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It is expected to go into mass production later this year

Joining the likes of Apple and Google, Microsoft is now also rumored to be making a 7-inch version of its first homemade tablet -- the Surface.

According to a recent report from Reuters, Microsoft is in the midst of creating a whole new batch of Surface tablets, which includes a 7-inch version. 

The 7-inch tablet is expected to go into mass production later this year.

Microsoft, which released its first Surface tablet on October 26, 2012, hasn't seen the sales success it expected. Last month, a Bloomberg source anonymously revealed that Microsoft had sold 1.5 million Surface tablets at that point. More specifically, the company had sold a little over a million Surface with Windows RT tablets (features the Windows RT version of Windows 8 specifically for ARM processors) and about 400,000 Surface with Windows Pro tablets (features the full version of Windows 8 and an Intel Core i5 processor). 

These figures missed analyst expectations of about 2 million Surface RT tablets in just the December quarter alone.

Microsoft launched Surface with Windows RT in October and Surface with Windows 8 Pro in February.

Microsoft likely wants to run with the big boys like Apple and Google in the tablet sector, and both have already released 7-inch tablets (which tend to be more affordable for consumers). Google's 7-inch Nexus 7 tablet was a hit at only $200 with a load of impressive features, and Apple released its 7-inch iPad mini for a little over $300 last November. 

However, Microsoft may want to steer clear of releasing any more Surface tablets with Windows RT, since the operating system has largely been a bust. RT-powered tablets have dropped significantly in price in some cases due to lack of consumer demand, and many hardware makers are looking to just clear the dead weight out of their inventory.  

Even analysts believe Windows RT will, at some point, just fade away. 

"I think you're seeing discounting based on user demand. I never thought RT was going to be that successful," said Jack Gold, principal analyst at J. Gold Associates. "RT will fade away over time. It's not a full Windows 8 experience. That said, why wouldn't I spend more and get a full Pro version of the device?" 

Source: Reuters



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By karimtemple on 4/12/2013 3:21:09 PM , Rating: 2
It doesn't seem that way to me. Microsoft saw a possible future where x86 was no longer the end-all-be-all, and they acted. Not that betting against Intel is too smart, lol. Still, Windows could no longer rely solely on x86 to thrive.

The mere existence of Runtime solves that problem. CE runs on x86, ARM, and even MIPS, but CE is also terribad and doesn't even share the same kernel as Windows proper. RT brings the all the codebases together. And now that the heavy lifting has been taken care of, Windows can suddenly show up on whatever platform turns out to be strong and popular enough (not just ARM). Naturally they'd want to take the opportunity to increase their revenue streams with a Windows Store; hell, Apple is doing it.

At the same time, they probably wanted to address their concern that we may hit a Supertablet Era, where one phone or tablet is so powerful and cheap that it would make more sense to just plug it into desktop and laptop docks (and probably others!) when you sit down. That's where unifying the interface came in.

To be honest, as long as a platform is competent, all it ever really needs is a competitive value proposition and an attractive software library. RT of course has none of that lol, but that doesn't mean it can never get that. If they handed me the company, I'd have everyone else buckling under raw product superiority, and I don't think I'd have to change Windows 8 that much. They'd have to hit MS with another round of antitrust suits because people wouldn't buy anything else.


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