It's hard to believe that it's been almost a year since Microsoft announced its Surface tablets. It was an extraordinary event for Microsoft, and not merely because the world's biggest software company was signalling a major change in launching its own PC hardware - but also because the event had been shrouded in such secrecy that the world's media flew into Los Angeles on the morning of the event without even knowing exactly where it would be held. Microsoft had got the world excited.
The company's plans to become a "devices and services company" are now very much a matter of public record, of course, and attentions are increasingly turning to what the next devices to emerge from Microsoft might be. MS has stated that it sees no need for a 'Surface Phone', but a follow-up to its current Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets seems inevitable.
On that front, a report has emerged claiming that Microsoft is already well advanced on its work for the second-generation Surface tablets. However, the news comes from the notoriously unreliable Digitimes, which frequently reports conflicting information - so be sure to take this with a pinch of salt, and then bury that pinch under a few extra shovels full of salt for good measure.
Citing "sources from the upstream supply chain" for the tablets, it's claimed that Microsoft will announce the new tablets at its BUILD developer conference in late June. Curiously, it's stated that the second-gen devices "will only feature a 7- to 9-inch displays [sic] to meet the rising demand for smaller tablet devices". It seems unlikely that the Surface Pro would see a reduction in size given its productivity focus; just today, Microsoft publicly highlighted the example of someone who ditched both their iPad and notebook PC in favour of a Surface Pro.
The report claims too that Microsoft has sold only 1.5m in total since the devices went on sale; given yesterday's stats from IDC, which indicated that Microsoft sold 900,000 Surfaces in the first quarter of 2013, this figure actually seems believable, equating to a further 600,000 sales between the sales launch of Surface RT in late October and the end of 2012. It's claimed that these figures are well below Microsoft's hopes of selling 3-4 million units by the end of Q1 2013.
It seems unlikely that Microsoft would be planning to replace Surface so soon after expanding global distribution of the tablets; it announced last month that by the end of June, over twenty new markets would be getting Surface Pro, and four new markets getting Surface RT.
Still, Neowin will be reporting from BUILD in June, so if there's anything exciting to see on the Surface front, we'll be there to bring you the latest. But even without a Surface announcement there - and let's face it, it's pretty unlikely - there'll still be plenty of juicy details emerging at BUILD, not least the public preview release of Windows 8.1.
Source: Digitimes | Image via Microsoft