that does nothing for all the XBox games you already own on disk. And now that I think about it, maybe that opens up piracy options more...dunno.

But anyhoo - whatever you come up with for a mobile XBox gaming device, I think that framing it as a "Tablet" is probably not correct.

RE: Ummm...
By polishvendetta on 11/6/2012 3:08:04 PM , Rating: 2
Cheap mobile gaming is a big thing, thanks to the iphone and ipad. If the tablet can run the xbox arcade games then they have a winner.

Gamestop already caries several tablet models that are for "gaming" but really are jsut android tablets with webgames preinstalled. An xbox tablet made specificly for handeheld gaming might make a quite a splash.

RE: Ummm...
By theapparition on 11/6/2012 3:09:39 PM , Rating: 3
Also...granted that obviously lots of stuff is done as DLC, I'd have to guess that to really be an "XBox" device gamers would want it to support their existing XBox games - like, in DVD format. So perhaps there's a slot-load optical drive on the back too. Decidedly un-tablet-like.

Physical media is dying, I don't see that being done.

However, something I've championed for a long time, the XBox has your game library and saved games stored. Not a big deal to shadow that to the cloud. When you log into a tablet linked to your XBox account, it shows your games and downloads the appropriate one for mobile play.

RE: Ummm...
By FITCamaro on 11/6/2012 3:56:31 PM , Rating: 2
Some of y'all keep saying that. But it ain't happening. At least not in the next decade.

RE: Ummm...
By Motoman on 11/6/2012 3:57:56 PM , Rating: 2
Physical media is dying, I don't see that being done.

If you feel like only selling to 80% of the available market. Keep in mind that 1 in 5 Americans lives in a rural area, frequently without access to broadband internet.

Physical media for all purposes will be very important, at the very least until that 20% of Americans are served with reliable broadband connections. And granted the relative enormity of that task...I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for it.

Sure, I could maybe see some people buying something like that and then just driving to Starbucks or whatever when they want to download a new game. But I can't imagine that the vast majority of people would be interested in doing that.

RE: Ummm...
By Cheesew1z69 on 11/6/2012 4:02:09 PM , Rating: 2
Also the rest of the world, not just US. Some people here think because they don't use it, it's dead. I won't name names.

RE: Ummm...
By FITCamaro on 11/6/2012 5:36:52 PM , Rating: 2
Around much of the US and the rest of the world, the main issue is bandwidth caps. How happy do you think people will be when they blow their whole data cap downloading a game.

RE: Ummm...
By Motoman on 11/6/2012 11:09:28 PM , Rating: 2
You are correct, sir.

The vast majority of cellular wifi and satellite plans in the US tap out at about 10Gb. Just to address what people who can't get either DSL or cable actually might be able to get.

Then look at the size of some modern video games...Age of Conan, if you want a full install, is over 20Gb by my reckoning. Star Trek Online is, I believe, around 5Gb or so. Others are all comparable...DC Universe, LOTRO, DDO, so on and so forth.

Say you want to be a gamer on a budget...and all of the games listed above can be played for free. But does it sound like a good idea to spend 2 months' worth of you allowed bandwidth to download one game? Does it even sound feasible?

Now start thinking about Steam. Or Netflix. Or...anything that involves streaming and/or large downloads.

Total non-starter for millions upon millions of Americans.

RE: Ummm...
By ET on 11/7/2012 7:56:10 AM , Rating: 2
On demand burning has been done before and I can see it easily expanding. Buy a key, add a couple of bucks for a DVD/Blu-ray, that segment of the market is served and you saved producing and shipping around tons of boxes.

RE: Ummm...
By V-Money on 11/6/2012 3:23:37 PM , Rating: 2
I can see a use for this. Look at the WII U. It has a controller with a screen that you can use to play on if you want. Nintendo started with the motion crap and Microsoft came out with Kinect, why not steal away Nintendos thunder here too by making the controller a full fledged tablet.

RE: Ummm...
By inperfectdarkness on 11/7/2012 3:50:20 AM , Rating: 2
beat me to the punch. that's the VERY first thing i thought of when i saw the article. for all the hating that people have been doing on nintendo lately, you certainly can't deny that they are the driving force behind innovation in the gaming market.

thank you, MS, for proving once again why nintendo should continue to produce hardware; because both you and sony would be completely adrift if nintendo wasn't paving the way for you to follow.

RE: Ummm...
By damianrobertjones on 11/7/2012 3:29:36 AM , Rating: 2
If it's flat and has four corners... it's a tablet. It doesn't matter what it runs as it's still a tablet. No matter how you define it it'll STILL be a tablet.

blahh blaahh..

Some would say that the Xbox 360 is a pc but, yeah, you know, it's a console.

RE: Ummm...
By Jacerie on 11/7/2012 3:25:48 PM , Rating: 2
If it's flat and has four corners... it's a tablet.

Better not put any beveling on it or Apple might sue.

RE: Ummm...
By ET on 11/7/2012 8:03:44 AM , Rating: 2
I'm sure a lot of console and PC gamers would scoff at touch screen gaming, but let's face it, the iPad has more games than mobile consoles have, and these include platformers, first person shooters, RPG, strategy and adventure games. In short, it's a lot closer to a PC in the variety of games available, and many of them are pretty good.

Ultimately, a tablet with a wireless display connection and wireless controller could function as both a decent home console and mobile console. This is practically around the corner, and I won't be surprised if an Xbox tablet provided such a feature. (Although I won't be surprised if it doesn't, since Microsoft can be conservative.)

"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone

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