Microsoft developing 7-inch Xbox Surface tablet

With Microsoft's launch of its Surface RT tablet a couple of weeks ago - and the upcoming launch of a Windows 8 version of the same device - there's been plenty of talk about more Microsoft hardware on the horizon. The company's CEO Steve Ballmer has made no secret of this, admitting that if the right opportunities arise, Microsoft will have no qualms about producing devices to satisfy market needs.

Much of the speculation regarding what MS might produce next has been focused upon a 'Surface Phone', as the company's tiny share of the smartphone market has led many to believe that Microsoft is already working on its own handset, in case its OEM strategy fails to produce the desired results. But The Verge reports that the company's next big thing will be a 7-inch gaming tablet, the 'Xbox Surface'.

This isn't the first time we've heard about such a device. Back in June - hours ahead of the official announcement of the now-familiar Surface tablets - the first substantial details regarding a possible Xbox Surface tablet were leaked (although there had been murmurings about it even before then):

It's believed that the specs above are broadly accurate. A "custom ARM processor and high-bandwidth RAM" are reportedly part of the package, indicating that this won't simply be a miniaturised version of the current Surface tablets.

The new tablet is said to run a custom Windows kernel, with a user experience focused around gaming and, presumably, on the Xbox Entertainment services recently launched to replace Zune. Some features - such as messaging and email support - may still be implemented, but don't expect full-fat Windows on the new device.

Reports a few weeks ago pointed to increased security around the company's Xbox-related buildings; at the time, it was widely accepted that this was related to development of the next-generation Xbox console, but it now seems inevitable that this was related to the company's plans for the new gaming tablet. Recent reports also suggested that Microsoft had established its own facility to build its Surface tablets; it's believed that the Xbox Surface is expected to be built at the same factory.

Source: The Verge | Spec sheet image via Shifted2U

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Now why the hell I want a gaming tablet? If this is true everybody in the industry has lost their damn minds. If its intended to be used as a touch device, then your market is casual games which every tablet already covers including Surface. If you are intended to use a controller with it then its an xbox with a built in tiny screen. (Not sure how specs compare to current xbox).

Quote
The company's CEO Steve Ballmer has made no secret of this, admitting that if the right opportunities arise, Microsoft will have no qualms about producing devices to satisfy market needs.

I prefer to play xbox in big screen, or my 27" monitor via HDMI. How could you play split screen in 7" screen? That could be useful as accesories if I am on the plane or hotel while I am out of town.

I doubt the idea is to split this screen! Doesn't make more sense to have 2 tablets play against each other!? Duh

minster11 said,
Quote
The company's CEO Steve Ballmer has made no secret of this, admitting that if the right opportunities arise, Microsoft will have no qualms about producing devices to satisfy market needs.

I prefer to play xbox in big screen, or my 27" monitor via HDMI. How could you play split screen in 7" screen? That could be useful as accesories if I am on the plane or hotel while I am out of town.

This was probably their "shoot for the stars" spec list. Also, we should remember that MS is positioning the XBOX to be a entertainment hub. So they will need the greater than HD resolutions and surround sound. Especially if they are trying to replace your current set-top box and blend with your current bad-ass sound system. comon' mannnnnn

Mainer82 said,
I was mildly interested until I saw that it has an ARM CPU.

If you are talking about the fact it they are listing the Power7 chips as a CPU... those things are powerful, and *CAN* be expensive as heck as much as $4,000 for a Power7 SCM module

a nexus 7 killer from MSFT is not only expected but inevitable. I'm sure many OEMs will also have windows 8 tablets of this form factor to murder android once and for all.

I swear some of you must be blind or cant read.

most of the specs like hard drive and those ibm power7s are for a stationary unit, a.k.a the new xbox console. theres nothing out of the ordinary in the tablet specs.

It's more like Xbox 720 with a 7in touchscreen controller, which can act as a low end tablet or as remote cum game controller (SmartGlass)

Agreed. This absolutely reads like the new console with a 7" Surface tablet bundled with it. By the looks of it as well seems to imply full backwards compatibility with the Xbox 360 as well.

So basically microsoft is copying nintendo with a base station and tablet controllers. Does anybody do things on their own anymore?

majortom1981 said,
So basically microsoft is copying nintendo with a base station and tablet controllers. Does anybody do things on their own anymore?

They had been moving that way for some time. Do you not remember the Windows Phone Kinect concept they showed some time ago?

Sraf said,

They had been moving that way for some time. Do you not remember the Windows Phone Kinect concept they showed some time ago?


Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Microsoft show that off BEFORE Nintendo showed off the Wii U?

M_Lyons10 said,

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Microsoft show that off BEFORE Nintendo showed off the Wii U?

I'm fairly certain that they did, yes

Sraf said,

I'm fairly certain that they did, yes


I think more than anything, what we're seeing is the result of parallel development towards the same goal, more than copying per say (An exception really being Wiimote and Sony Move, but I digress... Lol).

We all know where the industry is headed. So do these companies. They're all just trying to figure out the best way to get there.

majortom1981 said,
So basically microsoft is copying nintendo with a base station and tablet controllers. Does anybody do things on their own anymore?
Who said the tablet was the controller? And how do u know MS didn't have the idea first. Releasing something first doesn't mean you originated the idea.

n_K said,
IBM POWER7? This is utter *********, if this was to have DUAL POWER7 CPUs apart from the power usage being huge, the cost would be in the thousands just for the CPUs alone.
Yeah, trololol, http://www.eweek.com/imagesvr_...ows/020612_ibmpower7/01.jpg gonna fit 2 of them in trolololo!11oneone

oh comon, don't point out facts... or the fact the Power7 SCM chips are ENTERPRISE class chips... oh wait makes sense now, we have antiquated SCSI enterprise class drives in it also!!!!

n_K said,
IBM POWER7? This is utter *********, if this was to have DUAL POWER7 CPUs apart from the power usage being huge, the cost would be in the thousands just for the CPUs alone.
Yeah, trololol, http://www.eweek.com/imagesvr_...ows/020612_ibmpower7/01.jpg gonna fit 2 of them in trolololo!11oneone
That was the first piece of spec that I saw and my jaw just dropped. These specs are just full of BS. If you're going to start a rumor, at least make it somewhat believable

Those specs are laughable.

A 10k SCSI drive? Just a what we all need, a hot noisy-ass drive in a consumer device.

ahhell said,
Those specs are laughable.

A 10k SCSI drive? Just a what we all need, a hot noisy-ass drive in a consumer device.

gotta support those 22.2 channels of surround sound somehow... takes a lot of bandwidth to deliver that much sound loading all that data...

snuffy said,
SCSI!!!!!!!!!!!

it would of been more believable if it was SAS not SCSI, as SCSI has been out for a while, replaced by SAS

neufuse said,

it would of been more believable if it was SAS not SCSI, as SCSI has been out for a while, replaced by SAS

It's all junk and slow. Should have been an SSD, none of the cave man mechanical drive crap with moving parts. But i guess SSD's are still too expensive.

neufuse said,

it would of been more believable if it was SAS not SCSI, as SCSI has been out for a while, replaced by SAS

Neither is believable. There is no reason to put a drive that expensive in a device like this. And 22.2 surround and 1440p video output also seem unlikely. This is bogus and I can't believe people actually fall for this.

NoClipMode said,

It's all junk and slow. Should have been an SSD, none of the cave man mechanical drive crap with moving parts. But i guess SSD's are still too expensive.


Well, manufacturing cost needs to be a consideration too.

mrp04 said,

Neither is believable. There is no reason to put a drive that expensive in a device like this. And 22.2 surround and 1440p video output also seem unlikely. This is bogus and I can't believe people actually fall for this.

Their not falling for it, its stupidity with style!!!!

mrp04 said,

Neither is believable. There is no reason to put a drive that expensive in a device like this. And 22.2 surround and 1440p video output also seem unlikely. This is bogus and I can't believe people actually fall for this.

The 22.2 Surround is likely a typo. It likely should be 2.2 surround. Though 2.1 makes more sense. 1440P output? On 7", not likely. But on an HD Tv, very possible, tho most TV's today would scale it to 1080p. But doubling the sampling of 720? It is very possible. There are 1440p TV's being developed. Just Google it.

380 Watts? doesn't that seem a bit high for a ac adapter? most full blown laptops ac adapters max out at 60-90 watts anymore, and systems generally try to stay below the 150 range.. and a 10K SCSI hard drive? seriously?

and 22.2 surround? comon already... I want to see someone at home with this that isn't an IMAX location

neufuse said,
380 Watts? doesn't that seem a bit high for a ac adapter? most full blown laptops ac adapters max out at 60-90 watts anymore, and systems generally try to stay below the 150 range.. and a 10K SCSI hard drive? seriously?

and 22.2 surround? comon already... I want to see someone at home with this that isn't an IMAX location

The 380 watt would be for the "Stationary" unit, and isn't that far off what the 360 was when it was new

Sraf said,

The 380 watt would be for the "Stationary" unit, and isn't that far off what the 360 was when it was new

The numbers don't make sense for what they are touting

neufuse said,

The numbers don't make sense for what they are touting

How so? Only that first section is a tablet, the rest sounds more like an Xbox console (IE: "Stationary device") I'll give you that a 10k SCSI drive is a bit odd. (22.2 surround could just be a supported software codec, also, I found what I was looking for Re: power supply. The 360 started out with a 203 Watt PSU. As an interesting note: the PS3 had a 380 Watt PSU at launch, though it was usually maxed at 200)

Edited by Sraf, Nov 6 2012, 4:44pm :

Sraf said,

How so? Only that first section is a tablet, the rest sounds more like an Xbox console (IE: "Stationary device") I'll give you that a 10k SCSI drive is a bit odd. (22.2 surround could just be a supported software codec, also, I found what I was looking for Re: power supply. The 360 started out with a 203 Watt PSU. As an interesting note: the PS3 had a 380 Watt PSU at launch, though it was usually maxed at 200)

the chips they are quoting should be more energy efficient then the current PPC chips going by IBM's reference designs they sould be running 100 watts max

neufuse said,

the chips they are quoting should be more energy efficient then the current PPC chips going by IBM's reference designs they sould be running 100 watts max

What about the GPU? Why are you only taking the custom IBM CPUs into account and not the rest of the hardware? Besides it says it's got 4 USB3.0 ports, I dunno but I figure they'd like to make sure they can support all the devices one might want to connect to the box.

I also just want to make this clear: I don't think this paper validates anything, or that the specs are real. I was merely pointing out that a 380W PSU is not outlandish

GP007 said,

What about the GPU? Why are you only taking the custom IBM CPUs into account and not the rest of the hardware? Besides it says it's got 4 USB3.0 ports, I dunno but I figure they'd like to make sure they can support all the devices one might want to connect to the box.


A very good point. And the Kinect will likely draw it's power from the XBox as well...

Tom Warren, from theVerge, posted this news earlier. He's usually accurate.

ahhell said,
I like how you guys take rumor and turn it into "factual" news.

QuadForce said,
Tom Warren, from theVerge, posted this news earlier. He's usually accurate.

not if you go by the past...

ahhell said,
I like how you guys take rumor and turn it into "factual" news.

iPad mini was a 2 years rumor. Today is a fact.

Well a Windows RT only tablet 7'' + Xbox optimized games + MAGNETIC!!!!!!! Attached controller on both sides…. my prediction

What do you think of that? Real controller and get them easily off when you just want to tablet or see movies. It has to have the Windows RT Store. This can be amazing and better than my already amazing Vita device but I want a bigger screen and tablet functions!!!! Please will it have Strong MAGNETS like the Surface!!!! Instant buy with some hardcore games!!!!!!!!

QuadForce said,
Tom Warren, from theVerge, posted this news earlier. He's usually accurate.

neufuse said,

not if you go by the past...


Like? Most of his recent leaks are spot on, Xbox Music, Wp8, Windows RT, Lumia 822.. of course everyone gets it wrong once in a while