Microsoft is in the process of building a 7-inch Xbox Surface tablet leaning heavily towards the gaming market it is thought. Tech site The Verge has spoken to “multiple sources” at Redmond familiar with the plans, who confirm the “final implementation” of the new tablet design is being worked upon. The specs of the new Microsoft 7-incher are said to be very similar to those leaked in a data sheet in June, just before the 10-inch Microsoft Surface was unveiled.
Leaked Xbox Surface partial technical specifications, click picture to enlarge.
Please take a minute to look through the above specs; the "Stationary Computing Device" seems mighty powerful, with 12-cores providing the computational grunt backed up with 5GB of RAM and an AMD GCN GPU loaded with 1.2GB of memory. It really puts my desktop PC to shame, except for the drafted HDD storage. Less detail is supplied about the "Tablet Computing Device". From its chat with the sources The Verge has indications that the tablet CPU is subject to change, an unannounced Intel SoC might make the grade, and the Xbox Surface tablet is “being developed independent of specific hardware architecture... running a custom Windows kernel”.
GSM Arena did a mock up, not to scale!
The 7-inch tablet form factor has really proved popular this year with its great compromise of screen size and portability, not forgetting this smaller tablet can be manufactured at a cheaper price. Will the Xbox Surface be aimed at the same market as the current 7-inch crowd or mainly at the gaming market? I’m sure Microsoft wouldn’t want to limit the new tablet’s acceptability as a general content consumption device but on the other hand the Xbox is an undeniably successful piece of hardware for Microsoft. More and more the Xbox has been marketed as a living room TV content consumption companion. However the Xbox Surface focus will be on gaming applications says The Verge.
It will be interesting to find out if the Xbox Surface can actually run Xbox games or will it just run Xbox Live Arcade titles or games from the Windows 8 app store. While the hardware spec list we have looks nicely detailed, the software, OS and applications are a total mystery at this time.
The Xbox Surface could put a dampener on the Wii U launch at the end of this month, especially if we get a few more details and leaks before then. Microsoft’s pricing strategy for the Xbox Surface tablet is also an important detail that I would like to see revealed. On reflection perhaps the Xbox Surface's greatest competitor would be the iPad mini rather than the Wii U and an entry price between these two competitor devices may be the sweet spot for Microsoft.